First things first! Holly and Karen won the On-The-Go Pattern giveaway! The patterns are in your inbox ladies!
Ok now to hiccups...
I borrowed my mom's serger way back when and dragged it out this weekend. I even remembered how to thread it, but somehow when I started sewing the tension was just all wrong. The tension on the back was really loose. See bottom row of stitching above. Stop! Re-thread. Same results.
Stop! Search online for serger help. I didn't know exactly what the problem was, but thought that the tension must be off. Make It Handmade had a great explanation of serger tension! From her color coded pictures I learned which stitch was which on my machine: left and right needles, upper looper, lower looper. Very helpful when you don't know your business!
Since my loopers were meeting at the edge, it seemed that my left and right needle tension was the problem. I made small adjustments, tightening the tension a little at a time. Only by the time the tension was cranked up all the way (which seemed a little fishy anyway) there was still no change in the stitching. It was all loose and loopy in the back.
After about an hour of adjusting, frustration was setting in. I stepped away for a while for dinner, then searched online for the manual. I found it and tried everything it suggested in the tension area. No results. I was about to give up until my mom got back in town, but thought I'd finish reading the rest of the manual to see if I could find anything that would help. On the very last page of the manual (of course!) I came to one little tip under troubleshooting:
Problem: Poor stitch formation (That's me!)
Cause: Thread is not wound correctly around tension dials.
Hmmm... I went back to the machine. Sure enough, I hadn't pulled the thread tight enough around the knobs of the left and right needles. Pulled them into the tension disks, tested, and success! See top line of stitching in first picture. I'm off to the races!