UPDATE: Well, I guess it isn’t all the way broken. I went back and messed with it some more, and broke the needle, and after I replaced it I changed back to the regular foot, and now it’s working again. Maybe Karen (who commented below) had the right idea—the needle was bent or something? I’ll try again with the walking foot another day. This was enough excitement for one afternoon. 😉
All right, you sewing types. I’ve just messed up my machine somehow. It’s a 12-year-old Brother XR-29, decidedly non-fancy. I just put on a walking foot—first time I’ve ever changed the foot. It worked all right for a couple of practice seams, but all of a sudden the needle seemed to get stuck. I tried turning the manual knob on the side of the machine toward me but the needle would only go so far and no farther. I took out the bobbin case and then removed the removable parts that are what the bobbin slides into. (I don’t know the right names for anything and I can’t find the manual. 12 years!)
OK, so looking into the area where the bobbin goes, I can see a curved piece of metal that moves when I turn the knob/wheel on the side of the machine, the one that makes the needle go up and down. And I can see that the needle is now hitting that curved metal piece. There’s a scraped-shiny part on the curved metal piece where you can tell the needle has been scraping across it. But now it’s like the position of the needle (maybe?) has shifted ever so slightly, so that instead of merely scraping along that curved metal piece, it’s hitting the metal and therefore can’t go any farther.
Does any of this gibberish make sense to anyone? What the heck did I do?? More to the point, how do I undo it?