A Little Maintenance Keeps Your Machine Sewing Along
As with my prior post regarding needles, a little preventative maintenance is a good practice.
If I do happen to have a needle break and can't find a piece of it, I do look in my bobbin case area. While I'm in there, it's a good time to go ahead and pamper your machine a little.
Keeping the bobbin area (or race) clean is very important. Some fabrics shed and make a tremendous amount of lint or fuzz that can build up quickly into the bobbin area. When sewing with these fabrics, be sure to clean it out more frequently. If you are sewing mostly with quilters cotton, regular cleanings should keep things going smoothly.
Please make sure to consult your owners manual for specific directions for your make and model of machine. These are basic cleaning tips, but are not to be used in place of what your machine or dealer recommends.
Here are a few items that I have found to be very helpful in maintaining my machines. Some machine's manuals specifically state NOT to use oil. However, multi-needle embroidery machines and long arm quilting machines can require regular oil application either when they are turned on or at every bobbin change. Again, please follow your manufacturer's directions in performing your cleanings, especially when it refers to using oil.
If I have been stitching in embroidery mode, I find it very helpful to remove the foot as well as the needle. That way I have plenty of room to move around and have total access to the entire area.
Being able to remove even little bits of dust and fiber will help the thread detection function to continue to work properly.
It is very important to be gentle in removing the covers and the bobbin case, as the bobbin plate cover on several models has some delicate areas for the threading path.
Once you have the bobbin case out, it is a good idea to examine it. If it has any scratches or irregularities then you should see your dealer to determine if it should be replaced.
Most machines include a screwdriver to remove the needle plate.
I use a piece of paper tape to hold the screws while I clean any fiber or debris that has collected. It only takes once of having to search around for a screw to remember to place them on tape...you can ask me how I know, but I think you have guessed.
A quick and easy go around with a cotton swab does wonders!
I also found these great cleaning brushes that have bendable micro tips that can get in the small nooks and crannies. They come in packages of 25 and are very reasonably priced.
While you are doing your clean up, if you have a thread cutter, now is a good time to check and see if you have any threads caught in it. They can typically be removed with a pair of tweezers.
According to your manual, replace all of your parts back in reverse order of how you removed them. Make sure you place your bobbin case back in properly! Many models have indicators marked to help you get it set correctly. Of course, in home cleanings are great, but you should follow your manufacturer's recommendations to have your machine serviced at your dealer as well.
Sandra of Inspired Remnants LLC