There’s a Hole in my Heart…

April 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm 2 comments

…or at least in my sewing table.

No sewing machine!

No sewing machine!

I sat down yesterday to do some serious diagnostics on my sewing machine, trying to determine why I got the shredded thread on top and giant thread knots on the back when I tried to quilt Convergence Birds.  I put in a new #80 titanium topstitch needle as recommended by the Thread Reference Guide for Home Sewing Machines on the Superior Threads website.  I cleaned everything out really well, made sure the bobbin casing was seated correctly, and made up a new practice quilt sandwich.

That’s when I noticed that my free motion foot was actually pressing down on the fabric.  When I tried to lighten the pressure on the presser foot, it didn’t move.  In fact, the lever to lift the presser foot was acting up as well.  I took the side panel off to inspect the mechanism, but there wasn’t any lint or any obvious impediment to its motion, so I closed it back up.

Here’s the part where I get annoyed with modern sewing machines.  I love my computerized Janome MC6500; I bought it almost six years ago and we have made some beautiful quilts together.  I love having needle down capability (I can’t imagine doing all the curved piecing on Taupe Winding Ways and Ruby Wedding without it) and being able to do buttonhole applique.  I don’t use the programmable functions often, but it’s nice to know they’re there.

BUT:  If this were a purely mechanical machine, I could do all the maintenance myself.  I can field-strip my Featherweight, oil it, and reassemble it blindfolded (OK, I’m exaggerating, but isn’t that a cool mental image?)  However, once they started introducing circuit boards, it got complicated.  I’m not even supposed to oil my machine, according to the manual and the dealer; it has an internal oil reservoir and wicking system, and I’m just supposed to bring it in for scheduled tuneups, like a high-performance European sportscar.

So, defeated, I called the dealer.  I bought the machine before we moved, but I still get it serviced 45 min. away because they certainly know the brand, and I’ve had excellent service from them ever since the purchase.  My machine was due for maintenance anyway; I used to bring it in during summer when we were traveling, but ever since I had a feed-dog emergency in January 2008, I’ve been on an altered schedule.  I confirmed their hours, made sure I knew what the technician wanted me to bring, and asked, just in passing, when I might expect to get it back?

A WEEK AND A HALF?!??!!???!!!

Oh, those best-laid plans.  I do still have the Featherweight, of course, which pieces like a dream — better than the Janome, when it comes right down to it, as long as I don’t have to sew curves or anything too huge to fit under its little arm.  But right now I need to quilt:  Convergence Birds, Window on Whimsy, and Ruby Wedding.  I guess I can officially give up my dream of having Ruby Wedding done for the quilt show in June.  It was a long shot anyway.

The ever-reliable Featherweight

The ever-reliable Featherweight

It could be worse; I have a retreat to attend the last weekend in April, and it would have been far more tragic if my machine had chosen to jump the tracks right beforehand.  But I have that magical combination of motivation and some free time right now, and to see that run up against the brick wall of mechanical failure is very frustrating.

Oh well.  Keep calm and carry on.  Let’s see what I can find to do in the meantime.


Entry filed under: New Projects, Time Management. Tags: .

AQS Lancaster, Part II: The Quilts! AQS Lancaster, Part III: Vendors!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rhonda Newton  |  April 4, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Shall I bring back one of my parents’ “Keep Calm and Carry On” mugs? I hadn’t heard it before December but it definitely feels like my mantra r ight now.

    Both of mom’s regular machines are heading to the shop, thanks to the water in the basement. The Bernina’s pedal isn’t working. The Janome works with the pedal but she can’t manual move the needle.

  • 2. Corinne  |  April 14, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Mind if I drool, briefly, at your featherweight?


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