Sunday, 27 April 2014

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014: week 17 and tension issues

April's colour for the RSC 14 is purple
I'm afraid I only have one addition to the purple family this week:

Jacob's Ladder in purple

I've been concentrating this week on getting the quilting done on my quilt for the Triangle Quilt Along at the Sassy Quilter. (Sorry, far to many "quilts" in one sentence!)

Last weekend I posted a quilting question and got so many helpful answers. On whether or not stitching in the ditch is necessary when doing an all over pattern the consensus is: NO! Thank you all who replied. I'm gradually working through writing replies individually. I'm sorry it's taking me so long.

Yesterday, however, I had a setback:

Tension issues
I had done about 2/3 of the quilting when I saw that there were problems with the tension. I had to unpick the quilting on a section about 3'x1'. The photo shows the situation about 6" from the end, but it had been a fairly gradual transition to this from looped top stitches only in bends. They all had to come out. Actually the bottom thread was easy to rip lying on the surface like this, but it was really a chore!

Do you know what causes this?

  • I couldn't see any problems with the thread either on top of the machine or on the bobbin.
  • It seems to have started about 2' from putting in the third bobbin, which I did after parking on the edge of the quilt and removing everything, including fluff, but not oiling (I oiled and fitted a new needle before I started yesterday) 
  • When I stopped to unpick the faulty threads there was an exceptional build-up of fluff round the bobbin.
  • After cleaning and reassembling (about 4 hours later) everything functioned normally on my practice scrap. I still have to try on the quilt.
I blame the fluff, but what caused so much more fluff than otherwise? The needle maybe, but there were no stitching problems later on the practice scrap. Only time will tell.
So I'm now going to continue, but now stop after an hour to check the stitching, the bobbin and the fluff.

I would really appreciate your thoughts on this.

I'm linking up to Scraphappy for the RSC 14 and to
Stitch by Stitch for Anything Goes Mondays


Sheila said...

I like Jacob's block. Makes a beautiful quilt.
I have had tension issues once in a while with my machine when I did free motion quilting in the past. Not always, but sometimes. Then I heard a few quilters say in quilting tutorial video clips that they did not lower their feed dogs when they did free motion because their machines did better tension wise with their feed dogs in the up position. Soooo. I tried this and found that I must agree. True that is a bit of resistance moving the quilt around under the needle with the feed dogs in the up position, but it's not a big deal. I actually have more control. Basically each machine is different.
it will be interesting to read what others have to say.

jennifer caplinger said...

just a quick 2cents... if the thread "issue" is on the bottom, that means the TOP thread tension is off. sometimes, when you're quilting, (especially free motion) you can inadvertently either: #1- push up on the presser foot lever- with the bulk of your quilt- and that will throw off the top tension, or #2- lean your knee on the knee lever, (ifyou have one) which will also throw off the top tension. hope that helps!

katie z. said...

I wish I could offer some thing constructive, but I rarely find a conclusive answer for my tension problems. The only one I can ever solve is putting in the bobbin backwards!

A Quilter's Mission said...

I recommend checking out I am so impressed with her posts and easy to follow instructions.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

I'll be watching for an answer to this one.....:) Looks a lot like my sample quilting. I'm still not brave enough to go for the real quilt.

Love your purple block!

monique's mess said...

I always change my needle if it is not due to bobbin issues

Dasha said...

Fluff is caused by the type of wadding you use, and also by spray basting glue. Hate that stuff with a passion! It gunks up the working of your machine big time. And tension issues are often caused by the needle - either the wrong type, or when it needs replacing. I have a 440 too, and I find replacing the needle almost always fixes tension problems (assuming that the tension wheel has not been moved).
It is also helpful to adjust the presser foot tension. (When you turn on the machine the figure 42 appears briefly to the right of the foot symbol on the little screen. Find the instructions in your manual on how to reset this) The setting 42 is used for general sewing, but you need to lessen it for quilting.
Have you seen Leah Day's blog on Free Motion Quilting?

Quilt Musings said...

Your purple block is wonderful! I find when this happens to this extreme it is a threading or needle issue. Since you had done a good amount of quilting with the same needle without issue (and had just changed the needle), it would seem that the needle is not the issue. I would guess fluff and bobbing threading. Sewing machines are awesome but they tend to be temperamental when it comes to threading!