Tip : How not to break your needles

It happens to everyone.  All of us who sew are bound to break a needle at one point or another.  It’s something we strive not to do, yet somehow, we think we’re better than the rules.

Starting from the beginning, here are things to check:

1. Is the needle inserted correctly?  Most home machines use needles that have a flat back to the upper part of the shank, which means the long groove above the eye will be facing you as you sew.  That part may be obvious and easy.  Next, make sure the needle has been inserted all the way up, and screwed in firmly (no need to over tighten).

Anatomy of a needle (from schmetzneedles.com)

2.  Is the machine threaded properly?  Check your instruction manual, and any numbered/illustrated icons on your machine.  Forget for a moment that you’ve done this hundreds of times before – sometimes thread can jump out of place, especially following a thread jam or break.  Take all your thread out and start from the beginning.

Look at your machine for threading instructions

 

3.  Are you using the right needle?  There are two things to consider when choosing a needle to sew:  what fabric and what thread will you be using?  Heavier threads require a heavier (bigger size & number) needle – the thread needs to fit smoothly into the long groove above the eye, and through the eye without stress or major friction.  The fabric you choose affects the type of needle you should use – knits require stretch or ball-point needles, wovens require sharps.  Universal needles are not quite sharp and not quite a ball point, and like all season tires they’re pretty good in most situations, but not perfect. Click here for a Needle Primer from Schmetz.

 

4.  How is your thread?  Is it seated nicely at the top of your machine?  Are you using a spool cap the same size as the end of the spool?  If not, the thread could be wrapping itself around the spool pin and eventually bending the needle so it crashes into the presser foot.  Thread spools that have a nick in it to hold the tail when you’re not using it can cause similar issues; this nick should be oriented away from the threading path.  Try using a thread net to keep unruly spools under control.

Thread nets can help unruly threads (image from quinchat.webs.com)

 

5.  Are you using the correct foot?  Keep your wits about you when switching presser feet and when changing stitches.  There are feet that are not meant for anything other than a straight stitch – and sometimes it can’t be in the centre position (i.e. zipper feet).  Be sure to buy the proper feet for your machine; that way, the open space for the needle will line up properly with the needle plate.

Check your needle position with certain feet (image from april1930s.com)

 

6.  Are you using twin (or triple) needles?  Please see above.  If your machine has a Twin Needle button, use it.  It’s a safety feature that keeps the machine from making the stitch too wide and causing the needle to strike the foot or plate.  If you don’t have any fancy features, check your stitch width and needle drop before you sew by turning the handwheel manually, and make sure the needles don’t come anywhere near the presser foot.  Adjust your stitch width accordingly.

Check stitch width and needle position when using twin needles

 

Now, to check how you’re stitching…

6.  Don’t sew over pins.  Seriously, don’t.

Your technician says: Not funny. (image from midnightcreations.blogspot.com)

 

7.  Are you pulling the fabric?  Another no-no.  Let the feed dogs do the work – that’s their job.  If you drag the fabric from the front, the feed dogs can’t take as much as they want to.  If you try to “help” and pull the fabric from behind, you can cause extra wear on the feet and feed dogs, as well as bending the needle, pulling into positions it’s not meant to go.  Try using a walking foot for extra feeding assistance.

Try a walking foot for feeding assistance

 

8.  Tackling a thick seam?  Yeah, this can be tough on any machine.  Sewing through too many layers can cause the needle to deflect (aka “bend”) as it struggles to find its way through the fabric, which means its exit point may not be in the hole, but somewhere else on the needle plate (or worse, bobbin area).  Use a sturdier, thicker needle if you’re working with a lot of denim (there are denim needles), and try using a “hump jumper” or compensation plates.  Come in and ask us to explain – or check your instruction manual.  Stitch slowly, and use the hand wheel if you must.

Go slowly over thick seams (image from thriftyfun.com)

 

9.  Doing freemotion?  Good for you!  Now, let’s add a little more technique…it’s all about finding your groove:  your ideal combination of machine speed and hand movement.  You really have to Be The Feed Dogs, and remember that you cannot move the fabric while the needle is in it.  Try increasing the speed of the machine to keep up with your hands.  You may be surprised to find that you can handle things a little faster.

 

10.  Doing embroidery?  Keep those scissors away from the needle!  Unless you’re Superman with lightning fast reflexes (and let us remind you:  you’re not, and neither are we), you cannot snip that thread faster than your machine can sew.  So, stop it.  Stop the machine and take a second to safely trim the thread.  This will save your needles, your scissors, and likely your fingers, too.  Compare this amount of time to how much time and effort it takes to change a broken needle, rethread the machine, and back up your stitches to cover over the boo-boo.  No contest!

 

If you follow these guidelines (rules!) regularly you should be able to avoid breaking needles.  If there’s still some gremlins living in your machine, bring it in to The Tech Shop and we can exorcise those sewing demons (there could be a timing issue, or you might need new parts like feed dogs).

 

Another Year, A Longer Good-bye

Some of you may remember our co-op student, Deanna, hanging out with us in the store last year.  Happily, we benefited from her assistance and company again this year, but this time in The Tech Shop.

The grade 12 student from Sacred Heart Catholic High School liked us so much (yay! the feeling is mutual!) that she found a way to come back to us for another year.  This semester, she expanded her sewing knowledge and experience to include the more technical side of sewing, while dealing with machines, parts and accessories.  Lloyd and Ryan were whipped into organization with numbered shelves and priority lists! (Thank you, Deanna!)

 

Deanna impressed the pants off her co-op teacher with her competent demonstration of the sewing and embroidery features of the Bernina B 580E, and an in-depth report on the skills she’s gained working with us.  Ms. King was visibly and audibly thrilled to receive two customized pouches with her very own initials on it, and to have witnessed the making of each by her own star co-op student.

Ms. King, Deanna and Wendy

Deanna and the teachers in charge of the co-op program at Sacred Heart held a special breakfast, to which the participating employers were invited.  The students’ efforts were commended, and the local businesses who support the school program were shown appreciation.

Look for the turquoise…that’s Wendy, with Deanna and Deb Y.

We were thrilled to see pics of Deanna in the slide show, and we are very proud to wish her well in her future adventures as a graduate.  Cheers, Deanna!  Congratulations and thank you for all your efforts!

It’s nice to be appreciated…

 

Anita Goodesign – This Month

We are proud distributors for Anita Goodesign in Canada.  Anita Goodesign is a company that believes that quality embroidery designs need not be heartbreakingly expensive – though they are thoroughly beautiful.  At The Quilt Store, we offer single CD collections as well as memberships to several Anita Goodesign Clubs, where members get a ton of CDs in monthly shipments over the course of a year.

Here’s what’s new in Anita Goodesign this month.

Crazy Quilt Shapes

This collection combines aspects of quilting that you can wear and display, except not on a quilt! Including seasonal designs too! Designs combine traditional crazy quilting techniques with embroidery for these beautiful crazy quilt shapes. There are all different shapes filled with crazy quilt patchwork along with wonderful designs and sayings.

Crazy Quilt Shapes is part of this month’s Diamond Club.

 

Classic Trapunto

 

After the success of the Christmas Trapunto project Anita Goodesign decided to create a trapunto collection using classic quilting designs. There are over 40 different designs in this collection that use our innovative trapunto technique to create dimensional embroidery designs. This collections uses less conventional fabrics, for instance stretch velvet for the base fabric and silk dupioni for the borders.

Classic Trapunto is part of this month’s Quilting Club.

 

Sports

Have you been looking for a sports collection? Here’s one for you.  Instead of just sports balls there are seven different balls in both stitched and appliqué versions. Then there are four different scenes, and a version with each of the seven balls so you won’t have to do any editing. Plus three bonus scenes!

Sports Mini Collection is part of this month’s Diamond Club.

 

Hoot!

Owls are everywhere! You can spot them at a children’s clothing store to a home decor center. A collection of owls is be the perfect addition to your Mini Mix and Match Quilting collections. There are 12 different owls in cute poses.

Hoot! is part of this month’s Quilting Club.

 

Mylar BookmarkS

These Mylar Bookmarks are fast and easy “In the Hoop” Projects, which means no additional sewing! Mylar is a very shiny plastic material that you will immediately recognize from balloons you’ve purchased at party stores (and we bet you could recycle some of those into these fun projects!).

Mylar Bookmarks is part of this month’s Platinum Club.

 

Door Decor

Door Decor is a collection of fast and easy “In the Hoop” Projects, which means no additional sewing! Each side is treated as a separate applique with a ribbon inserted to hang on the door. The final stitches finish off all of your raw edges and make this a free-standing design.

Door Decor is part of this month’s Platinum Club.

 

Each one of these collections is available at The Quilt Store.

Gorgeous Tapestry

Have you seen the gorgeous gold and green tapestry hanging in The Quilt Store?  It’s new, and it’s beautiful, and you could make one for yourself.

 

Ours was stitched by Sandy Donaldson, an avid embroiderer and regular visitor to our shop.  She’s a member of the Anita Goodesign Platinum Club, and jumped right on board with the special edition CD, Golden Tapestry from Anita Goodesign.

The CD cover doesn’t show the beautiful borders, how they look like gold leaf, but Sandy’s quilt certainly does.  She used Gamut embroidery thread in a gold colour (not a metallic), and the stitching just glows.

The Golden Tapestry designs are created as rectangular tiles, and come in a variety of sizes to fit in hoops from 5×7″ to 8×12″.  As with every Anita Goodesign collection, there are file formats to work with almost every brand of embroidery machine out there.

Here are some tips for creating your own Golden Tapestry:

Follow the instructions.  Anita Goodesign is very good about including complete instructions with all of their projects.  Read them and follow them.  Once you have completed a quilt-as-you-go in-the-hoop project and experienced the whole process from start to finish, then you may go ahead and make adjustments to your liking.

When working with silk, we recommend using a soft, iron-on interfacing applied directly to the back of each piece of silk, in addition to the required stabilizer and batting.  We like Presto Sheer (TQS#1926) because it does not change the hand or drape of the silk, but it adds a little stability and keeps the fabric from puckering excessively during handling and embroidery.

Change your needles.  There is a lot of stitching in these designs.  Don’t be cheap!  Treat your machine to a few fresh needles during the course of this project.  Old needles can create puckers or runs in your fabric, loops in your stitching and can shred or break your thread more often.  This tapestry project is a big investment of your time, energy, thread and fabric, so it’s best to do everything possible to make it a success.

Use proper bobbin thread.  As we mentioned, there’s a lot of stitching here, and you certainly don’t need the extra bulk of thick thread on the back of your work.  Bobbin thread (sometimes also called Lingerie thread) is finer than regular sewing thread, and it is what your embroidery machine expects – the tension settings were calibrated based upon the use of bobbin thread – so using anything else will have an adverse affect on your tension.

Consider using a tool from HoopSisters, called the Trimmer by George (original or 2.0).  this tool will help you easily remove the excess batting and stabilizer from around the outside of your stitching, without trimming any of your top layer of silk fabric. Click here to watch a video tutorial on the Trimmer by George 2.0.  This will make it easier to sew each block together without bulky seams.

Trimmer By George 2.0 from HoopSisters – with edge slipped under top layer of fabric; flip ruler down on top of embroidery to protect top layer, and trim off under layers

 

Just to add a little more presence to your modern work, check out some background info on the history of tapestries:

http://www.tapestry-art.com/history.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapestry

Bead Journal Project – Inspiration comes to TQS

Part of what we stand for at The Quilt Store is the inspiration and wisdom that our staff can provide for our customers and students.  We enjoy seeing your projects and the results of your creativity.  In February, Inspiration dropped by in the form of Anne Marie Desaulniers, and her incredible little houses. (Click on the pic to see it, bigger.)

Anne Marie Desaulniers’ Bead Journal Project 2012

Everyone who was present in the store came over to the cutting table where Anne Marie had laid out her 2012 Bead Journal Project.  Customers and staffers alike emitted Ooohs and Ahhhs in various tones and volumes.  There was no question as to what the attraction was!

Anne Marie Desaulniers – BJP2012, detail

As part of the Bead Journal ProjectAnne Marie committed herself to creating one beaded piece per month for the whole of last year.  It’s a larger artistic movement that was inspired by an exhibition of The Quilt Journal Project at the 2007 International Quilt Festival in Chicago.

Anne Marie reveals and explains her journey and the meaning of each piece for her in her blog, Artful Dreamer.

Her personal guidelines were to incorporate the number of each month and a vintage button – the rest was up for experimentation and exploration.  No item was beyond consideration and inclusion as she dismantled cell phones, glued in earrings and odd screws, twisted hat pins, keys that had lost their locks (but used stitching to hold them in place, just in case its match was found), crumpled candy wrappers, and other such ephemera in order to creatively document a year in her life.

To see more detail about Anne Marie’s work, check out her Artful Dreamer blog.

If you are interested in creating your own beaded journey, visit the Bead Journal Project blog.

Anytime you have something exciting to share, please come by and show it off – we are delighted to be your biggest fans!

 

Tech Tip : No Tape!

Welcome to a new installment in our series of Tips from The Tech Shop.

Tech Tip for December

Direct from the mouth of our technician:  please, don’t put tape on your machine!

“But, why?” you ask, “it’s just tape, it’s not permanent.”

Lloyd sees lots and lots of machines each week, and he would like to inform everyone that tape – no matter what kind – marks up your machine, decreases its value, and invariably makes it difficult for him to get into your machine to clean it because you’ve taped the front and back covers together, or covered screw holes or overlapped your stitch plate.  So, he takes it off, and spends time cleaning up the dried-up, super-stuck-on adhesive, and does his best to get your machine running and looking like new.

The very same rule goes for markers, too.  Put down the Sharpie, and step away from your machine.  Head directly to The Quilt Store (do not pass Go) and pick up the right tool for the task.

 

If you need a hem/seam guide, check the accessories that came with your machine.  It’s very likely that you have one in your collection.  We have them at The Tech Shop starting at $1.99.

If it looks like the photo above, a metal piece and a screw, then you will find a hole in the bed of your machine and, placing the bent part nearest your presser foot and the slot somewhere over the hole, insert the screw through the slot and tighten.  You will be able to slide the metal guide left and right, adjusting the width of your seam by using the measured markings on your needle plate.  Run the cut edge of your fabric against the bent edge of the guide to ensure even seaming.

image from michelequigley.com

Be careful when moving the guide close to your presser foot.  Make sure the guide isn’t hampering the movement of the feed dogs.  Use the hand wheel to check that the needle bar or screw doesn’t hit the guide.

 

You might even want to look deep inside the box your machine came in, because you might have a weird looking piece of plastic that you’ve never used.  That thing is a seam guide for your extension table.

Attach it to your extension table or the bed of your machine, and slide it along to the measured marking that you need…even bigger than the markings on your needle plate.  Voilà!  Easy, no-thinking-required, perfect hems…and you may even be able to put the guide to the left of the needle!

 

If you don’t have one of those handy things in your kit, there are proper removable, reusable products you can stick on your machine.  For example, Sewing Edge is, as the packaging states, a reusable vinyl stop, available at The Quilt Store for only $5.99 (a package of 5 strips).  When you place it on your machine, do trim it in sections if it covers your bobbin cover or accessory tray – you want this to help, not hinder, your sewing.  Click here for a Sewing Edge video tutorial.

 

If you need a place to stick your pins as you remove them – like every good sewist does – or even a spot to hold your scissors, you still don’t need to employ adhesives, just suction, with the Pin Place/Scissor Spot.  It sticks to your machine (or other surface) with a clear suction cup, and holds your snips with a magnet.  This is better for your machine, as the magnet is further away from its moving parts.

 

Tape and markers may be cheap, but they cause more damage than they help.  There are several affordable options available to aid in perfect seaming, that do the job properly.  If you expect quality results for your work, treat your machine like the valuable assistant it is, and use the proper tools for the job.

 

The Tech Shop has moved!  We are now across the plaza, behind door #14.

Tech Tip : Classes

Welcome to a new installment in our series of Tips from The Tech Shop.

Tech Tip for October

The Quilt Store is proud to offer in-house technical service, cleaning and repair for sergers, sewing and embroidery machines.  It is important to us that your experience with your machine is enjoyable from start to finish.  Part of the technical service that we offer is introductory machine classes.

Now, we know many of  you have been sewing for years, and you have plenty of completed projects under your belt.  We have no doubts that you are a talented and capable sewist.  However, we will still recommend that you attend the Basic Machine Intro class that we offer to you for free with the purchase of your new machine.  Here’s why:

  1. We want you to be happy with your new machine.
  2. There’s good information in the class about the care and cleaning of your machine.
  3. The class also covers information about needles and thread, which you may not have known or have forgotten over time.
  4. There’s always new innovations, features and buttons on the machine that we think you should know about.
  5. Our technician teaches the class.
image from sownbrooklyn.com

image from sownbrooklyn.com

1.  Happy = comfortable.  In our minds, it’s easiest to be comfortable with your machine when you can play with it yourself.  During the demo in the store there are a lot of features discussed very quickly, and it’s easy to get distracted by excitement.  The Basic Machine Intro class provides you with a chance to get comfortable with the way your new machine looks, sounds and functions.

2.  Care and cleaning isn’t something we generally think about.  In the class, you will go through the steps of taking your machine apart and cleaning the necessary areas…with guidance and assistance, and someone to help if you get flustered.  Most likely, you will be surprised at how easy it is to take care of modern sewing machines.

image from buzzle.com

image from buzzle.com

3.  Needles, thread and tension are the foundation of sewing.  There are many variables involved in the combination of these three elements, and no matter how long you’ve been sewing, it’s good to have a refresher as to how each affects your sewing.  You will learn how to troubleshoot your own sewing difficulties and make simple adjustments to improve your stitching.

4.  New machines have new stuff.  Even though they’re supposed to make your sewing easier,  sometimes all those buttons can be daunting.  Allow us to walk you through some of the new features and how they will work for you, not against you!  Even if it’s a simple, basic machine, it’s new to you.

5.  Our technician is the teacher.  Who better to learn from than the one who fixes your machines?  If you’re afraid of breaking something, this is the time and place to get over your fear:  if something happens, the technician is right there to help.

They say we learn more from our mistakes…but wouldn’t it be better if you could avoid some of the embarrassing little ones?  Our Basic Machine Intro class – and Serger and Embroidery classes – will arm you with good, solid, basic information that reinforces the foundation of your sewing knowledge.

Just for the record:  our Intro classes are also perfect for refreshing your memory if it’s been awhile since you’ve sat down at your machine.  We really do want you to sew happy!

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* The Tech Shop has moved!  We are now across the plaza, behind door #14.

Finding Inspiration

s I sit here surfing the web, searching for something interesting to blog about, it suddenly struck me that this is interesting:  finding inspiration.  Some people are blessed with seemingly endless creativity and boundless ideas, where the rest of us find it a struggle to think beyond the pattern or kit in front of us.

A few years back, The Quilt Store hosted a visit with Kaffe Fassett, a renowned quilter, knitter, artist and designer.  He began his creative career as a painter, and to this day, he looks to nature for shapes and colours to incorporate into his work.

from kaffefasset.com

from kaffefasset.com

This made me think of what we “ordinary” people do outside of quilting that could provide inspiration.  Any hobbies that we enjoy could easily be a starting point for our quilts.  Look at novelty fabrics, for instance.  These prints of golf balls, piles of candy, vintage cars or airplanes or sewing machines stem from favourite pastimes, and can be used in any quilt project to clearly highlight any particular extra-curricular love.

Domestic Diva main-red(2) copy 68342_C2510Blue

My background is in photography and graphics.  I also enjoy writing (case in point!).  This is probably why I’m often drawn to fabric with words on it.  While on a photographic jaunt, when I’m observing the world around me I’m looking at colour, shape and contrast.  If you are a regular reader, you may recognize these themes from the Colour Theory series.

I hardly ever make a completely literal transition from a photo to a quilt, but someone else could easily be inspired by a photograph to make a landscape quilt.  You could even create a close-up view of a flower from your garden.

Nicatous from patfergusonquilts.com

Nicatous from patfergusonquilts.com

63142

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Are you getting the sense that inspiration really is all around us?  It is.  The tricky part now is finding a way to translate that spark into an actual quilt project.  This is where creativity comes into play.

Now, don’t cry to me that you aren’t creative, because I don’t believe you.  Everyone has some form of creativity in them, even accountants.  *smile*  If you can look at a fabric or a pattern and imagine it finished, draped over your bed or chesterfield, you are creative.

from pastimesonline.ca

from pastimesonline.ca

Fall is a wonderful time for inspiration.  The leaves on the trees are changing, which gives us amazing broad vistas as we drive past the colourful woods.  Rainy days make the tree trunks almost black, and those striking yellow leaves just glow.  You can choose to see the forest and all its globs of colour, or you can see the trees with their intertwining lines (branches) tipped with spikey shapes (leaves).  Don’t forget about the borders of green grass, or golden cornfields, or cool blue skies.

from elaine9703.livejournal.com

from elaine9703.livejournal.com

You can pull a theme, a colour palette, or shapes from what you see around you.  Inspiration is really about how you feel when you see, hear, taste or experience a moment.  Sure, it means you have to wrest your brain away from worrying about work or kids, but hey.  Don’t we all want an excuse to stop and smell the roses?  ‘Coz they’re so pretty, and you’ve seen a fabric that’s just that colour….

Tech Tip : Innovation is Good

Welcome to a new installment in our series of Tips from The Tech Shop.

Tech Tip for September

We love our machines, all of them.  There are some truly amazing old beasts out there that sew the cleanest stitches ever made, and there are some incredible new machines that perform beautifully (and quickly!).  Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and, dare say, so is nagging!

Quilters are a particular bunch of sewers with specific needs and wants, and most are not shy about it.  They want perfectly straight stitches, unwavering 1/4 inch seams, and consistent stitch length even while sewing without the aid of the feed dogs.   The original straight stitch machines did nothing but straight stitches, and remain the most reliable – provided they’ve been taken care of over the years.

vintage bernina

Newer demands have been for more space and more thread capacity on the bobbin.

Lots of machine manufacturers have answered the call for “more space”.  Bernina is the one company who has also developed ways to get more thread onto the bobbin.  Their innovative 8 Series machines introduced a huge new bobbin case that rotates to present the bobbin to the user, then rotates back into the machine for sewing.  This Jumbo bobbin holds 40-60% more thread than conventional bobbins.

8 Series bobbin area

Now Bernina has come up with another new bobbin system with their 7 Series, called the B9 Hook.  There’s lots to love about this one, so let’s start with the most obvious:  it holds up to 80% more thread than conventional bobbins.  Yup, even more than the 8 Series Jumbo bobbin.  Seriously.

B9 hook -7

It’s impossible to insert the bobbin incorrectly.  You can’t even put it on the winder the wrong way – it only fits one way!  This means you don’t have to worry about where the thread is dangling before you put in the bobbin, nor which way it spins when it’s in the case.  It only goes one way.

It comes out easily, too.  Just a gentle push on the metal bar, and the bobbin case pops out.  Replacing it is equally simple, too:  it only clicks into place one way.

The  B9 Hook system works to make it safer to use.  The bevelled edge is designed to push the hook outwards in the case of a thread jam, rather than locking the bobbin and case inside the machine.  This makes clearing jams much easier.

Speaking of easier…there’s an oil well that provides even and regular lubrication to the hook, so you don’t have to worry about oiling it too much, too little or in the wrong spot.  There’s two little circles inside the hook for oiling, and one reservoir beside the feed dogs, underneath the stitch plate.  That’s it.

More good news:  the hook is magnetic.  That crazy circular piece of metal that never seems to stay put when you’re putting your machine back together now goes in easily, and sticks with a magnet in the proper position.

Who knew there was so much involved in getting more bobbin thread?  Thank goodness there are some very smart people out there.  Innovation is good.  Bernina is a very innovative company…and they listen to what their customers want.  That’s a very good thing.

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* The Tech Shop has moved!  We are now across the plaza, behind door #14.

Tech Tip for August : Service

Welcome to a new installment in our series of Tips from The Tech Shop

Tech Tip for August :  Service, Service, Service.

 

Do you remember the last time you took your machine in to The Tech Shop?  It’s a good start if you do, and even better if it was within the past 12 months.  We’re not just nagging you when we suggest you bring your machine in, there’s good, solid reasoning behind our comments.

 

Whether or not you use your machine a lot, Lloyd suggests that it be serviced at least every two years — even if you don’t use it very much.  Why?  Well, let’s consider some comparisons. 

300px-Berlin_marathon

If you ran a marathon 5 years ago and were in tip-top shape, fit and strong, but for the past four years, you’ve done little more than the occasional walk around the block.  Could you be expected to run a marathon tomorrow?  No.  Your muscles have tightened and haven’t been exercised in ages, and although you likely remember how to run, you certainly can’t do it as fast or for as long as you once did. 

Now, machines don’t have muscles that tire.  But they do have oil that can settle and harden, lubrication that can stiffen, and rubber and plastic parts that can turn brittle with time.  Ever discovered a rubber band in the junk drawer that just crumbles in your hands?  Yup.  That can happen inside your machine, too.

Regular maintenance will keep the oil and lube from seizing, and it will give you a heads-up on the parts that are cracking or drying out. 

 

Tip 3 sh FLUFF

What if you’ve been using your machine for years, here and there, and it’s been working perfectly fine since your grandmother gave it to you, and now all of a sudden it’s not stitching correctly?  This can be compared to a car that’s just driven to the supermarket and back, with no long trips to rack up the recommended 5000 kms needed to justify an oil change.  Even if you’re not putting the mileage on your car, it’s still best to get an oil change with the seasons.

Short jobs can put more stress on your machine because it doesn’t always get the chance to “stretch its legs” and get some speed and endurance training.  Regular use and cleaning will help keep things from getting clogged (like fluff in your bobbin area, and thread bits in the tension disks).

 

car mechanic

One more car comparison:  regular oil changes do not a service make.  As you know, your brakes need to be done at least once in the car’s lifetime with you.  Bringing your machine in for “just a cleaning” doesn’t mean that your feed dogs aren’t wearing out.  You should treat your machine to a good service appointment, where it will be checked and fixed from end to end, inside & out.

 

spa

If you’re running your machine like a fiend, fast and furious, five days a week  (or more!) you must know that it will need an occasional trip to the spa, just like you!  Everyone needs a good relax and a good scrub and rub-down.  So does your machine.  A quick, professional cleaning will help keep you and your machine happy, because your technician will be familiar with your machine and how you use it, and will be able to recommend repairs before they wreck your machine and your plans.

 

The Tech Shop is happy to receive your machine anytime.  In fact, if you cannot make it in between 9 and 5, Monday through Friday, you are welcome to drop your machine off at The Quilt Store on Saturdays, and Lloyd will pick them up on Monday. 

You can also book an appointment — which is highly recommended if you’re unwilling or unable to part with your baby for an extended period of time.  Just call The Tech Shop at 905-853-6532 and we can arrange a mutually convenient time when you can drop your machine off, and it will be turned around in 2-4 days (pending technician’s approval).

If you’re one of the people who can’t remember the last time your machine was serviced (or worse yet, know that it’s never been done!), you can get an estimate done for $55, just so you know what needs to be done, and if it’s worth doing.  If you decide to go ahead with the repairs, that $55 will be applied to the service.  Otherwise, you’ve done some valuable research and not wasted any time finding out that you need to buy a new machine. 

And we’re happy to help you with that, too.

 

* The Tech Shop has moved!  We are now across the plaza, behind door #14.