Oiling the Machine

Saturday, September 15, 2012

One of the first things I purchased once I finished college and moved out was a sewing machine of my very own.  It wasn't top of the line but it was decent and did more than my mom's could do.  I used to do more sewing back then---mostly fixing seams, hemming pants, the occasional home decor projects.  Oh, and back in the day, I actually made a couple quilts.  Since then, and since discovering scrapbooking as my true hobby and passion, most of my sewing exists only on paper...literally!

Fast forward 20 years.  My hubby wants to do some simple stitching around the bottom of some cut-off flannel pajama pants so the threads will stop unraveling and hanging down his legs.  Fine.  I thread the machine for him.  First leg goes just fine.  He starts on the second leg....horrible jamming noise...he cuts it loose and  tries again....jam.  This continues for a few more restarts only to jam right away each time.  I think it must be him so I agree to take a look at it and finish it for him.  I completely re-thread the machine and think I'm going to just whip this out and show him up. I press on the pedal...the same horrible jamming noise.  I try again...same thing.  I start to think that my machine prefers paper (and why not?) so I re-thread again and try stitching on some cardstock.  Same thing happens!  I am astonished that my usual fixes are not working.  I begin to think...my husband has broken my machine.  Not having the time or energy to deal with it right then, I added "fix sewing machine" to my To Do List.

Insert Life.  Beach Trip.  Laundry.  School shopping.  You know how it goes.  Then along comes a couple of birthdays.  Well, I never buy a card.  I started browsing this wide virtual world and was inspired to create this card.

Did you notice the stitching?  The fact that I wanted to create this patchwork looking design forced me to deal with my broken machine.  I briefly thought about just not doing the stitching.  But it just would not have that same homey feel to it.  I also thought about hand-drawing the stitch lines...but I am usually less than satisfied with my results when I use that technique.  

So, begrudgingly, I pulled out the owner's manual for my sewing machine and turned to the section on maintenance.  I took things apart on my machine that I didn't even know came apart.  I dusted.  I oiled.  I put it all back together and re-threaded the machine.  Do you know what happened?  It worked!  I know!  Shock, right?  Smooth as butter!  Who knew that just a little oiling and dusting could actually fix that horrible noise and jamming problem.  My manual stated that you should do this routine maintenance every month for a machine with regular use.  Who defines regular use?  I don't know.  But the fact that I have never done maintenance in the more than 20 years of owning it...hmmm...I probably should have done this at least a few times before now.  Live and learn, I tell ya....live and learn!


Colleen said...

Quilting was my hobby of choice before I got into scrapping, too. So many piles of fabric and quilts half finished around here... The first machine I bought after college I had to oil every time I changed the bobbin. Of course, I didn't learn that until it started making funny noises and took it in to be serviced. Live and learn :)

okanogangirl said...

Beautiful card!!! I love the patchwork look!!

I dust & oil my machine every project when I'm actually sewing fabric stuff. If I'm just using it for assorted paper projects, it goes every few months.

Mendi said...

This is so funny! I don't think I've ever oiled my machine either... I took it in to be serviced for the first time in nearly 30 years last winter and I'm hoping that will last me another 30 years. Guess I better go buy myself one of those little bottles of oil.

Your card turned out great--Love the diecut sentiment on the pennant!

Anonymous said...

Love your card, Steffanie!! The quilted effect is beautiful. I just recently bought my first machine, I need to make sure I maintain it!! :)

Linda said...

I am totally impressed with your card and your repair skills!

Tracey Sabella said...

Gorgeous card!! I do most of my stitching on paper these days too. I take my machine apart on a regular basis to clean it out - LOL. Those home ec classes from way back when!! :-) ~ Blessings, Tracey


csewy-csescrap13 said...

A very pretty card....love the title and stitching! I also do most of my stitching on paper, I just stitched on a layout and it looks great! I really enjoyed the story about your DH. Too funny!

Tulip Scrapper said...

Love the card! And that's too funny about the sewing machine. Mine is circa 1975 and I don't think has ever been cleaned. Hmm. No manual has survived my many moves, so I am hoping that mine is like the Energizer Bunny and keeps on going!