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.

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