Wednesday, February 13, 2008

#173 - An Eco-Friendly Blow Job

Not What You Think

First off, my apologies to all of you porn-surfers who accidentally clicked on this link from your Google results. An eco-post about dust removal is probably not what you were looking for. And if it is, well, my condolences to you.

What this post is actually about is maintaining my sewing equipment. Spring orders are starting to pour in at The Very Merry Seamstress and the serger and sewing machine both require weekly blow-outs to keep them from jamming up. If you're not much into sewing let me give you the technical low down on what happens.

Every time I sew a garment, little bits of fiber, similar to dryer lint, come off the fabric and get lodged in the myriad of tiny gears and other internal mechanisms of the machine. After five or six straight hours of sewing, the machines start to bear a striking resemblance to a Persian cat.


It would be im-freakin-possible to try to pull this fuzz off all the itty-bitty nooks and crannies with my fingers, so the only efficient way to remove it is by blowing it out.

And not by leaning in and giving a blow. First off, I smoked for 15 years so I can't exhale hard enough and I would pass out long before the machine was unclogged. Secondly, blowing straight at the machine often results in ME bearing a striking resemblance to a Persian cat (don't ask how I know).

So my "blow" of choice up until now has been this stuff:


Yup, bottled, compressed air. You've seen it. It's in craft stores, office supply stores, big box stores... pretty much anywhere you shop. It's used by seamstresses, crafters, PC techs, bored adolescents, etc. One bottle generally lasts me about two or three months. Then it gets tossed and I have to pay another $6 to buy more air in a new container. This isn't just bad for the environment, it's bad for my balance sheet.

Well I've been racking my brain for a month now, trying to come up with a viable alternative - hopefully utilzing something I already own. So yesterday I hit the garage - land of power tools, excercise equipment, camping gear and sports stuff - but no car (afterall, where would it fit?).

The first find was hubby's air compressor that he uses for his really cool tools, like nail guns and such. But that thing is so heavy and loud, I really wouldn't want to drag it upstairs once a week. So then I headed over to our camping gear and sport stuff and found two great alternatives - a manual pump for inflating our camping mattresses and a little hand pump that we have for blowing up soccer balls and what not. I tried them and they both work like a charm!

So, that's four points for checking my own house before hitting the store to buy something new. PLUS, six additional bonus points for tricking the porn crowd into learning a little something about environmentalism.


Savings:

Approximately six cans of compressed air per year. Over the course of a sewing lifetime, that could easily add up to hundreds of cans!


Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

Devising a solution took a bit of noodle power and wading through the piles of garage crap was work-like, but implementing the change was easy peasy. Plus, the new blowers give the kids something to play with while I sew. You know, other than the pin cushion and scissors I usually give them.

18 comments:

Mary Elizabeth said...

I love this idea! Thanks!

It'll help with my sewing machine. And certainly with my serger that I got 2 weeks ago and have been afraid to try and learn to use for fear of failure (yes, terribly ridiculously self defeatist) - come hold my hand!;)

Burbanmom said...

M.E., Do NOT fear the serger! It will become your best friend ever!!! Trust me.

One tip, though. When it comes time to re-thread it, be sure to undo all the threads and re-thread them in order (1,2,3,4). Otherwise, you'll be pulling your hiar out wondering why the damn thing doesn't work.

Wendy said...

I don't sew enough to need to clean out my sewing machine often, and so buying a bottle of compressed air would actually be a waste of money. I do, however, have camping gear and a couple of hand pumps. This was a great idea!

But, what makes you think the porn crowd isn't already into environmentalism?

Anonymous said...

Another tool you could use: If you have a hand vac with a hose, you can also put the hose on the other end of the vac-- this will make it blow instead of suck.

FWIW. Kellie

gregra&gar said...

Clever girl. Tittilating title and efficient elimination.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Holy moley, that's funny, I've been to your sewing site (Very Merry Seamstress) before - like a year or so ago, looking for some Regency thing.

Brian said...

I had a true moment of Valentine's Day happiness for your husband...and then I read the post...

Good idea though...wonder if an empty, squeeze detergent bottle would work too? I'll have to give it a try on my machine...although, I'm mainly blowing dust out of it, not fabric fibers.

leslie said...

I am hyperventilating trying to think of something ribald to say in all the possible places. The hyperventilating could work for the lint, couldn't it?

Green Bean said...

Hee hee. You naughty girl! Naughtier because you got the men all in a tizzy and then they realized it was about, sigh, sewing.

just ducky said...

Tricking the porn crowd--whether they are already into environmentalism or not--is hysterically funny.

My first thought was..."Oh crap! I'm reading this at work...I'm soooo getting written up by security for this" But then I quickly felt relieved that I could explain it all away as "researching sewing techniques while I'm on my break" since I have asked for a sewing machine for my birthday...but I'm not on break...well not a real break...it's kind of a quick mental rest type of break...Fine! I'll go back to work now...are you all happy? :)

Chile said...

LOL, just today, I gave my spice grinder a blow job! I'm lucky, though, as my sweetie has a small air compressor used for model painting and it's not nearly as loud as a full-size one. I'll have to fetch the air mattress manual pump, though, and see if that would work just as well. Great idea!

Ally said...

I'm new to your site, and just wanted to say hello, and that I enjoyed this post. Very funny, creative and useful!

Burbanmom said...

Chile, Welcome! I just started reading back on your blog this week. Looking forward to participating in your next challenge too :-) But I gotta say, even when taking in context, the phrase "I gave my spice grinder a blow job" still conjures up an.... interesting image! You REALLY like to cook, don't you?!?!?

Ally, Hello back at you! Welcome to Going Green, settle in and relax, although we're serious about living lightly, we're also gonna have some fun doing it! :-)

Chile said...

LOL, yes. I like to cook. And today I ground, let's see, 4 or 5 different things in the spice grinder...none of which had compatible flavors. Thorough cleaning a must.

And no need to wait for the next challenge. Jump in on the current one if you want. There are still 16 days left in the month. ;-)

organicneedle said...

Great post. My machine is in for a special treat tonight. She has been very cranky and I think the hand pump is just what she needs. Any mood music suggestions?

organicneedle said...

Great post. My machine is in for a special treat tonight. She has been very cranky and I think the hand pump is just what she needs. Any mood music suggestions?

Burbanmom said...

Organicneedle, Might I suggest "I'm sew into you" by Aaliyah. or maybe or "She's My Ever Lovin' Machine" by Bobby Bare.

If all else fails, you can't go wrong with Dave Mathews. ;-) Who can resist "Crush"?

Anonymous said...

wheres the porn damnit?