Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Christmas To Me!

My mum is a professional shopper. Well, she doesn't get paid for it, so I guess I can't really use the term "professional." But she practices bargain finding with a finesse which is rarely seen. Her latest find was this beauty which I found waiting under the Christmas tree.

Hi, I weigh 30 lbs. (Yes, I weighted it. I'm a scientist; it's what I do.)

It's a Nelco SZ-217. It did not come with a manual. And, according to the internet, the manual is no longer in existence. At this point I should admit that I am a complete sewing newbie. I can measure, cut, pin, and iron with the best of them. But I've only sat at a machine twice in my life. I've only threaded one machine needle. I've never changed a bobbin - all I know is you put your GIANT HAND into the wee tiny opening of mystery. Then some magic happens and you have a little bobbin holder in your grasp.

I embarked upon this adventure with my typical disregard of logic and just jumped in. If you don't let things intimidate you, you'll accomplish things you never thought possible. Allow me to give an example:

1. I threaded the needle. Hooray!

2. Apparently I buggered it up because it keeps coming unthreaded.

3. Oh, I missed one of those little curvy thread path thingies - problem solved.

4. About 5 stitches into my test project the needle fell out (in my defense, I didn't put this needle in)

5. Ok, needle back in. Note to self - machines with side-mounted bobbins have the flat side of the needle facing right instead of to the back!

6. Made some practice stitches. Feeling like an engineering superhero!

OK, now for the hard stuff. The pre-loaded bobbin is white, but I want to use black thread.

7. I used the machine to wind a bobbin (admittedly it took me a couple of tries to find which random knob was the bobbin tensioner). Hooray for not having to wind thread by hand! I knew my swift and ballwinder weren't going to help me with this project!

8. I open the little door and stick my hand in the hole of mystery. When my hand emerges it does not just contain the little bobbin holder but the Entire Race Assembly! OK, now I panic. I've got 1 bobbin and 3 pieces of metal in my hand and I have NO IDEA what they're supposed to look like when assembled!

9. Get tired of scraping knuckles on edges of tiny trapdoor only to have everything fall out as soon as I put it in (remember - it's a side-mounted assembly). There must be a better way.

10. My sewing machine has a trap door that leads to a secret compartment! Urr, basically I can unhinge one side of the machine and expose the underbelly. This is probably a standard feature, but I was absolutely overjoyed to discover this. Hooray for having 2 hands and a clear line of vision to work on bobbin assemblies!

11. Cleaned out the underbelly - found lots of safety pins! Buried treasure FTW! Note to self - buy more compressed air and a dust mask (cough).

12. . . . .6+ possible assembly combinations later - I have a working conformation!!! Decide I am definitely an engineering superhero. This is reinforced by the fact that my hands are covered in oil and smell of old pennies.

13. Sit down and sew my first ever independent sewing project in about 30 minutes. After 4+ years of knitting my first thought was "That was so fast - it must be cheating!"

Decide I am definitely not a take-your-own-photo superhero. Hooray for mirrors and cropping tools!

*Unfortunately, the pattern I used is no longer online.

1 comment:

hoosiergirl said...

Looks like you haven't been posting for awhile, but I do hope you check comments...(fingers crossed)

I came across your blog when I did a Google search for Nelco SZ-217 sewing machines. Imagine my surprise and delight that someone else has the same machine! Mine was actually my mothers that she gave me a few years before she passed in 2010. It has sat since then...Oh I wanted to use it, be creative...But I couldn't even thread the darn thing half the time...let alone put thread on the bobbin! How did she make it look so easy? Why didn't I pay more attention! So now, I get this creative bur up my butt and drag the thing out, clean it up and thread it...and THANK my mother for leaving thread on the bobbin! I know, I'm going to have to put more on later, but one thing at a time today! Oh, you gave me a good chuckle...It DOES weigh 30# and I feel like I get a work out moving it all over as I cleaned it.

So, I would love to hear any tidbits or advice on this machine you may have. I am so excited to hear back as I think you may be the only one left, other than myself...LOL