Don’t you just hate it…

It worked last week!…when you have a looong day of school, which you survive mainly by gritting your teeth and thinking happy thoughts about a sewing session this afternoon. And then it is finally afternoon and you tell the kids you’re locking yourself in your bedroom to sew and if there is blood or fire they must go outside and get their dad because on no account are you to be disturbed.

They gravely nod because mom is looking a teensy bit INTENSE about this relaxation time, and being intelligent children they know not to mess with you. You scurry off to the bedroom already feeling lighter-hearted because dangitall, you are going to get something DONE. Something not math. Something Christmas. Something fun.


When you sit down in front of your sewing machine and push the little pedal thingie, nothing happens. Nothing. And you wiggle the cord and check the power and check the threading and starting taking little bits off the machine to oil.  And then you start taking bigger bits off except now you’re getting concerned about the pile of screws of various sizes on the table in front of you, and you’re trying to remember which goes where.   Except you must continue, because maybe there will be something in the bowels of the machine, something red and blinking, saying touch this spot and I will spring to life and the plans for your peaceful afternoon will be restored.



And so you glumly reassemble your machine, and good news, there’s only one extra screw, and one piece that fell down in the machine that you can’t get out.  And against all hope you start praying for a miracle, one where after assembly your machine magically by God’s amazing grace springs to life, missing part and all. And you push the pedal hopefully.  Hopefully because God COULD do it.  And fearfully– because what if you put it together wrong and you get a big-ol ZAP when you push the pedal?  Your own personal lightning.  Which would be exactly what you deserve for being such a crank with your kid this morning when he/she for the 5th 10th 20-hundredth time forgot how to find the area of a rectangle.



No shock.  (Whew.)

No hum of machine.  (Dang.)

And so you regretfully let the dream of a sewing afternoon slip away through your fingers, like so much sludge.

And decide that you might as well wrap presents instead.


You decide to write this post and gripe a little first.

Don’t you just hate that?

Me too.


Mary, who is going to wrap presents now.


  1. this has me rolling on the floor with laughter!! this was me year before last..with projects for 3 kids still to finish. I borrowed a machine from a friend, which also died…..borrowed one from the center in town…which also died, thankfully only moments before I finished the last project!
    last year I borrowed a machine from a friend that was new…it worked!! I made all kinds of pretty things with no drama!! yay!

    this year I bough a new machine and serger after years of saving!! I just wish I could find some magical time in which to use the fabulous things! (clicks off line and runs up to bedroom, locks door and ceases a kid-peaceful moment!)

  2. Oh Drat it all!!!! The best laid plans, I hope your wrapping was relaxing and you are that much closer to DONE!!!

  3. Wow, your day sound a lot like mine. Maybe tomorrow will be a better one for both of us. I’m going to go take a Tylenol now.

  4. I know quite well how you feel. You may remember that I took my sewing machine with me to Taiwan in hopes of dealing better with apartment life and general loneliness in a foreign country. When we first tried to use it there, something fell out from the middle, apparently the result of shipping. I became most discouraged when it seemed I would not find a shop willing to repair it. They not only don’t speak “English”, but they don’t speak “American sewing machine.” Finally the support team found a shop that would try if I could make sure to bring the loose part. Hoping that was really the only thing wrong, I labeled every last part of it with my name and phone number and braved the streets of Taipei via taxi in unknown territory. I felt a flood of relief when it was ready and working after about a week. It was a huge blessing to have as an activity option while we were there. Of course, finding thread and zippers is a whole other story…

  5. Oh, I feel you mama! That seems to be the story of my life lately. Hmmmm… maybe God is trying to tell me something! Thanks for sharing your honesty and that even a veteran homeschooling mom like you can have those days!

  6. Jacqueline Strawder says:

    Hope you found your little piece of peace …lol!

  7. That literally describes my experience with my machine at the beginning of November. I took it in to get looked at, the guy tightened some bolt, and told me to bring it back when I have a real problem. Is a free fix worth the repairman trying to make you feel like an idiot? Maybe. Free is free.

  8. Great post! You had me hooked!! So sorry about your afternoon though! I know that feeling well..


  9. Mary Rose says:

    Wanted to tell you that I opened my new Costco cookbook and there you were~! It was kinda exciting!
    Mary Rose

  10. Sewing is relaxing!? My idea of relaxation is a white mocha and a good book. It may not happen that ofte, but I can dream:)

  11. I am sooo sorry! I hate moments like that! I hope you can find some relaxation!

  12. I’ve nicknamed my sewing machine “The Donkey” everything will hum along fine and then out of the blue it will just sit down and bray!
    Hope you can get it fixed quick!

  13. Aw, I know how you feel. I hope you have a relaxing weekend at least. : )

  14. Jennifer H. says:

    Oh no! I can relate…last night, my husband was out of town and I decided to tackle an unfinished sewing project. I’m a beginner sewer, but have a little experience with the machine. I measure, cut, and pin. I realize that I previously threaded the machine with the correct brown thread, but the bobbin is yellow. I read the instruction manual, attempting to fill a bobbin with brown thread, but it won’t work. Nada. I’ve done this before, but it won’t work today. I spent almost an hour last night trying to figure out what was wrong (but didn’t take the machine apart – I learned that with my last machine!) and didn’t get anywhere. Sadly, my husband would surely be able to figure it out, but he is out of town. The thread winds around the area where it should thread into the bobbin, but doesn’t. I sigh and start the dishes instead. Disappointing, yes?

  15. I hope you got some much needed “Mama Me Time” doing something that made you feel at peace. Happy Saturday!

  16. #1 I’m thinking you had one to many cups of coffee this morning 🙂

    #2 Sometimes you just have to stand in your closet with a pillow to your face and scream … and scream… and scream… until you feel better…

  17. dadgum.I hate it when that happens. sigh. Praying it can be fixed quick-like.

  18. So sorry. I gave up sewing long ago, except for occasional mending. And my machine doesn’t work right, either; it needs a new cord. Or maybe it needs a new self.

  19. Heidi in CA says:

    I had the SAME thing happen to me a couple of weeks ago. I took my machine in and the repairman pushed the red button on the bottom to reset it and it has been working fine since. Hope you got yours working as easily! I haven’t commented before but I love your blog.

  20. This feels so familiar. Except not with sewing. It’s one of those things where you feel like, “I know I’ll get to thankfulness soon, I know I’ll get to mercy soon…” but you *have* to just travel through the emotion (griping) first.

    I totally felt that way the other day about laundry, and everyone kept posting comments about how I should be thankful for having a washer/dryer, having kids to dirty the clothes etc. I totally understood their intent, but kinda wanted to just say:

    I’ll get there. Trust the Lord’s work in me to get me there.

    Sometimes a good gripe gets us there better than anyone’s trying to pull us there.

    OK… long comment. I’m done now.

  21. Mary,
    I am so sorry…come on over and use my sewing machine…I will make cookies, have coffee…AND I will be SURE we have some creamer!!!
    Sorry about the frustration, but I hope it still was productive and refreshing!

  22. I feel for you, my machine is in the shop right now, it’s been over a month. It just wouldn’t turn on one day so now it’s getting it’s board repaired at the factory:(, hope your has an easier fix!

  23. LOL!! It cracks me up that you also specify “blood and fire.” I always include throw up as well :)!

  24. I think today was the day to be cranky with the kids in the morning! My 4-year-old daughter wanted to make muffins – only using her own, made up recipe. Which didn’t have enough of the right stuff and a lot of the wrong stuff. Mom had a little fit. *SIGH*

    Making ornaments with the kids this afternoon helped. A lot.

    So did cleaning out the closet in the home office while they were napping. 🙂

    Hope that machine is working soon!

  25. You have just described one of my worst nightmares. =)

  26. Yes! My machine kept knotting on me last night when I tried to finally finish a Christmas project.

    (but won’t complain too loudly because it did, uh, work) Sorry about that!

  27. Jennifer H. says:

    Mary, I left a comment on Saturday about how I couldn’t wind my bobbin. Sure enough, my husband helped as soon as he got home and figured out the problem in 15 minutes! Turns out we have to do the opposite of one of the steps to wind it, but we’re ok with that! I finally got the machine sewing done on a pillow I started at the beginning of 2009. Hooray!

  28. Nicole Slack says:

    Mine died yesterday 🙁 I was sewing a dress for my daughter’s birthday present and 2 skirts for Christmas. Yep…. Horrible, Screeching death. It ate my fabric. Bye, bye old machine. I ordered a new Brother pc 420. 🙂

  29. I feel your pain. Mine doesn’t work either. I went to sew something a few weeks ago and the machine “stuck”. I didn’t have time to adjust it right then, so i just hand hemmed the pants. My youngest son (9 years old) said “Mama, can I take it apart and see if I can see anything wrong with it?” I said (in one of those not so bright mom moments) “Sure”. I thought he would just unscrew a few screws, lose interest and be done with it, but nooooooo. He took it almost completely apart. Now I have no idea how to put it back together and hubby hasn’t had time to look at it. I think it’s time to just buy a new machine. 🙂