March 8, 2008

Back to sewing again

The old serger has been at the sewing machine spa for a week, getting a massage (tune-up) and a mud bath (totally cleaned up, inside and out.) She was returned to me in a new outfit with cute shoes (ok, the outfit was a plastic bag but the new shoes was a new foot!) She also had two shiny perfect needles properly installed, which is what sent her to the spa in the first place.

The trouble started when a needle broke. Darn that purple swirly fabric. Thinking I was in a hurry, I deftly swapped out the broken needle for a new one. Yah, the old serger needle was swapped out for a new sewing machine needle. Did you know those are two completely different types of needles? Neither did I. (I know that now. ) After putting the new needle in place and re-threading the machine, I was frustrated to find that it wouldn't chain. When a serger works properly, the stitch "chains."

Anyone who uses an older serger will tell you that they are difficult to thread. The instructions included with this one state that it's easier to have the salesperson thread it for you, then never un-thread it. When changing threads, just tie the new thread to the end of the old thread and draw it through the machine until the knot reaches the eye of the needle. Then simply snip the knot, thread the new length through the eye, and sew on and sew forth. I read and re-read the instructions (no help whatsoever) and watched the video that came with the machine 4 times, then admitted defeat and made an appointment to bring in the old gal to the sewing shop recommended by nearly every fabric store in town.

Grateful plug: Rich's Sew & Vac

They took one look at my big old baby and said, "You're using the wrong needles. That thing needs a cleaning. Come back in a week." Of course, they broke the news to me gently, and I knew they were right. But it was like limping along for a while and putting off a visit to the doctor for an ingrown toenail only to have the doctor tell you you need emergency foot surgery or you'll never walk again. Two months before you're scheduled to run in a marathon.

What I thought was me being in a hurry resulted in me not having my machine for a week while it not only had the needle problem addressed.

I'm excited to try it out, since the shop told me she should run faster and tighter than before. But I'm also enjoying the break and am getting other things done. (Ok, along with making bottle cap magnets and laundry basket tags... I'll post those projects over the weekend.)

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