Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Learning Curve Continues

When I last left off, I was having problems with the machine coming unthreaded. I did finish the white wing project, one-unthreaded-needle-at-a-time. It was a B-I-T-C-H! I did every trouble-shooting solution in the manual and even tried a few things of my own. I cranked the tension waaaayyyyy down hoping that would help but to no avail. I unthreaded and re-threaded the machine and did everything I know of using my knowledge of normal sewing machines. But that particular project being done, the things learned are filed away for future reference and Big Al changed the original wing file for yet another
round of experimentation.

The new file was bigger and better than ever. However, he changed the sew order of the colors so I started out sewing black, the needle came unthreaded early and he said, “No, that's supposed to be white.” I had to remember how to change colors/needles on the fly to get the right color down first. You can't see it but the white sewed back down over the black where I started over again. Needle kept coming unthreaded. Fed up, I took a screwdriver and changed the take-up spring because it looked like it was sticking and could be pulling the thread out. Voilá…pullout problem solved. Then I ran out of bobbin thread and the machine didn't stop like it was supposed to. I backed up (this time NOT messing with any controls), put in a new bobbin, and continued along. So far so good? Not exactly.

I had spent so much time cranking the tension down, down, and down, that the adjustment was all cattywumpus. I spent the next while during the entire sew-out of the white part, adjusting the tension back up, little-by-little, until it was properly adjusted again. To do this I had to sit on the floor with a light and watch the bottom of the work constantly. Of course I got it all adjusted and it was time to switch needles and color.

Now it was time to switch to black thread (for real this time). All was going pretty well. There were a few tense moments when I thought the needle was getting close to the frame, but it was okay. Then the needle got too close to the frame…BAM! The presser foot glanced off the side of the frame. I don't know whether the machine stopped itself or if I stopped it with the emergency switch. The important thing is that the machine had been stopped. I had started out the design by doing an autotrace of the bounding box around to see if there would be enough room. It was tight, if not a bit over, but you can see that the design, for the most part, fits inside the frame. I just needed to be one inch over and one inch down. I started from the dead center of the hoop which was also, presumably, dead center of the design.

So, again I pushed buttons and made it nearly impossible to line up the design again to continue, and there was no point in continuing as the black outline of that wing tip couldn't be completed anyway. Back to the drawing board to see if, a)The design can be fit to the dimensions of the hoop, or, b)If the design will be too big for the shirt we're designing in the first place. Either way, there will be much more learning on both our parts.

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