We just had a long weekend here in WA (Long Weekend = 3 days of sewing, hehe), Monday was Labour Day. I got quite a bit done since it was so much cooler (high 20s instead of high 30s for a change) and we had a beautiful cool breeze in from the ocean, but more on that later in the week.
On Monday I went around to help my friend J with her sewing machine. J is fairly new to sewing and she has a neat little machine by Elna called the Sew Fun. All puns aside it is a really good beginner machine with a great range of stitches and adjustability but not too much to confuse and scare away newbies.
In her enthusiasm to change her first broken needle, J accidentally disassembled most of the upper needle clamp. A small piece of metal fell out of one of the pieces she removed and she wasn’t able to work out where it went back. Since I have the same brand of machine and I am also partly responsible for getting her hooked on sewing I was more than happy to try my hand at fixing it. I shudder to think what they’d charge at a repair shop.
We got it all sorted pretty quickly although I had no idea that piece existed until I had my head almost inside my machine to spot where it went. After it was all screwed back together I showed J how to really change the needle then to pick up her confidence I showed her what bits she should pull apart for cleaning and oiling. Then we chatted about different types of sewing feet and stitches and what they are used for. I suggested to J that she thread up her machine, grab a plain piece of scrap fabric and stitch a line of each stitch type. I’ve made this suggestion a few times to different friends, it helps you get your head around what each stitch is for and also what they really look like since the picture on the machine isn’t always very accurate.
Can you keep a secret? I’ve never even done that myself…and I’ve had my Elna for…(counting in head)…7 years…(I cheated, I went and pulled out the receipt) and I’ve never stitched every stitch to see what they look like. Ok, so I probably did way back in 2003 when I finally brought it home but it’s completely forgotten since I was probably busy working out tensions and stitch widths and threading all at the same time.
I’d hate to be called a hypocrite so when I got home I pulled out a pretty blue thread, some calico and went to work. Here’s what I ended up with, it’s neat huh?
It’s kind of pretty in a nerdy, organised sort of way. Can you see my neat little pink chalk lines? Taking it too far much?
My overlocker is next for this treatment but it will take a little longer for me to re-thread it 15+ times. When I first got it home I threaded up each path with a different coloured thread to get my head around how the stitches were formed since I had no idea. Then when I went for my free overlocker lesson the lady at the shop told me to go through the treading chart in my book and make a test swatch of each stitch formation. I intended to do just that as soon as I got home but I got caught up in learning how to use it for my immediate sewing requirements. I know for a fact that I’m not yet using it to it’s fullest potential. I have two other feet that I haven’t even tried yet! So stay tuned for more exciting thread on calico action soon… 🙂