Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mr. Stitchy's Revenge

Jamming, grinding, and groaning to a halt. That was my experience Monday night when attempting to sew the last two straight lines on my wall hanging project. My poor little sewing machine had been performing beautifully until then, so I was quite shocked to hear it sputtering so badly. I cleared out all of the jammed threads, grabbed some scrap fabric, and tried again. Jam. Cleared the jam again, tried again. Jam. Crap. I took the bobbin out to see if maybe I missed something, made sure the bobbin was in correctly, checked for hidden threads I'd perhaps missed, and closed 'er up to try again. Jam. Damn. After an hour of careful checking and re-checking, I determined that the top thread wasn't pulling up the bobbin thread correctly.

That's about the point where I put my sewing machine away to try again another day. I was too frustrated to even look at it. I'm not a sewing machine genius, but I knew I had a good needle, correctly wound bobbins inserted the right direction, and a good machine. So I covered it up and walked away. Pffft.

After doing some online research the following day, I sat down Tuesday night with new determination to fix my machine. Nothing short of a complete disaster or electrical malfunction would make me take it in to get a tune-up. C'mon, it's a sewing machine, not open heart surgery.

I removed the needle and presser foot and had to remove a couple screws to get the throat plate off. The bobbin came out easily, and the bobbin hook followed with little difficulty. I brushed out the feed dogs and each piece before I replaced it. As the owner's manual suggested, I put two drops of oil inside the bobbin case on the race and cranked the hand wheel a few times. Smoooooooth.

Giving it a go, I closed everything up and rethreaded my machine. After a quick prayer, I plugged it in and let loose on a scrap. Everything worked perfectly. The machine is quieter than before. It hums. It purrs. I smiled, proud that I fixed it myself for free instead of paying to have the machine serviced.

And then, on my lunch break, I ran to JoAnn's to get ribbon to finish my project. It's ordinarily $2 for three yards. I need about thirty yards... eek. I didn't really want to pay $20. Dismayed, I walked over to the notions to look for new and interesting things. When I turned around, I saw an end base ("end cap") full of ribbon. The exact ribbon I wanted, black 1/4" satin, was on 10-yard spools for $.50 each. SCORE! So I got forty yards of ribbon, more than plenty, for $2. I love bargains...

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