Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lean Mean Clean Machine

Does this picture get your attention? Had to smile when I saw it online as it was taken during one of my classes at Heirloom Creations in Sioux Falls, SD. Try not to hit safety pins when you quilt!

We are expecting another foot of snow, so I had lunch with a friend yesterday and today and tomorrow will stay in and get some jobs done that I have been postponing. It's time to clean and oil my sewing machines! Actually, this is a job I rather enjoy. It's so nice to hear them hum again. Then I will quilt another sample of Relaxed Diane-shiko on something pretty.

I read on the Bernina blog recently how to clean your Bernina and it had some great photos of linty machines and where/how to clean out your machine. Go to and scroll down to find the entry titled "Keep a Clean Machine!" In the comments you'll find Sara Snuggerud's from SD and some amazing photos from her shop of bent needles, etc. Wow.

Check your owner's manual for how to do maintenance, and/or go online to find out your brand's suggestions and tips.

I do know that when I am visiting various sewing machine shops they love to show me some of the interesting things that come in for repair, or tell me tales of the most packed-with-lint machine they've ever seen, the dullest needle, the most thread tangled inside, etc.

If I even nick something with my needle, like a safety pin, I change the needle. It doesn't happen often, but it is so crucial to have a good needle in the machine to have quilting work out well.

Also, I clean any buildup from my silk thread every 3 hours or so and my machine will quilt beautifully for me, and sound wonderful too. I take it in once a year for a thorough check up, oil, lube and filter, front end alignment, tire rotation, conversation with the mother ship for updates, and it always comes home so much better, like new. This is an investment you make not only in keeping your machine perking along, but in the quality of your quilting.

Keep quilting, your work gets better every day!


YankeeQuilter said...

I finally sat down a few months ago and learned how to take care of my featherweight and other machines. What a difference it makes!

Tracey said...

Great post.. I am always surprised how many people dont think to clean their machines. We have a foot of snow here in my part of the UK at the moment too.

I did a couple of blog posting on cleaning your machine just before christmas .. you can see them here


Happy New Year

Diane Gaudynski said...

Thanks for the info Tracey. I saw the snow in the UK on Feather on a Wire's blog. Wow. Even here where snow is typical we don't usually get this much.

Sandy said...

It's amazing how different a clean, oiled, well-maintained machine sounds from one that's been neglected. When our local group gets together to sew, there's sometimes someone who complains about how her machine is performing -- and that's usually the machine that sounds like a tank. A bit of a cleaning, a drop or two of oil, and that machine sounds totally different, not to mention how it sews. ;)

Anonymous said...

Recently on a forum someone I didn't know mentioned that a fellow class member had asked where to buy replacement felt pads that fit in the bobbin area of the machine.
I did a double take, asked if the commenter had taken one of my classes ..... no, but the same question had been asked in one of my classes!
In another class I cleaned a cup full of felted lint from a machine for a student .... 25 years worth. Just as well she didn't do a lot of sewing!
Judy B

Kelly said...

I make a habit to de-lint routinely. I quilt with cotton thread and that lints up like crazy! I also tend to change my needle frequently. I just got my machine back today, It went in Tuesday for the yearly check-up! I always say, if your going to spend your hard-earned money on a good machine, you need to take care of it, so it will take care of you!

Jen said...

Wow, that SOOOOOO looks like something I would do!

Diane Gaudynski said...

Jen, I think any of us could do that!

Linda said...

I am surprised it wasn't me...Ha.....I really appreciate all the wonderful advice that you offer......thanks..........

Jocelyn said...

Thanks so much for this reminder. I even posted about it on my blog. I am so bad at forgetting to do this to my own sweet Bernina.

Diane Gaudynski said...

Thanks for all the links on your blog, Happy Cottage Quilter - we need photos, we need how-to's and reminders as well. If any of you are unsure or have a fear of looking inside that machine, have someone at your dealer show you what you can do at home to keep things clean and working well.

In classes I have also found the machine that is so noisy no one else can hear theirs usually needs a simple oil and clean to begin and then a good tech servicing as well after class. They can get into the entire machine and clean it and make sure parts are aligned, all is working the way it should be.

The felt pads, the locked-in-place feed dogs, all are subtle signs you have not been on top of this. :-)