Thursday, October 15, 2015

Free Motion Quilting: Trouble Shooting

Today, I made sure to prioritize my quilting to be done early in the day instead of letting everything else push it to the side. So proud of myself too for putting this project at the top of my list of things to do. I should knock out this section quickly....stitching along and....


Snarly messes of top thread. Ugh.

I got stubborn and kept stitching here and it went back to good stitches!

I have this issue every once in a while. Still haven't solved it. Can't get the machine to do it when I take it to the dealer (had the same issue on my old machine too) and my hubby who is pretty knowledgeable when it comes to sewing machines can't quite figure it out either.

Can you see the loop of top thread going around the bobbin thread?

I have two theories:

  1. The needle is piercing the 'working' thread as the stitch is being formed. The working thread is the length of thread that is pulled around the bobbin case with each thread. Any one point on the thread gets pulled down into the bobbin case many times before finally laid down as a stitch. I try to avoid this by not stitching directly backward (pulling quilt towards myself). But this usually results in broken thread.
  2. The plies of top thread for some reason are coming apart and the hook is grabbing only part of the thread to form a stitch. I used to think this was only with a thick thread and maybe my hook was damaged or just a tiny bit out of time. But, no damage, and this issue comes and goes with no rhyme or reason and with different threads.
It's very annoying. Most of the time, the thread doesn't break. The stitches look awful for a bit and will most of the time straighten itself out and I could keep stitching. In fact, I even shot a video of this for you, but Youtube is loading slow for me tonight. This is the same thread and quilt that I've been quilting on with no issues for quite some time.

After shooting the video, I turned my machine off and did something else for an hour or so. When I started stitching again, there was absolutely no issues. Go figure.

Using quality polyester thread- a little slippery, maybe a thread net would help. I even spooled off several meters in case the thread was defective. Threaded properly, tension good in between episodes, and I'm experienced enough to not have issues to to jerky hands. Good needle, etc.

Just goes to show that even when you're an experienced quilter, things still go wrong now and then. So if you are just starting, don't give up when having trouble. Change a setting, thread, needle, tension, foot height, etc. and see if that helps. But sometimes this free motion quilting is just so different from the sewing that these machines were designed to do, that you might have occasional mystery issues.

18 comments:

  1. If it's a Superior Thread product try calling them. I've been amazed at how they can solve true mystery issues over the phone.

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  2. If it's a Superior Thread product try calling them. I've been amazed at how they can solve true mystery issues over the phone.

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  3. I have had the identical mystery happening occur with my stitching. It doesn't seem to matter which direction I'm stitching or combination of thread used. I just do a bit of "frogging" and move on!!!! Ahhhhhh......the mysteries of life!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Yep. Sometimes you've just got to decide you're not meant to quilt at that moment. Then you come back and all is fine!

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  4. My usual culprit when this happens is lint! That's why it will work its self out if I continue to stitch. If its the thread slipping out of the tension disk....it will not correct until I stop and refloss.

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  5. Replies
    1. Celeste, it's a lite weight net that you put over your big spool of thread. FYI. I go to my big grocery store where they have flowers. Some flowers come with a little netting over them. And I ask for them..free. They don't last a long time. But I keep getting new ones. Hope that helps.

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  6. I have this happen with my longarm. I found that if I put a small piece of batting at the first thread bar hook just after the thread leaves the spool helps quite a bit.

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    1. Patty, I was actually thinking of doing this earlier. Then it 'fixed' itself. It would give just a little extra tension to take the curl from the cone off.

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  7. I have had the same issue on my Janome 6600 when using isacord thread and like you it won't happen when I take it to the dealer. Although it seem to clear up after its yearly maintenance.

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  8. Our machines do have personalities don't they? I have a 6600 also and have seen this occasionally when I (or my machine) needs to take a break. Sometimes I use the break to open it up and do a little cleaning...then the problem will magically disappear...sometimes...

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  9. I see this issue periodically on the longarm, and it tends to happen when there is gunk in the bobbin case. Not helpful unliess you know when the bobbin will release fuzz from below, but just my observation.

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  10. Amy, I have been experiencing this problem with poly thread on my Janome 8900. I think I figured out the magic combo for my machine after a bunch of frustration! First, the suggest of using the net - that helped but did not eliminate it. Then I tried using a 50 wt poly in the bobbin - it works!! I haven't quilted an entire quilt, but I am starting one tomorrow :) If you would like some pictures of my tests, let me know, I'd be happy to send them! Thank you for the net suggestion, I think the added tension when coming off the cone really makes a difference :)

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  11. My bobbin used to experiences just enough friction to not spin smoothly -- possibly caused by lint -- then it would release and spin too quickly and thread loops would form, or tension would be off. I now use teflon washers in the bobbin case and the problems have nearly disappeared. Keeping the bobbin area cleaned of lint is still important for me.

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  12. I was having this problem on my 1600P...it IS annoying. I had tried everything. Like you, I thought it was the thicker thread. I dealt with it for years, then, one day, all Hell broke loose and it would do it about every 10 minutes! Ultimately, I think I had a burr on my needle bar, but after years, it had progressed to a "fatigue" spot if you will. The needle bar actually was on the verge of breaking. I think the original trouble came from a burr, I. Just guessing, because when the bar got to the point of being cracked, it was much more frequent. The thread was not always hitting the spot, but when it did, if it had just barely scathed it, the thread would shred, sip and pile up on the quilt top, then after a small 2-3 inch icky, would continue to stitch as normal. I can't even recall how I discovered the needle bar crack, but I know I had been at my wits end ripping my hair (and stitches) out. And a new needle bar was just two bucks and one screw. Just a thought.

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  13. Look at Renea Quilts videos on YouTube regarding needle timing. That may be the issue. She is my longarm machine go-to person, but the same info applies to any sewing machine!

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