Sewing machine dirt that is!!
When was the last time you cleaned your machine, I mean really clean it. Have you ever taken the bottom off your machine to find were all the lint is really hiding?? I'm not just talking under the bobbin case.
I learnt where all this lint is hiding a few years ago when my automatic thread cutter stopped working and I took my machine to our local Janome Dealer. When she opened up the bottom of the machine she was confronted with a monstrosity of a lint ball that was preventing my cutting blade from moving!!! Once it was cleaned out the cutting button worked just fine. ( How embarrassing!) But in my defence I had quilted about 200 quilts on this great work horse of a machine by then. I decided to buy the cutter, that she had ordered special for me, just in case I needed it later and I'm so glad I did as I finally wore out my cutter this summer.
To replace the cutter I had to take the bottom of my machine off and I found this little pile of lint, a straight pin and a broken needle. Since I only piece on this machine and have not quilted on it since I bought my longarm 3 years ago I imagine this is a small amount of lint compared to what the dealer found.
Once I cleaned out all the lint I got to work taking the cutting mechanism off the machine...not too bad of a job but when I looked a the new cutter it was made differently and had an extra adapter part! After using a bit of muscle to coax a few pieces apart I got the job done and my cutter now works great. I had my fingers cross the first time I pressed the cut button.
So now my machine is running great and sounding much better now that I fixed the cutter. It is amazing how you get use to the sound of your machine even when it isn't sounding so well.
Just ask my friends when they had to listen to my machine at a retreat a few years ago when I wore out the needle bar!! It sounded okay to me, I was use to the banging noise by then!! :)