Monday, June 1, 2009

Quilting Frustration

I have been trying to free motion quilt this on my sewing machine. hmmmm it isn't working. The thread keeps breaking and knotting up with the bobbin thread and I don't have quilt enough room to do the spiral design I want. See here it is making birds nest. I have put in a new needle and re threaded everything over and over again, Plus it is hot! So I'm going to put it aside for another day and then figure it out.
Maybe I will just quilt it by hand! ARRRGGG! lol

I got a nice surprise in the mail today. I had forgotten about a give a way I won from Quilting on a budget. I love this blog so my wonderful ways to save $$$.

This is a good magazine. So my great ideas for space saving and organizing in my sewing cave.


  1. I'm sorry you're having such a problem quilting your beautiful pinwheel quilt. If I were there, I'd figure it out for you! I zoomed in to look at your stitches to get a better idea. Either you need to adjust your bobbin tension, or this is the thread you are using causing your problems.

    Try to think of the last thing you quilted where you didn't have this problem, and load that thread into your machine and try your spirals on a practice sandwich. That will tell you right away if it's just a thread issue, anyway.

    If it is, stick with the thread type/brand that isn't giving you the problem (it's easier than having to readjust all your tension settings just for another kind of thread). Outside of that, you may have to slightly adjust the screw on your bobbin casing to get better tension there.

    One more idea, is to make sure your feed dogs aren't packed with any lint which can also get gnarly.

    Hope that helps! It's such a great quilt. I would love to quilt one like this!

  2. I too zoomed in on your pictures. Sorry, for your trouble. Clean & oil your machine first. Looks like you are using a shiny rayon type thread?? Are you? Need to use a cotton better.

    The top tension looks too loose, tighten it up a bit then keep testing it on a practice sandwich until tension is better. Sometimes with lots & lots of sewing and vibrations & age of machine, we have to adjust the bottom screw on bobbin case, too....but don't do this unless absolutely necessary.

    The very best way to check tension is to do a wide zig zag stitch on practice fabric...look at both sides. You want "z" to be the same on both sides...with little "dots" at points and perfectly even on both sides. Put 2 different colors of thread in machine, as it's easier to see the "dots" that way.

    Is this done "free motion" with feed dogs down?? When you start, bring bobbin thread up to the top to hold in left hand for first few stitches...then stop and trim it.

    Don't let quilt "hang" down...even if you have to put a chair or your ironing board beside table to "hold it up"...that puts weird tension on stitches too.

    Yup....the best thing to do is to set it aside until another day...and work on something else. Email me if you need any more suggestions, as I used to repair machines where I worked.

    Good Luck.

  3. If all a person does on their machine is straight stitching, zig zags, and decorative stitching, you may never have to adjust that tension in the bobbin case except if it has had lots of sewing time, vibration and age.

    However, having taught free motion quilting, and read any number of books from quilters who are internationally known for their quilting, I can assure you that you may have to adjust that tension in the bobbin case more than once to get the stitching right for machine quilting. I actually prefer a a particular brand of poly thread that quilts like a silk thread, but have had beautiful results from rayon, too. Cotton is actually my last choice for quilting! For rayon and poly, look for a lower number wt..(a 40 wt. is good). For natural fibers such as cotton or silk, go for a higher number (60 wt or better).

    Once you get the tension and machine settings right, make a note of those settings. Some people even have a separate bobbin case just for machine quilting. And if you find a particular brand that quilts up better than others, stick with it.

    And sorry, this does not look like a top thread tension problem at all. It's the easiest thing to correct, but almost never the problem.

  4. First, I'm delighted you liked the magazine from my Give Away. But more important, I agree with those who have said you probably need to adjust the bobbin tension for your quilting. If you can, use a bobbin strictly for quilting (mark it with a dab of nail polish or a colored sharpie so you don't get it mixed up with others) and another for regular sewing. Then you don't have to keep readjusting every time you quilt. Lastly, practice practice practice! I usually practice two to three hours on quilt sandwiches before sitting down to do serious free motion quilting. Good luck! Joan

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