I had a wonderful/awful urge to do some spring cleaning this weekend. I got myself all out of sorts with the time change and felt the need to tackle more projects.
I get a bit neglectful when it comes to cleaning my sewing machine so set about taking it apart and giving her a good cleaning and oil job.
I drive a Janome 6600 and maintenance is fairly straightforward. I can't tell you how initimidated I was the first time I dared to take the face plates off!
Most machines come with small cleaning and tool kits but I find that the big screwdriver from Sean's toolkit works best. I'm kind of a wimp and the screws are in tight! I need the extra leverage to get them loose.
Best practice is to change your needle with every quilt. I have to say, that like most of you, I'm guilting for going too long between changes. There are many, many microtears that start to form in your fabric if you don't use a sharp needle. While I am very diligent about cleaning and changing needles on my longarm, my poor Jerome the Janome gets a little dirty and neglected.
A person should really give the bobbin case a brush through after every second bobbin or so to keep lint at bay. I hate to admit the amount of times that I was sewing top speed in a marathon only to have my fabric jam and sew no more. Taking the plate off the bobbin case was a chore as the top was so full of lint and debris the machine just could not move another inch.
If you are not sewing as smoothly as in the past or your quarter inch seam gets off track, you likely have some lint built up.
This is Jerome flipped on his side. There are five small screws holding the bottom plate on which came off easily. My machine is quite heavy so I needed a hand gently laying him on the table.
This lint build up was not as bad as I thought I would see. I have been seeing pictures popping up on Instragram lately of some machines with real messes. I'm glad I caught this now.
Here's a shot of the mess. Some of you may not like that I clean my machine with Q-tips but if used correctly, they do a great job. I dab a bit of sewing machine oil on the cotton tip and use it to sweep and catch the lint. Your manual will tell you to use a small brush but I struggle to trap the debris when using a brush. I want it up and gone!
The fall back of course, is to follow your manual. Mine, of course, is lost ... hidden within a bookcase of books, baskets and loose patterns. Good thing Mr. Google has everything at your fingertips! It only took a moment to find the appropriate manual for my machine.
These are the little tools that came with Jerome. They're cute, but not overly functional.
Here's a shot of a typical lint buildup for me. Resist the urge to blow! Do not blow at this lint. You will just carry it into the inner workings of your machine and may have real trouble on your hands.
And the top. Again, not as awful as I had pictured but still needed to be tended to. In the past, I had sent my machines into professional shops for servicing. If this is an option available to you, go for it. It may cost you .... I paid $150 the last time I had the service and was without my machine for two weeks. We no longer have local people to do this kind of work so it is more of a pain to take it anywhere. Ah ... the joys of living in the sticks!
This process took me about half an hour top to finish and I saved myself some money in the process! More money for fabric!! I think I'll do another deep clean like this before Christmas.
May your seams run straight and pins stay sharp!