I got it. I read the manual (printed from Singer's website for $5 on my corporate Amex card (and paid the payment right away)). Amazing what happens when you thread the machine correctly! See those strips of serged scrap to the left of my hand? Those are experiments in tension. The purple thread on my machine, which is the lower loop I learned, was loose and I tried and tried to tighten it. After many experiments in settings, I glanced at the tension dial and saw that the thread was not in it. So. That won't work! As soon as I popped it back in, the tension and stitches were perfect.
Baby burp cloth market - watch out!
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