Update on my machine: I brought my machine back to the guy who "cleaned" it 5 weeks ago. He wasn't in the shop so I explained the situation to the lady and the guy called me the next day. It was an awkward conversation but I tried to stick up for myself. The only way to truly prove he didn't clean it would be to open up the machine and see if he did the really "deep cleaning" that I paid my hard earned $70 for. He contradicted himself - saying he didn't remember my machine and later claiming he'd "fixed something specific" (not true). I am in a weird position here - he already has my money and there's a small possibility that he really did clean it - but I had to go with my gut and the opinions of three other sewers who were aghast at the amount of junk just in the bobbin case alone. I told him all of the problems I have with it and told him I wasn't in a rush to get it back - I just need to have the service I originally paid for. Not going back to him next time, obviously.
While I wait for my machine, I have been tinkering with my Elna and getting lots of cutting done. This picture shows my pieces for my rendition of the Strips and Bricks quilt: I am using 4 neutrals, 5 reds, 5 blues, and 14 grays/black & whites. The cutting and preparing of my Mendocino clam-shell quilt is going very slowly. I am doing the super circle technique to turn the edges under and it doesn't help that it's so humid and the ironing of the edges sometimes comes undone - even with lots of starch.