Uh oh

OK, I can’t keep a lid on this one anymore.   I went to the Post Office on the weekend to ship a package.  I was told the weight was 14.62 kg.  It had been a long day, and I was trying to mentally figure out what that was in pounds and had reached the “2x 14.62” part and was about to add the 10% to make the 2.2 pounds per kilogram part.

I was talking out loud at the time, and “mistakenly” said, “OK, so what’s that in pounds?”

The girl at the till, who I’m sure is a recent graduate of our local high school, tells me “Well, I think it’s 6kg to a pound…..” Continue reading Uh oh

Until Next Time

Timing series part 6:  The others

Two things I touched on but didn’t explore in detail are feed dog timing and how the timing on a shuttle bobbin works (Vibrating shuttle or transverse shuttles, also known as bullet and boat shuttles)

Feed dog timing is very straight forward – The feed dogs move the fabric.  In order to do that effectively, the needle must be clear of the fabric before they start to move it.

Continue reading Until Next Time

Fabric and Pattern Stash management for Windows

I’m not sure how many of you know what I do for a living. I’m a Systems Administrator / Computer Technician / Business Systems Analyst / Computer Jill-of-all-Trades. Originally though, I was trained as a software developer. Yes, I’m a bona-fide computer geek. It’s been close to 10 years since I’ve done any real development, but I decided a few weeks ago to dust off my old skills, and it’s for good reason.

Rummaging through the closet in the sewing room, I realised how many times I’d bought the same fabric that I already had, or a pattern I already had. Deciding that this year is a good year to begin to shop my stash, I began trying to find a program for Windows that would help me catalog my stash(es). Continue reading Fabric and Pattern Stash management for Windows

Running out of Time

Timing series part 5:  Examples

Note: The 401A and 201 timing directions have been updated.  My apologies for the previous mistake.  I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I put those directions in, they were just plain wrong.  They should be correct now.

Note:  Never run the machine with the pedal If you suspect that the timing is off, while checking or after adjusting the timing until you’ve determined that the setting was correct.  Running it at speed if the timing is off can cause massive damage to the hook, bobbin case and also smash the needle which can lead to shards flying around.

Note: The process I show for adjusting timing doesn’t necessarily work for newer machines that are set up a little differently, but the process of checking it still applies.   And if your machine is on warranty, please just take it in and have it fixed.  Some dealers / manufacturers will void your warranty if you try to change anything.

In order to demonstrate setting the timing on a machine, I’m going to show a series of photos.  The first is the location of the timing lines on the machine, if applicable.  The next is the location of the screws / nuts / bolts you need to loosen to time it.  As needed, I will provide further explanation.  For the technical explanation, please refer back to this post: Making Time

Continue reading Running out of Time

Making Time

Timing series part 4: Why it’s fairly difficult to throw timing off, and how to adjust timing.

Note:  Never run the machine with the pedal if you suspect that the timing is off, while checking or after adjusting the timing until you’ve determined that the setting was correct.  Running it at speed if the timing is off can cause massive damage to the hook, bobbin case and also smash the needle which can lead to shards flying around.

Note: The process I show for adjusting timing doesn’t necessarily work for newer machines that are set up a little differently, but the process of checking it still applies.   And if your machine is on warranty, please just take it in and have it fixed.  Some dealers / manufacturers will void your warranty if you try to change anything.

First, why it’s very hard to throw timing off.

Continue reading Making Time

The difference a day makes

Why am I posting this before I finish the timing series, you ask?  Well, this is what distracted me from it, and put me behind. 🙂  I’m also feeling less technical than I need to in order to finish that article today, but wanted to present you something to read.  It’s a terribly long post.  I apologize for that, but I’m very happy with how it turned out, I think you might be pleased as well.

I traded emails with a lady who had posted in Kijiji that they were having an estate sale that included 4 sewing machines and a bona fide stash of fabric, patterns and other craft items.

As you may have guessed, I was most interested in the sewing machines.  I found out that the machines were: 3 Singers, and a new Brother.  I’d seen photos of 3 of the machines and knew I was only interested in one but not at the price they’d listed it at, and possibly the “unseen” one.

The interesting one that I’d seen was a Singer 401A.  The photos showed it to be in fairly rough shape though, making the $100 asking price a little high.  It had the usual grime on it from oiling, but the slide plate had “something” on it that was tan and white.  Corrosion?  Sewage accident?

Oh I couldn’t have been closer.  Continue reading The difference a day makes

Time for change

Timing series part 3:  What if it’s not timing?

What if you’ve checked and rechecked the timing and it looks fine?  It doesn’t necessarily need a trip to the sewing machine doctor.  It means that there’s another problem but most if not all of them are easy to fix, and you can do them yourself.

I’m going to list all of the reasons I can think of here, and I will add as I think of others.  Hopefully though, this will get you started and help you figure out what’s going wrong.

Let’s look at the symptoms: Continue reading Time for change

Perfect Timing (Updated with video!)

Part 2 of the timing series.  How to check your sewing machine’s hook timing.  This is a simple check that I have heard of shops charging money for.  Once you’ve done it a couple of times, it can be done in 30 seconds or less. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll never pay for someone to check your timing again.

On a properly timed machine, when the needle is down, the hook is just about behind the eye of the needle, but not quite. To be timed right, the needle will be on its upswing as the hook ends up behind the eye to catch the needle thread.

This goes back to what I talked about in the last post: Excuse me, do you have the time?  When the needle is on the down swing, the thread is tight against the needle.  As it begins to swing up, the thread bows away from the needle, forming a loop.

This is when the hook needs to come along and grab the thread.  At any other time, the hook will not grab the thread, and worse, more than likely the needle is going to collide with the hook assembly.

Continue reading Perfect Timing (Updated with video!)

Excuse me, do you have the time?

Today I’m going to talk about timing.

It’s that scary word that we all dread when we take our machines to the shop. Or the reason we take our machines to the shop.

It’s not: (fill in the blank)

Stitching, sounding right, picking up the bobbin thread, making me coffee, whatever.

Or It’s: (fill in the blank)

Skipping stitches, breaking thread, smashing needles, teasing the cat, what have you.

It must be the timing, right?

Not so. Only some of the above scenarios are always a timing problem.   Continue reading Excuse me, do you have the time?