Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nimble Fingers

My "new' machine became my old machine today. I put her back together carefully and unplugged all her wires. I felt sad as I lifted her and carried outside the safety of the sewing lair and set her on the table in the store. Goodbye, my faithful Kenmore, you served me well.

The new Brother arrived yesterday and I spent the afternoon reading all about the features. By evening my mind was boggled. Most of the instructions ended with "using unauthorized parts can cause damage to your machine" and pictures of the correct way to do something as opposed to the illustration of the wrong way. Under the wrong way illustration were the familiar warnings "doing this can cause damage to your machine". I went to bed with a headache and a sense of foreboding about my newest machine.

This morning, after coffee and putting away the instruction manual, I headed in to set up the Brother. I got all her wires connected and there she sat in the place of glory. So many stickers adorned her casing I was distracted. A "STOP, we can help ......." advising the new owner not to try to return the machine to the store. This warning was on the box, just inside the box and on every little bag containing parts. I peeled that sticker from the machine and tossed it. In doing this I sealed a solemn oath to never, ever try to return this machine to Amazon.

I consider myself to be of above average intelligence, especially when it comes to interacting with a sewing machine. I knew every nook and cranny of my Kenmore and was not intimidated when it came to taking her apart and reassembling her. No, this has nothing to do with the fact that the machine died. I think it has more to do with all the miles I put on the motor.

So, here I sat in front of my new Brother with all the stickers adorning her body. Illustrations demonstrating the threading, the bobbin winding, the insertion of the bobbin and changing the needle are all on the stickers. But, wait, there is also an LCD screen on which to access the individual steps involved in all these actions. I was able to fill the bobbin and thread the machine with no problem. Then I discovered the new feature I had been looking forward to checking out.

My Brother has a built in needle threader!! This so exciting. I can't seem to perform this with my bifocals on .... or off. My current method involved the tweezers from my serger and a tiny magnifying glass that I found on some toenail clippers at the Dollar Tree.

I finished three garments today, broke two needles and replaced them. I discovered some features I am not all that fond of. There is a "safety" feature that locks the machine when something goes wrong. The first needle to break was the one the machine came with. It hit the seam and bent. It wasn't even a thick seam, like those on jeans. It was just velour.

The LCD display announced the broken needle and the machine locked the needle holder in the "down" position and even bounced a couple of times, hammering it in that position. I could not help imagining my finger trapped there. I changed the needle, using the "authorized" needles that accompanied the machine. The second one to break hit a straight pin.

My Kenmore always stopped with the needle in the "up" position, always ready to pull your seam away and clip the threads. This one ends with the needle in the "down" position. There is a button to push to bring it up. I will have to get used to that. I also need to locate my small needle nose pliers that were "borrowed" by He Who borrows and never returns. Just in case my fingers get in the way of that needle.

It might be awhile before I can sit and sew mindlessly while listening to an audio book. My fingers are not familiar with all the buttons and switches yet. I am still missing my old Kenmore. 


Val said...

My non-sewing fingers are screaming in horror at the thought of being locked in place, impaled by a needle. You are so very brave! The risks you take, the ingenuity with the toenail-clipper magnifier, the total nose-thumb to authority in the act of ripping off those stickers...I am placing you on a pedestal forthwith.

Linda O'Connell said...

Oh Kathy, I know what you mean. When my children were small I bought a Kenmore machine and taught myself to sew. I was very attached to that little whipper- snapper. Now I only sew hems or tears on my hubby's mom's prehistoric Singer which was converted from a pedal machine. Enjoy getting to know your quirky new Brother.

Joanne Noragon said...

I just don't like learning new stuff. However, to continue on, it must be done.
Try this. Take one of the new needles and see if you can break it by bending it yourself. If they break on seams they may be defective (read cheap) needles, and Brother would like to know. Or Singer, or whoever is the manufacturer. If they are defective and you notify the manufacturer you'll probably be rewarded with a lifetime supply of needles. Been there, had it happen.

Sandi McBride said...

I got my new Brother Quilting and Embroidering machine for Christmas. I am terrified of it. It is hulking in the sewing room laughing and calling out "I can help" but all I can do is sit in front of it and try to make myself plug it in. My Singer was 45 years old when it bit the dust last I wish I had had it fixed. We need to start a support group'