Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hissy Fits

My everyday workhorse sewing machine at home is a 1936 Singer 15 for which I paid $20 ten years ago. My backup machine is a 1940 Model 15. I love them both because they have a perfect straight stitch and they are easy to maintain. They will both outlive me, as they have both outlived their previous owners. No worries about parts availability, nylon or plastic gears wearing out, these babies were built to last. I have an identical machine in SD as does Lori so traveling back and forth with projects is painless. Click image to enlarge.

So why the hissy fits?

Ummm, it is in my nature? :)
I had been working on the blue and yellow quilt; in an excess of thriftiness I used the off-cut triangles from the center blocks for a border on the top and bottom edges. These were pretty tiny pieces with a lot of seams and I was stitching through five and six layers of fabric. Normally for a Singer 15 this would be NBD, but, something was wrong. Stitches were being skipped and top thread was breaking.

Unfortunately the backup machine had suffered a tension assembly catastrophe a year or so ago (time flies) it literally fell off in all its pieces. As re-assembly is the fiddliest and most frustrating job on earth I had set the machine aside until the next time I went to Hilo to take in for the Old Sewing Machine Guy to enjoy. No backup.

I know how to fix this problem. There is a checklist. I can do this.
  • I re-threaded the machine from scatch, problem not fixed.
  • I changed the needle, being careful to insert the new needle exactly as the old one was, problem not fixed.
  • I changed the bobbin, problem not fixed.
  • I changed to a new spool of thread, problem not fixed.
  • With a martyred sigh I took off the needle plate and brushed the feed dogs teeth, then lovingly oiled the machine, problem not fixed.
  • I changed to a bigger needle and that did not solve the problem either. I was stumped.
  • I left the machine to stew in its own obstinacy.

I woke up in the middle of the night. There was one thing I had not done.

I took out the needle and put it back in with the flat side facing left. Problem solved. The interesting thing is, I had been sewing without any problem at all for at least two months with the needle in backwards. It was not until the machine was challenged by all the thicknesses that it complained.

Today I will put on the last outer borders and make the bias binding and backing so this quilt can go with me to South Dakota to be finished there. We are going to be busy!

Y'all come back!


  1. knew you'd figure it out. So when you woke having a light bulb moment--did you get out of bed to fix the problem? Or did it wait until a more civilized hour--like 6 am??

  2. Are you kidding Lori? I got up, fixed it, and sewed on the borders. It was too dark to take pictures though.