Tag Archives: tips

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?

Project Rewind: back to the 60s – Reuse your wooden spools

NOTE 2014-03-03:  This post left for posterity, but it’s superceded (functionality wise) by this post.

In the early 1970s, thread manufacturers stopped using the wooden spools for their thread.  This was strictly due to cost.  A wood spool cost them between 2.5 and 4.5 cents per, where as a plastic spool cost half that.

Financially, it made sense.  Unfortunately, the sewing experience doesn’t seem to be the same.  Plastic spools hop all over the place, they’re loud, and let’s face it, they’re ugly too.  I really think the older machines like the wood spools better too.  They’re heavier and harder to “spin around” and mess with the tension.

I have my grandma’s old sewing basket, it has a bunch of wood spools in it.  Some full, some empty, or close to it.  She used to keep them to wind the thread ends onto.

On the Quilting Board, we were discussing why you couldn’t rewind some of these old spools.  The easy answer is “there’s no product on the market that will do it”.

Today, I came across a photo of a Two Spools machine that was winding a wooden spool, and I decided it had to be possible for “the rest of us”, and if it was, I’d try to come up with a way to do it.

Note: This process will work better with a top mounted bobbin winder.  It may work with a side mounted winder, but it may limit the size of the spool you can use.  I can’t see a way it would work with a Self-winding bobbin.  It should work with a Side Winder too.  Also, for pretty obvious reasons, it won’t work with the long bobbins.  😉

Continue reading Project Rewind: back to the 60s – Reuse your wooden spools

Reader Mail: October 21, 2012 Edition

So, I thought I’d start a feature here on AA where I answer questions submitted by you, the Readers.

I get some questions via email that you would normally never see, but the same questions seem to come up time and time again. In the hopes of addressing some of them in “public”, I present to you:

Reader Mail.

Matt wrote me about his model 127, with a replacement shuttle:

… the stitches don’t always stay tight and straight as I think it should. Maybe it’s the needle size and tension isn’t adjusted right?

How can I properly adjust the tension and what needle size does it need?

Continue reading Reader Mail: October 21, 2012 Edition

Getting better Exposure in your pictures

Zone System Chart

In 1939/40 Ansel Adams along with Fred Archer, developed something called the Zone System. Your camera’s meter is based on it.

Why is this important to me, you ask? The reason you want to learn about this, only a little, is so that you can understand how your camera’s meter works.

What you see at the top and the bottom of this post, is a a representation of the Zone System. Continue reading Getting better Exposure in your pictures