Thanks everyone for the great and kind suggestions about my machine. I also got an offer from a knitting friend to drive me and my machine over to "The Sewing Machine Hospital" where she says another friend of hers got good service for her machine. I have decided to take her up on it and now we just have to get together some time. I took this photo of the armscye of the lining to show all the threads sticking out from where they broke every few inches while sewing. It's entirely random, the thread breaking, and so it's always a shock when it happens and makes me crazy. There are only 4 threads showing in this part of the picture but the top thread broke at least 6 times while sewing around the armscye the one time (I sew around it twice and then trim the fabric close to the inner line of stitching)
In the meanwhile, I got a flyer today from Sears and they have their most basic Kenmore machine on sale this week for $149 ($30 off). That is about the same machine I started sewing with, over 30 years ago. And I only stopped using it after I just couldn't control the bobbin thread tension any more and I also thought I deserved something bigger and better. The interesting thing about my old Kenmore was that something went "snap" in the bobbin area in the first year I had it and it never really was the same afterwards. I have no idea why I never took it in for repair. Well, the first few years, I had zero money for stuff like that and it did work pretty well - you just couldn't ever topstitch on it and expect good results. Later I guess I just thought no one could do much with it. Silly, I know. Anyway, it was a good workhorse and so I am thinking about getting it again for back up for times like this, when I have to get the Singer serviced. I won't be able to sew anything fancy with it and won't do buttonholes, but it would work for the seams and all the other stuff I do. I'll think on it some more.
In the other meantime, I think I have been in a funk about several things for several reasons and I haven't been sewing or writing or anything. Today, we are having a freezing rain winter storm and after I got home from teaching this morning, I curled up on the sofa and watched the last episode of "October 1970" which I had taped the night before. I think I might be the only person watching it, because I haven't heard that anyone else is. And while it was reviewed in the paper when the first episode was due to air, nothing has been said about in the paper since. I found it very well done and if you want to know more, just type in FLQ at Wikipedia and you'll get a lot of info. It was 8 hours produced by the CBC (and maybe others) and while I would say it had that distinct Canadian tv stamp on it, it wasn't at all unwatchable. (Talk about being damned with faint praise.) I was in grade 7 and living on a military base just north of Quebec City in 1970 so I remember it pretty well.
After the show ended, I felt like it was freezing in the house but when I checked the temperature, it did say 18C (64.4F) so I thought to warm up, instead of turning up the heat, I would go up and at least iron something, if not sew. This is the "view" I discovered out my sewing room window:
Nasty stuff, freezing rain. I noticed my poor, neglected grey jacket hanging on the door and took it down to see where I had left off. I had sewed the lining to the jacket all around the edges and now I just had to turn it right side out and iron it flat. So I did that and this is how it looks, prior to hemming everything.
It's actually looking pretty good! It has a bit of a sheen to the fabric and it's a nice weight so I think I will end up wearing it quite a bit. But I will definitely have to spice it up with brightly coloured shirts. Now all I have left to do is to sew up the hems of the jacket and lining and that is all done by hand so I won't miss my machine for now. I also have to hem the pants and then lose 5 pounds so they won't be quite so snug. Grr. 10 pounds would be better. Thank goodness my husband has decided to lose some weight too - it's always easier to do when we're in it together.
The last thing for the jacket will be the buttonholes and I could do them by hand but I'd rather use the machine. Instead, while I'm waiting for my SInger to be fixed, I may cut out the wooly winter coat fabric I got a while ago. By the time I am ready to sew it, the Singer will be back, and I won't be violating my Rule about not having more than one project on the go at once.