I started today by biking to the thrift store for a return. I was thinking that I’d get it out of the way so I wouldn’t have to go and be tempted during No Spend September. In reality, going today just meant that I just moved the temptation up a day. But it might be a good thing that I did since I made my last pre-challenge purchase with my store credit: a Janome sewing machine for $5.
In answer to the questions that will almost certainly be asked by my mother, yes I already had a sewing machine and no I didn’t technically need another one. So why did I buy it? The price certainly factored in, as did the fact that it’s a brand known for quality. But, more than that, I’d like to do more sewing and it has features that my machine doesn’t. It was a tiny bit of a gamble because the store doesn’t have an electrical testing station. But I got it home and it seemed to do everything well except for one problem – the stitch length dial was stuck between 1 and 3 (it should go from 0 to 4) and when turned it didn’t actually change the stitch length.
Having recently spent $110 on a tuneup and repairs to my grandmother’s sewing machine and heading into a spending challenge, I wasn’t willing to put more money into a second machine when I already had a serviceable one. But I wondered whether it might be worth trying to fix the new one myself. If that didn’t work, I could always take it in for repairs when my budget was a bit more flexible. So I turned to Google, deliverer of helpful instructions, and started reading. One thing that seemed like a common fix for machines having the same issues was applying heat. Apparently, over time, machine oil combines with dust and lint and gets sticky, causing jams. Heating the oil, these sites suggested, could loosen things enough to get them moving again.
I was a bit skeptical. It seemed way too easy. But I took off the side panel, got my hair dryer, and gave it a go. After two minutes, I could turn the dial using a lot of strength. After four minutes, it turned easily and actually varied the stitch lengths. I was utterly delighted.
I know this isn’t much of a repair in the grand scheme of things (perhaps more of a “repair”), but I’m so pleased that I was able to get something that wasn’t functioning all that well back into reasonable working order. The more small actions I complete to repair things and extend their life, the more confident I become in taking on bigger and more complicated tasks. I doubt I’m ever going to be a mechanical genius or a DIY guru, but it feels good to be able to take care of little fixes as needed and saves a good bit of money and bother.