Ahhh. Sigh. Deep breath. Inhale slowly....exhale slowly. This is what I have been doing for the past 24ish hours to keep myself sane. I took the machine to the Singer repair shop in town and I knew I had problems the moment I saw the look on the guys face when I uncovered my machine and he saw what model it was. Apparently Singer just started with these "bottom of the line" machines and they aren't even made by Singer -- they are made FOR Singer in... you guessed it...CHINA. Basically they are pieces of crap and everyone is having serious issues with them. All the parts for them are made in China too. Yay. It would cost me $69 plus the cost of parts to have it repaired (every single time it needs repairing!) so if I have to have it serviced twice (which is very likely) I would have spent as much repairing it as I paid for the piece of crap in the first place! Enter deep breaths and Excedrin.
This was a very teachable moment for me. I have learned the importance of research. I spent all of last night and this morning reading reviews of machines and testing them out at the shop and decided to purchase a new Singer CG-500. There is nothing fancy about it - no 2,394,812 stitches or bells and whistles - but it is COMMERCIAL grade and is what is used in schools so it is made to run 6+ hours a day and last for 25+ years. Surely this can handle my sewing. Surely. Please Lord! Also - the base is metal and it reminds me a lot of the the machine I learned how to sew on (my mom's 1970-something old hoopty) so I feel comfortable with it already.