Thud. Thud. That's sewing machine for "Clean me please!". I finally registered that my machine was thudding along with every stitch. First step, I replaced the needle, since I had not changed it since I bought the machine. That definitely lessened the thudding.
Then someone walked by and asked if I had cleaned it recently. Well that reminded me that I was going to clean it out the other day, but didn't have a screw driver handy to remove the stitch plate. So I borrowed one from another quilter, and went to work. I had to dig out the fluff from between the feed dogs with my seam ripper it was so well embedded in there.
What a difference! The fabric is now feeding smoothly over the feed dogs, it's not chewing up the beginning of my seams, and doesn't need encouragement to get over bulky points. Now I guess I should figure out if this machine needs oil.