Friday, July 27, 2007

She's Exposed!

My 'partner in crime' aka my sewing machine is exposed for the world to see! :-) She's not shy! teehee Actually, it was time to give her some TLC. I try to be diligent and give her some TLC after every five to six bobbins. I completely expose her and use a soft brush to clean out the lint and dust, I give her a little drink of oil, I change her needle and wind five to six bobbins. After everything is put back in place she's ready to rock and roll - she hums and purrs. :-)

On occasion I also clean out my pincushion. WHAT? Yes, I believe that if my needle is getting dull when I'm using it then obviously my pins have gotten dull with use. I had an acquaintance laugh at me about a year or so ago when I told her that I do that but I like a nice sharp pin as much as I like a nice sharp needle. That nice sharp pin will glide into my fabric like BUTTAH!!! :-)

You saw my rant recently about running out of thread. I wasn't talking about running out of bobbin thread, although that drives me crazy, too, I was actually talking about running out of spools of thread. I try to buy 3 to 4 spools of thread at a time but sometimes I'll use the last one - run out while I'm sewing - reach into the drawer for a new spool and there are no spools. AARRGGHHH! I primarily use cream and grey for piecing and I keep a spool or two of white for those projects that must have white thread.

So, I'm asking:
1. Do you do regular TLC maintenance on your sewing machine?
2. Do you clean out your pincushion? (are you rolling your eyes at me - LOL)

3. What habits do you have with regards to making sure you have piecing thread on hand?

4. What kind of thread do you use for machine piecing and why? Colors?
5. My DH wants to know if you hide treasures from your DH? snicker - he thinks I don't. Silly man!
Thanks for popping by!
In Friendship!


Leah Spencer said...

1. Yes, I do regular TLC maintenance on my machine. Every time the bobbin thread runs out, I pop off the throat plate and swab a q-tip to get the hunking pieces of lint. Every 2-4 bobbins I'll give a deeper clean with a pipe cleaner and a drop or two of oil if it feels dry. Then about 5-10 bobbins I give it a full down clean out. Usually takes me about 20 minutes.

2. I hate pins. I hate using pins. I hate sewing with pins. I hate pins. so it's gonna take me a very long time to wear out my pins. ;) I do keep a bottle for any pins and needles that aren't behaving well. Dull needles or bent/dull pins go in there. I change my needle about every 2-4 bobbins.

3. I always make sure I have at least 3 piecing spools on hand. I made a big order at Connecting threads for their Essential threads line and bought almost every color. Certainly all the neutrals/light threads. If I really need to, I'll use a pastel thread if I'm out of the regular stuff.

4. Essential thread... cuz it's cotton and it's cheap. Used to be Aurifil thread, but the source I was buying it from stopped selling. ET isn't the best thread ever, but it holds together really well (had some unraveling problems with Aurifil) and I'm not sorry I got it. Colors would be white, grays, creams, and pastels if needed. I make scrappy quilts for the most part, why not scrappy thread? ;) Plus with different bobbin/top threads, I can check my tension.

5. No, I don't hide my quilting treasures from my husband. I've got it under control these days. I do ask though, and he always says yes. :) My recent lusts have been thread and dyeing fabric more than buying, buying, buying for the stash. I do have too much. :P

Anonymous said...

When has a sale on Essential thread, I buy a BUNCH. It's great stuff.

Unknown said...

Let me think :

1) I sometimes do TLC maintenance on my "robot", but not on a regular basis ("She" doesn't like me, neither do I.... LOL)
2) Pincushion maintenance ???? I'm curious, how do you procedd ? (I LOVE my pincushions !)
3)Piecing thread on hand : the only way I found is to buy some each time I visit my quilt shop (which can be 2 or 3 times a week). Colors : white, cream, beige, grey, black, navy, red and green.... for machine piecing.
For handpiecing, I'm using silk thread (almost invisible and works like a breeze !) . Quite expensive, but I'm using 3 colors only : light cream, fume, and dark grey... and they work beautifully on all fabric colors !

5. Am I hiding quilting treasures from my husband ? Well..... AAAAALWAYS, of course ! (and then I show them one by one, at the "right" moment ... HeeHee ! He pretends not knowing it, but he knows ME ! LOL - Can't get rid of that "guilty" feeling from my childhood....)

Here's what I can say about my little secrets.....


Sweet P said...

I have to admit for the longest time I didn't do any machine maintenance (I know, bad girl). One day I took the plate out and oh my gosh there was so much lint I could have a made a huge dust bunny from it. Now I clean my machine every 2 or 3 bobbins.

I use Essential Thread from Connecting Threads and could shoot myself for making a purchase from them and not buying more since I'm almost out.

I never thought about cleaning out my pin dish. But I have noticed a difference when I use different pins so I guess I'll start cleaning out my pin dish as well.

Joyce said...

I clean around the bobbin case each time I change bobbins and do a more thourough cleaning between projects.

I discard dull pins when I find them.

I buy Gutterman thread because that is what is available here. I do run out occasionally but I usually do scrappy so any color will work.

I don't hide quilting stuff from my husband. He buys art material, I buy quilitng material. We encourage each other. That's where the budget goes!

Carole said...

Yes, I give lots of tlc to my machines. I tend to use two on a regular basis. My method of cleaning out pins, I throw the bad ones out as I use them. I use a pin cushion for my sewing machine needles. No I do not hide anything from my dh. We do plan ahead for large purchases ei. a sewing machine or software. As for thread. I tend to use Mettler for machine quilting and now Master Piece for piecing and sometimes machine quilting. For machine embroidery I also use Mettler but 60wt. I usually have a couple to a few spools of the thread for each colour I own. When I finish a spool and it's a colour I tend to use often, I make a mental note to get more. So far I haven't experience any thread aggrevations!

~Bren~ said...

I do keep my machine clean, though I should change the needle more often I guess. My machine says "Do not oil" so I haven't. I still haven't watched the video for my machine and I've had her 2 years. We are not the best of friends.
I don't clean out my pincushion :(
I do throw dull or bent pins away immediately.
I have a cone of something right now. I think it is Mettler, but I prefer Gutterman. I guess I need to try Essential thread. I use a cream or grey.
Of Course I hide quilting treasures from Sweet Hubby!!! He does not know who "J. Rose" is. Thank goodness I found a lqs without the word "quilt" in the name!!

Unknown said...

Hi Darlene, I give my machine regular TLC, remove throat plate, take out bobbin case etc and unscrew the underside of the machine to give it a good cleaning, oil regularly and put back together. Usually takes me close to 45 minutes to do and change needles often.
Pins get thrown away as I fish them out to use if they are bent or blunt, hate bent pins....
I buy Aurifil threads from I've found this site to be the cheapest around, and I only buy grey and beige and off white. The grey and beige for piecing and the off white for when I machine quilt on the kona snow.
I don't hide purchases from DH as he's the one who provides the $$$ for me to shop as I don't a bit hard to do under the circumstances...

Yvonne said...

I do regular TLC on my machine...usually after several bobbins. I take off the plate and clean really well.
I started using the very fine flat head pins....I really love them. Any pins that don't easily go thru the fabric are tossed.
I use aurifil for piecing...I like how it sinks down into the seam. I use white and tan.
I don't hide my quilting treasure from my darling but he doesn't really care about it nor does he for me:-)

Belvie said...

Darlene, posted my response on my blog and linked it back to your questions. Thought my answers were too long to post as a comment. Thanks for asking these questions as I have enjoyed reading what everyone had to say.

Wendy said...

These are great questions. I do clean out my machine regularly by removing the plate and I use a Q-tip with a drop of oil to get out all the dust bunnies. At the same time I change the needle. I don't use pins very often (almost never), only if I have a long row of blocks to sew together. The pins I like best are silk pins, extra sharp and very thin.

I buy Aurifil thread when I can find it but most often I have Mettler because it's on for 50% off almost every month...see why I have too much thread?...teehee. I buy cream, beige and a darker beige for machine piecing. I also use Invisifil for hand piecing, very similar to silk thread but way cheaper and it can be used in the machine. My friend who owns the Sewing and Vac store now carries Aurifil so I'll be getting it there.

I don't tell DH about every purchase but then he's not interested either.

Vicky said...

1. Huh? That sounds too much like housework!
2. (Rolls eyes)
3. You haven't seen my thread stash? LOL
4. I've been using Aurafil for a little over a year and love it. Not nearly as much lint.

I need to take my Bernina in for a good cleaning. Never did get to take the class about how to take care of her myself. Of course, maybe that's a good thing! :)

love.boxes said...

Question. I was given a lovely sewing machine that is about 38 years old. I have taken it to a professional and they gave it a careful going over and maintenance (I hope because it cost about $175) I hardly dare touch it now. I don't sew much. I have made a few pillows and things like that, but I have a lot of things that I would like to try in my head, but I don't know how to give the machine TLC (it was a wedding gift from my father to my mother) and I just don't want to break it. I think it needs oil and I don't know how to oil it. I don't know what the throat plate is or where to look for lint. Therefore, I am not sew much. Do you know where I can find good info about how to do all that that you've mentioned?

I don't know what kind of thread I use. Really bright colors.. :)

SuBee said...

1. Yes - regular TLC is as important as fabric. YES, it is!
2. I am a pin snob. There, I've fessed up. I buy "fresh" new extra fine glass head pins about every six months or so because they do get dull.
3. LOL - the computer is right next to the sewing machine, on my right. When I open a new spool, I turn right around and go order more!
4. Superior Masterpiece is my new fave. Aurifil my old standby.
5. I don't have to, because he has his own vice and we each support our own vices. But he is totally supportive!

PamKittyMorning said...

Hi there, yes, I clean my machine, but use a magnetic pincushion so that doesn't need cleaning, and now do you clean a pin cushion anyway? I use those extra sharp/extra fine pins with the yellow and blue glass heads and LOVE THEM, and buy them new all the time as they do bend easily. AndI love Superior Masterpiece thread and buy it by the ginormous spools and freak out if it gets below a half. And I use the color Canvas on everything.

Pam said...

1. No - I don't do regular maintence - bad me.

2. Clean out my pincushion? It never even occurred to me that this was a task I should be doing. Hmm - bad me?

3. I alway make sure I have at least one full spool of thread and one partial spool. I hate to keep too much thread on hand because then I wouldn't have to go to the quilt shop as often - LOL

4. I use the Aurifil - gray and cream.

5. Oh -- do I hide things -- LOL. I have been know to hide something and forget about it - and then happily discover it one day, much to my surprise!!

Toni said...


I clean my machine after each bobbin and better every so often.
I use Mettler Thread in white, off white, or gray.
I throw away any dull pin I fine.
I do try to run them thru a strawberry sharpener every so often...
I dont hide any treasures from my need...
Thanks for asking...I love your answers and everyone elses...
Your special friend is lucky to have you making a table topper for is so pretty..
Have a good weekend..Toni

Libby said...

1. I fill 6 bobbins at a time and do my machine maintenance then as well. A good clean out, etc.
2. Never cleaned my pincushion . . . never thought of it as dirty.
3. When the aforementioned Aurifil thread resource was closing out, I loaded up on spools and cones. Running out won't be an issue for a while.
4. Aurifil 50 wt. It's not 'linty' and lasts a good, long time. I use a tan for most everything.
5. Nope - I bring everything right in for display. Hubby likes to see what I'm up to and I like to share.

Nicole said...

What interesting comments are coming in on this post!
1) I have had poor luck with "deep cleaning" my Bernina. I dust around the bobbin case from time to time, and occasionally remove the throat plate to get the lint felt pads out. I have gotten into trouble by trying to remove the bobbin case though, and actually damaged something and had to take my machine in to be repaired!
2)I do have high standards for my pincushion! I often clean out all the loose threads and discard any bent pins or pins that don't match the others.
3)I always make sure I have loads of thread on hand. A friend recently persuaded me to try some new thread that comes on a big spool and I love it.
4)Presencia and Star are the brands of thread I have on hand, in neutral grayish colors. I also use white or off white thread when it seems to be called for.
5) My dh is very curious about my quilting, so I am always happy to share with him what I am up to. Except maybe the exact number of fat quarter bundles I have stashed in the closet...

Nan said...

1. Yeppers, I do TLC maintenance on my machine. I recently took a class to learn the care and feeding of my machine and how to use all the do-hickies(how do you spell that?) that came with the machine.
2. I do go through my pincushion from time to time, and throw out pins if they bend or get rough. Every once in awhile, I even get a new pincushion!
3 & 4. I was told during the how-to class for my machine I shouldn't use 100% cotton thread, because it has too much lint, and can mess up the innards of the machine - who knew? So, I switched to polyester thread, and usually stock up when there is a sale. I use an off-white or gray for just about everything, except white thread for white fabric.
5. I don't hide treasures from the hubby. Most of the time, he doesn't notice that I've gotten something new, anyhoo!
I have enjoyed reading all the other's answers. Good idea, Darlene! :-)

Kim said...

today when piecing a mystery I remembered what you asked and if the pin didn't go in like buttah it went in the trash- I missing a bunch of pins :( but will get more tomorrow.
I use Essential thread too and clean my machine almost daily
Do I hide my stash? Nope but I usually only buy backgrounds and kona white for dyeing or wide backing fabrics-the last 4 quilts and 3 were queens came from stash and you'd never know any was missing....

Quiltgranny said...

1) I do TLC maintenance about every two days on my machine, since I use it so much.
2)I have three pincushions - one by the machine, another by the design wall on the ironing board. Those both hold "usable" pins to piece with. Invariable, they get over to the ironing board, so when that cushion is filled, I change its place with the one by my machine.
3) I always have about a dozen spools of thread on hand for piecing.
4)Aurifil thread is my preference. Low lint, lays nice and small in the fabric. Colors:grays, wheat, and some pastel pink and green.
5)I never hide treasures from hubby! If I did, he wouldn't know that it was time for him to surprise me with more!

Jeanne said...

I keep my Featherweight clean and oiled as it's the machine I use the most for piecing. It likes YLI Select thread and I keep an extra spool or two or natural, taupe and black on hand. For hand piecing, I use YLI Heirloom thread, natural or ecru. It goes through the needle so easily for me.

Patti said...

Let's see - yes I do regular maintenance on my machine. Takes a while - there must be a jillion places you must oil a featherweight! I have to get out my book to see the diagram so I don't miss any.

2. I don't clean my pincushion - but it's a good idea. What I do is even sillier - I like to have all the pins pulled up and standing at attention all read for me to grab. So when whey are all mashed down into the pincushion I take the time to pull them all out and arrange them neatly in the pincushion.
3. & 4. I use 100% cotton for piecing - except I'm using up my cotton wrapped poly for these charity quilts. I buy the cotton by the box when I order longarm thread, and just like toilet paper I have lots and lots so I'll never run out.
5. I don't hide things from my husband - after all, I'm working! - but I don't blatantly display them either LOL!

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