Let's start with....oh let's say...needles! Completely off the top of my head.
So I googled "how often should I change my sewing machine needle" and came across this lovely site of FAQ's: http://www.dentonsewingcenter.com/tips.htm
and their suggestion reads as follows:
Q2: How often should I change my needle?
A: Sharp needles make better looking stitches so needles should be changed fairly often to keep your stitch quality consistent. When doing machine embroidery, change needles every 10,000 stitches. This means if you are doing large embroideries, you'll need to change needles after every design to get the best possible stitch quality. In garment construction, you'll need to change needles about every third garment. In quilting, change needles after every third bobbin.
Now, admittedly, I'm no pro, but I'm thinking this is....wrong?
It shouldn't look like that right?
Well, let's compare.
Hmm...nope, that new one DEFINITELY looks less 'captain-hook-esque'.
I think we can say with some certainty, that the above is NOT correct needle form.
...So needless to say, the new one went in today. How long have I been sewing with the grotesquely bent previous needle? No idea. I just happened to notice it was that bent a few days ago by chance.
Ya know when you're sewing along, come to a large seam, and your machine goes "KA-CHUNK!!" as it hits it? No? Hm...well anyway. I have a tendency to just uh...keep pluggin' along. And that might have been what caused it. maybe. perhaps.
Oh and the above recommendation? I can't keep track of 10,000 stitches, which is what landed me here, with a bent needle. I do, however, hereby swear to be more diligent about changing my needles more frequently. ...at least every 3 months or so.
...ok ok...more often. I might even remember to do it every project. MIGHT.
Their second bit of advice?
Hmm...last time I oiled my machine. Let's think. Ok, I know I got it
Q3: How often should I oil my sewing machine/serger?
A: With constant use, you should oil your sewing machine or
serger about every 10-12 hours of use. A rule of thumb for a machine that is used less often, or used quite a bit and then left to sit for extended periods of time, is to oil it after you are through with your project, and then remember to run it every so often so that the oil is kept distributed through the machine. Of course, you never oil a computerized machine.
in 2003. So it would have been...the summer after....never.
Yup, never oiled it. Not once. Report me to the department of sewing machine neglect. Its not that I'm malicious in my lack of machine care. I'm just the victim of "self-taught" crafts, and uh...you can't teach yourself what you don't know. So it never really occurred to me to grease the thing up. But! I got a can of Pam and I'm going to do it now! (KIDDING....all you machine maintenance purists take a deep breath.)
I promise, I'll try to be better.
Especially if I get a serger for my birthday.