Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sewing Machine Surgery

Yesterday, I tried to break my sewing machine.

I was punching the holes for a quilting pattern for a baby quilt I made from a set of Layer Cake squares a co-worker gave me after Quilt Market a few years ago. (After trying other methods for making my own quilting patterns, I have decided that the method I like best is Quilt Pounce. It can be a little messy with all the chalk dust, but that wipes off/brushes off/washes out easily enough.)

I had removed the bobbin and unthreaded the top thread from the needle. However, when I started punching the sewing machine needle, keeping a light foot on the foot control and turning the wheel a little by hand, I failed to notice that the top thread (which I thought I had moved out of the way) had gotten caught by the little lever that moves the needle up and down and was getting wound around the internal mechanism.

As I was working, it occurred to me that the machine seemed to be laboring more than usual at the slow speed, but I thought, It’s just not used to having to go this slow, this much.

I only noticed the thread that was getting pulled into the innards of my machine when I was nearly done with punching the pattern.

After much squinting, I was able to see where the thread was caught. If I had something very small, I might be able to reach in and grab the thread and maybe pull it out. I knew just the tool!

I went and got the box containing some antique crochet hooks I’d inherited from my mom. With the really tiny one, I was able to get a thread tail out and hand-cranking the machine in reverse, slowly pull out the thread. Unfortunately, then I thought, Well, maybe this will go faster if I use the foot pedal. Bad idea! The thread immediately broke.

But, I’d gotten most of it out and with a little more effort, I got a bit more out. There’s still a little bit in there, and maybe I could take it into a shop and pay to have them take it apart and get the rest out. But I think it's good enough for now.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Hi. I’ve been contemplating starting this blog for awhile, and I finally just went ahead and did it, even though I’m not sure I’m really ready. See, I have this thing called a Full-Time Job that keeps me pretty busy most of the time. But I still manage to pursue various activities on the evenings and weekends.

Back when I was in high school, I started embroidering, I think partly because my oldest sister was into it. Then I tried crocheting, then quiltmaking. A few years ago I picked up knitting. My mom had tried to teach me when I was about ten years old, but it didn’t hold my interest. When I tried it again though, I was amazed how the muscle memory was still there. It was like, “Yeah, I remember this. Yeah, this is kinda familiar.’’

One of these years, I’ll try needlepunch. I got a starter kit awhile back, but have enough Unfinished Projects already.

I also like to dabble in photography and I like to try new recipes. My lovely husband is always a willing test subject.

For this, my inaugural post, I’m going to share one of my signature projects— my hand pillows. I pretty much always have one of these going. I like doing them because it’s fun to combine a variety of fabrics that can be very dissimilar, and the hands and hearts are stitched down with a hand buttonhole stitch which is very repetitious and doesn’t take a lot of thought and also impresses the hell out of people.

My latest completed hand pillow

Close up of hand buttonhole stitch

The next one ready for stitching