Saturday, January 7, 2012

ARRRGGGHHHH!!! (or Tenacious Me)

I have just spent the (much) better part of three (count 'em, 3) hours trying to solve a sewing machine problem and if you read this to the end, it might just save you from the same.

I have a Viking Lily and I love the machine almost entirely. It would be beyond awesome if the dern feet didn't cost and arm and a leg. Love the drop-in bobbin and that I don't have to unwind the thread in order to wind a bobbin. I just pull the thread under the raised foot and loop it up by the tension coil and over to the bobbin winder and whizz it off the spool. Terrific feature, that.

It is a quiet machine, as well, especially when I compare it to the Singer student model I had been using for many years.

So, today I was sewing along and minding my own business, when I noticed the machine sounded noisier than usual. A clicking sound. Hmmmm. So I took the bobbin case out and cleaned the obvious lint away. That usually does the trick, and it did. Temporarily.

Then some time later, I got that weird looping/sticking that happens when the thread pops out of the arm that lifts up and down along with the needle. I recognize very quickly when that occurs because the needle jams. So quick as a bug, I pulled the thread up and back over the raised arm. All was well in with my world..... except the bobbin sounded loudish again. Like a click, click. Not with every stroke and not rhythmically.

Weird. So, I popped the bobbin mechanism open again and did more thorough cleaning. Ever notice how much lint can get caught in the feed dogs? It's amazing! Linda Kay gave me some pipe cleaner gizmos her husband made and I use them regularly to keep the area clean. Now, I put them to very good use. Put everything back together and went along my merry way. Or so I thought.

There was that click again! What the heck? But I don't give up or give in. Now I decide I really must figure out how to take the back of the machine off far enough to get under the feed dogs and bobbin case. That took 20+minutes alone and I tip my hat off to those Swedes. Once you know how, it makes perfect sense. Right up til then, I was thinking evil thoughts. In Swedish.

So, with everything clean again, I screw the back into place, reinsert the bobbin case and feed dog cover and drop in the bobbin and cover the case and....... Click. And I am reminded of this

That's me!!!!! Except it's a sewing machine instead of computer and no Frank and no birthday cake! "there's something wrong......."

When the needle goes down, all is good. When the needle comes back up again, it makes the bobbin "lift" in it's case. Not every time... just enough to allow me to stitch and lose my mind!

I kept at it, until I figured it and here is where you come in. Ever heard the phrase

"Be a wonderful example or a terrible warning to others"?

Well, you decide what I am. The solution to the problem was so simple, I blush to disclose.

I sat there fuming and staring at the bobbin for a few minutes, racking my brain for an answer when I my eyes drifted upward..... right above the needle, just past the tension coil to the arm. Remember the arm? The one that occasionally allows the thread to pop off and jam the needle?

Like it did a couple of hours ago? When I pulled the thread up and over the arm, I had accidentally twisted it, causing an additional tension against the bobbin thread. Duh!

So there you go...... always, ALWAYS RETHREAD the machine when you jam! Don't take the short-cut.

That is right up there with "It's usually the simplest solution to most problems. We just make them more complicated!"

On the up-side, I know how to open the back of the Lily! And the machine is so clean it squeaks! (no, it doesn't. It purrs)

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