How often do you listen to your sewing machine? I know many of us talk to our sewing machines (or curse at them), but we don’t expect them to talk back. Machines are getting smarter, but hopefully they aren’t that smart.

Regardless of whether you talk to your machine or not, it can tell you if it is running well – if you listen. Just like your car has a distinctive sound when it is tuned up, so does your sewing machine. It should be a familiar sound to you. My Viking has a gentle chugging sound.

When that chugging turns into a chunking or clanging, I know to stop, because something is amiss. In other words, my machine is creating a thread nest for me to untangle…. If I don’t stop as soon as it starts, the nest will get caught under the threadplate and my machine will give me an overload error. Removing the nest at that time, it sooo much worse.

So what causes the nesting? About 90% of the time, the thread has slipped off the thread take up lever. That is the lever that moves up and down with your needle. About 9% of the time, I have failed to pull the bottom thread up through the thread plate after changing the bobbin. The bobbin thread is caught in the bobbin case. Either way, 99% of the time, the sound means I need to rethread the machine.

About 1% of the time, there will be another issue. I say 1% and I am driving that to 0% of the time. There are those rare occasions, that my machine heeds to be cleaned. I am getting much better about cleaning each time I change the bobbin, which is why I say I am driving that to 0!

If you list to your machine, it can sometimes tell you if you have caught additional fabric in the stitching. How you ask? Listen to how hard the motor is working, it will get louder as it works harder.

Whenever my machine, sounds different, I stop and investigate. It generally saves me lots of time with my friend Jack – the seam ripper.

Happy Quilting!


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