I haven't been able to do much sewing this past week. When I was sewing the Suesse Sac a week ago I kept breaking needles. I'd assumed it was because of the thick interfacing and many fabric layers. So when I spent last weekend working on an art quilt idea and the needles kept breaking I was at a loss. I kept resetting my machine and rethreading the spool and adjusting tension and changing needles. Nothing worked! I'd spent hours reading my manual and Googling for an answer.
Last night the boy asked if the problems started after the last time I cleaned my machine. When I thought about it I realized it had. The purse was the first thing I'd sewn after the cleaning. Needles breaking on that project seemed to make sense. Needles breaking two minutes into some straight seams and during free motion quilting, not so much.
Not only was my machine breaking needles, it was skipping stitches. All the time. I couldn't sew one seam without skipping a couple stitches.
Seriously, I broke down in tears.
So after the boy asked me when the problems started I decided to once again take apart Betsy and see what I could see. I thought maybe I missed picking out a bit of needle and that was jamming things up.
I found nothing.
I gave Betsy another cleaning and oiled up a couple spots. I spent a couple hours looking into every nook and cranny to see what could be going on. Nothing was screaming "I'm gonna break your needles!" so I carefully put her back together and held my breath as I tried again to do some free motion quilting.
Betsy is behaving! Everything I tried to do before last evening seems to be going smoothly. No skipped stitches, the thread is catching around the bobbin like it should and above all, no broken needles! (Which is a good thing because I've gone through most of my stash of needles and only have a few left before my new order arrives next week.)
It's a mystery as to what was causing all the problems. My only thought is that it has something to do with the plastic bit that sits right over the bobbin area. There is some room for it to shift around when you are replacing it and perhaps it was replaced wonky when I cleaned it last. It can only move about 1/8th inch from the center position, maybe only 1/16th. But it appears to be enough to through the entire machine out of order.
Luckily this week Fabric.Com had a sale on sewing notions because I needed more sewing needles! I stocked up and made a note that should this happen again, I need to check the machine immediately!