I Pledge Allegiance to…

Flower-head pins

Flower-head pins

I’ve always been partial to flower-head pins, and I admit it’s mostly because they’re pretty. Other things I like about them are that they’re easy to see when they fall on a hard floor, and when they fall on a carpet the flower acts like a helicopter rudder and the pin lands point down in the pile. My feet are ever so grateful.

Flower-head pins are more expensive and are more easily bent than dressmaker pins or pins with ball heads, which is why I have more ball-head than flower-head pins in my pincushion.

Last night  I was machine sewing a pinned quilt seam and like a responsible sewist I removed each pin before it reached the needle. The discarded pins lay on the free arm as I stitched. How many times have I done that? Hundreds. But last night was the first time a pin fell down one of the holes to the right of the throat plate (see below).  A ball-head pin. I couldn’t believe it. Just the little point stuck out by maybe a millimetre or two.

The offending hole is the right-most hole in

The offending hole is the right-most hole. You can see how the ball head would fit perfectly into that tunnel. Visible in the left-hand photo: a clear acrylic sheet that allows me to keep my machine flush with the sewing table’s surface.

Eyebrow tweezers only managed to push the pin deeper into the hole (the machine was unplugged). Next I took apart the bobbin casing and felt around with the little machine-dusting brush. All I got for my effort was a brush saturated in oil.

Thinking I had no other option (it was Saturday night of a long weekend and no hope of speaking to the dealer until Tuesday) I decided to trust in gravity. I turned the whole machine upside down and shook. Ah, now the point of the pin was visible so I grabbed my serger tweezers. While I can’t say I did a beautiful extraction with the tweezers, I did disturb the pin enough that it just fell out.

Did I do any permanent damage? I turned on the machine and while it seemed to sew alright it made an awful noise. After a few rounds of fussing and sweating I noticed the bobbin winder was on. Earth to Suzanna…

What a lesson. Now I solemnly swear I will only use flower-head pins near my sewing machine.