I just have to say that the learning curve on sewing machines is very steep. Especially if you figure that you've got it figured out and don't bother to ask questions or read the manual. If one of the tools in my workshop were to give me this much trouble I would probably throw it out.
I started on making the bear last week. I drew out the pattern I wanted on some poster board and traced it onto the fabric. I drew in a seam allowance and pinned the two pieces of fabric together and cut it out. Then I began sewing. I got about half way up one side of the body when the problems started. I kept getting little nests of thread on the bottom of the fabric. Then the thread would break on me. Then the bobbin would stop working altogether. I tried rethreading everything. I tried rewinding a new bobbin. I tried everything I could think of and then almost threw the sewing machine out the window.
Then I decided to check out Craftster.org and see what I could find there. I found out that if you are having a problem with the bottom of the fabric then it is probably a problem with the top thread. Who would have guessed? So I rethreaded the top again. Then I read something about the tension being a too high for the material you are working with. I have never played with the tension on my machine. There is a dial in the front which I hadn't touched since I pulled it out of the box. I looked at the dial and realized it was set at 8. I looked in the manual for a guide on thread tension. There was nothing, but the pictures there for the general sewing settings showed the dial at 4. So I adjusted the tension down to 4. This was all 3 days after I almost gave up on the whole thing. It worked like a charm. I finished the bear with no problems and am now in the middle of stuffing him.
The whole thing makes me feel a little stupid. I really have to pay more attention to what I am doing. I have to start realizing that the sewing machine is a tool and deserves respect. Maybe then I can make a few more bears, because I know once my girl sees this one she's gonna want more.