Zen and the Art of Sewing Machine Matinence

(Which is a terrible book, by the way.)

I read Schneier on Security, which is an interesting blog about security and squids. (Wait, is the plural of “squid” just “squid”?) See, every Friday he post something squid-related, and last week it was an 8-foot squid pillow. Well, obviously I had to make one for myself.

I went to one of the fabric stores on Orchard Street to get fabric. “How much per yard?” I asked the salesman as he pulled down a bolt.

“Five dollars.”

It had a stupid flowed pattern on it, and I wouldn’t want my 8′ stuffed squid to look ridiculous. “How about that one?” I asked.

“Five dollars.”

“And that one?”

“Five dollars.”

“Okay, I’ll take two yards. How much is a package of stuffing?”

“Five dollars.”

In retrospect, I should have asked for ermine.

I got home, cut the pattern out of newspaper, pinned it to the fabric, and cut out all the pieces. I pinned everything together and I pulled out my sewing machine. I put the first piece in and started up the machine. It went fwipafwipafwipafwipa. All was right with the world. As I started down the second seam, it went fwipafwipafwipaSCREEfwipaSCREEfwipaSCREECH-SCREECH-SCREECH.

I stopped.

I unscrewed the case and looked for parts that could be oiled. There were, as far as I could tell, two moving parts. I oiled them, put everything back together, and tried again. Now, not only did it screech, but the needle didn’t move up and down. I had apparently oiled something that once moved the needle through friction.

So now I have a paperweight. I’m going to have one more look at it and then find a sewing machine repair shop.

It annoys me that I can easily partition my hard disk or install more RAM on my computer, yet a machine built in 1918 has gotten the best of me.

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