Monday, February 21, 2011

Not for the Faint of Heart

Warning: due to the graphic nature of this post, reader's discretion is advised.

Apparently, I've been working Grace too hard. She threw a tantrum in September and refused to take another stitch. I sent her for a two-week spa retreat and we were back in business. For the record, I take good care of my machine. Proper maintenance is on my mind. I keep her swept out and lint-free and every once in a while, I drop a tiny bit of oil down the holes in the face plate, because that's what they're for, right? Well, apparently not. Grace's manual does not give any instructions whatsoever on how to oil her. So, when she froze up again during the middle of Friday Night Sew-In, I was, well . . . I don't know what I was. Mostly annoyed. Annoyed that she was ready to quit long before I was. Annoyed at the possibility of having to take her for another spa retreat so soon after her last. Annoyed that someone doesn't send me on a two-week a spa retreat when I throw a tantrum and say I'm overworked. Annoyed that a tune-up is ¼ of the price I paid for the machine and that it is apparently necessary twice a year, effectively making the machine disposable after two years. Annoyed at myself for not having done something to prevent this. Yes. I think annoyed sums it up.

Because the budget is very tight at Bug Cottage right now, I went on-line. Google knows everything and I figured that somewhere out there would be instructions on how to oil this machine. No luck. Then I went to the on-line source, but as with the manual, there was nothing on the manufacturer's website; nothing on the machine's page, nothing in the FAQ's, so I filled out on an on-line inquiry and not-so-patiently waited for their reply. Saturday afternoon the reply came. They recommended taking the machine in to have it professionally serviced as it has to be opened up. Can you hear me rolling my eyes :rolleyes:?

Not happy at the prospect of having to pay for another service call and having do without my machine for another two weeks, with trepidation I started to disassemble my machine to see if I could figure out what was wrong with her. I pause here to again mention, that the following images are very graphic in nature and discretion is advised. I also want to say that I do not recommend or endorse this and if you pull apart your own sewing machine and it goes badly, I do not accept any responsibility for it. Proceed at your own risk.

I'm removing the screws from the bottom of the case. It is good that Mr. Bug has a very large collection of screwdrivers. I think we used 8 different screwdrivers to remove all the screws and get the case open.

After you remove all the screws that hold the case together, you have to pry the plastic clips inside of the machine open. That's Mr. Bug there, getting the job done. It was a little nerve racking. I was afraid that case was going to crack.

After no small amount of prying, we got the machine open. It is kind of like looking at a one of those medical drawings of what a human looks like under the skin. Please note the color of towel I put under her. Surgical green :paranoid:.

I moved from joint to joint, cleaning and oiling as I went. I started under the bobbin casing. I was sure that was where the sticking spot was going to be. But as it turns out, it was right next to the hand wheel. To get to it required removing a computer board {:bug eyes:} from its mountings. Between the two of us, we got the joint cleaned and oiled and amazingly we got Grace all back together. There was only one screw left over when we finished up, so we marked that down as a success.

Grace was back on her feet in no time at all. Saturday evening, I put together the rest of the pinwheels for the quilt I started during FNSI. Here it is all laid out on the living room floor up on the design wall, ready to be assembled. I'm hoping I'll have a bit of time to work on that after the Little Bugs are in bed tonight.

I am not going to put a border on this quilt, so once the top is done, I'll get it ready for quilting. I'm considering loopy flowers instead of stippling. But I also thought a swirl might be nice too. Any suggestions?

P.S. I was only joking about having a screw left over. Miraculously, we got the screws back in all the right places.


Sarah Craig said...

OK, I'm seriously impressed that you managed to get it back together with only one screw left out! And your black and pink quilt is lovely - I think loopy flowers would be awesome!

Jennifer Lovell said...

Hooray for you, fixing your own machine! (Oh, sorry Grace...I didn't mean to call you a name.)

Paulette said...

You are very brave! I didn't realize until about a year ago that there are some machines that you aren't supposed to oil. Crazy, right? My mom's last Singer (1980s model) was one of them. It sounded like it needed serious oiling, but the manual said not to oil it. I gave that machine away without any hesitation.

QuiltNut Creations said...

lol Elizabeth! with the title of this post, I was expecting a picture of your or MrBug having sliced your finger open while operating on Grace *whew* glad that was not the case!

yay for getting Grace fixed(I would have totally ripped my machine apart as well. I can't believe how ridiculously expensive it is to have a machine serviced!)

loving the quilt! I would do a big flower in the pink squares and and stipple in the black around the pinwheels. have fun with it!

Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

Congrats on fixing your machine. Not all machines require oil, that could be why your manual doesn't mention it. I love your pink n black quilt, I think it would look great with a black border, and loopy pink thread flowers all over it.

Shay said...

Ewwwwwwwww sewing machine guts....

Just kidding ..Im really impressed you manged to do open heart surgery without 4 years of mdeical school and three gruelling years of internship.

Pop over and work your magic on my bunions will you ?

Love the quilt . She's gorgeous!

PS I totally dont have bunions.

Barb said...

I am amazed that when she went in for her spa treatment that they didn't do all of that, very odd....glad you got her working.

Angie said...

Now you can make some side $$ fixing other machines. ;)

I did this with mine a few months back. The man came in, looked at me like I was high, then walked back out. lol

Glad you fixed her.

GerryART said...

This, I can see, was a major, major operation.
Relieved to see both Mr. B and you have survived.

Good work! ! !

Ivory Spring said...

WOW!!! You are my hero! I am totally impressed.

Lane said...

I'm always a little nervous when I open up my machines. Fortunately, because I've learned how, only one of my machines ever has to go in for service. I've looked everywhere and I cannot find a way to break into that machine, so it has to go to the machine doctor once a year. Oh, well. Lane

Wanda said...

My heart was pounding hard when I saw Grace all laid out on the surgical towel! Wow is all I can say. I'm totally impressed with your bravery and newly learned skills! Very cute black and pink quilt too. I love it when I make a quilt that I choose not to put on borders. It makes for a fast finish and that's what we like. Smiles!

whimsyfox said...

Have you given any thought that maybe it's not supposed to be oiled and the oiling may actually be compounding the problem? You know how stuff can get stuck to the oil? Maybe a wiping instead of an oiling would keep Grace humming along happily for longer?

I know nothing about sewing machines except that mine has never gotten any oil, and in the 12 years I've owned it I've only taken it to the spa once, and they said it really hadn't needed it. I have cleaned out the link under the plate a few times, but that's about it. but then again I'm lazy that way - I don't even rinse my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher ;)

Oh Grace, behave for mommy!

Peggy said...

I Love that someone else believed that you really had one screw left!
I should of known, that is an old joke around here. I just forgot it.