Monday, November 10, 2014

Ingenuity

This has been a long and hard weekend with a lot of driving and then getting ready for a coming snowstorm. I was not looking forward to a 2 1/2-3 hour drive on Saturday for a funeral so I consoled myself by looking on Craigslist to see if there might be a sewing machine along the way. As luck would have it, I made contact with someone to look at a Bernette 330 on my way home. I phoned when I was back on the road and she suggested we meet at a fast food parking lot: that meant I wasn't going to be able to plug it in and test drive it but it was too late by then. We met and when I looked at it from the back of her car the hand wheel didn't turn. The presser foot didn't lift up either. It appeared to have the "varnish" syndrome. I asked if she would take less for it and she agreed so Bernette came home with me.

Bernette 330 (after cleaning)
She did seem to be all stuck up with something that oozed down from the following parts:


Red arrows are points on the needle bar where it enters fittings. At these points there were rings of sticky stuff that I dissolved with alcohol, dried with the hair blower, then oiled with Triflow. How does this happen? Does anyone actually paint varnish on the moving parts? Of course not but some oils will do this or products you are not supposed to use, like WD40 (that's a whole other conversation). After much work and application of heat from the hair blower it started to loosen up and stay loose. I tried to sew a bit, more heat, more oil, and it was okay except the zigzag width wasn't too wide. The green arrow in the photo above shows where the needle bar moves left to right for a zig and zag and it was pretty gummed up, too. After a couple hours of this kind of work I called it a night for sewing machine repair and decided I could try a bit of sewing to get caught up on craft show items.

After the last craft show it was decided I should make more of the hot mitts with coordinating towels. I checked towels, hot mitts, and fabric to see what I could match up and one towel that would go so nicely with 2 hot mitts was missing the fabric I would normally use on the towel. How could I put them together without anything to tie them together? How about the bias trim fabric and coordinating stitches? Here's what I came up with:

Aren't those stitches great with the native American symbols? The sewing machine that I used was a vintage Morse:
Morse 6100
and her fancy stitch cams

The cams made those stitches like it was nothing, kind of boring just centering the fabric and watching the stitches. Very cool though. And that new-to-me Bernette? Here's a closeup of her stitch selection:
Bernette 330 stitch selection: typical
Not bad but nothing like that old Morse. So where does the title ingenuity come into play? I think having the right machine for those fancy stitches was a bit ingenious and using heat, alcohol, and oil to unstick the Bernette is a bit ingenious, too. Sometimes it's just a good feeling we get from bringing new life to something that was rejected, a bit of style added to make my little corner of the world a bit brighter even for a moment.

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