I ran out of bobbin thread this morning. This is pretty routine - especially with the production sewing I have to do to make ends meet. But this morning it was anything but routine. I needed more thread and it was in the other room in a cabinet blocked by a table. Ok, moved the table, opened the cabinet, got the thread, closed the cabinet, replaced the table, loaded the bobbin with thread and re-threaded the machine. Of course the thread had run out when I was sewing through a really really really thick section (think 8 layers of heavy weight fabric plus two layers of ribbon). I could tell when I started that there was trouble and sure enough the first inch of seam was just one huge tangle underneath. So I stopped, picked out the mess, checked the bobbin threading, checked the top threading, and tried again. This time I was able to sew a few inches before hearing an ominous new sound of clacking from the machine and thought I should do some investigating.
The clacking sound seemed to come from the bobbin area so I decided to clean that area. First I needed a screwdriver to open the needle plate - and the short screwdriver was downstairs. But wait! There is a screwdriver in the cabinet in the other room. Move table, open cabinet, get out the accessories box, dig out the screwdriver (this time at least I didn't put everything back yet!). Nope, this screwdriver is specific to the other machine and its blade is too thick. Fine! I grab a different screwdriver from my toolbox. Nope, too tall to fit into this space. Fine!! I grab a 3rd screwdriver that is short but has a narrow blade and hope it will work well enough to just remove that one stupid screw. I works, I clean out all the accumulated lint and put everything back together and put everything away and start sewing again. And the ominous clacking sound is still there. Sigh. I try re-threading the top thread again - still clacking. I un-thread the machine and run it without thread and that seems to have done the trick. So I thread it yet again and test sew on a piece of scrap fabric and the sound is back! Grrr!!! This time I try sewing with the side of the machine open so I can see the parts moving and try to narrow down the issue. I'm getting a bit frantic now because my primary machine is already in the shop for service and I'm sewing on the trusty old workhorse machine and dammit I have stuff to get completed today!
Finally I discover the source of the ominous clacking. See that little brass screw in the picture? It's sole function is to hold the little metal bar in place so that the thread can glide across the bar. That one stupid screw was loose. Now can I put everything away and get back to sewing? Wish me luck!