• Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Reputation Activity

  1. Upvote
    LoisSietsma reacted to mark in Safe to Buff "Mitten Thumb" of Hook Assembly?   
    Yes, you can buff that "thumb" area like Meg said with some fine emery cloth.  Really you can buff anywhere on that hook assembly except for the very tip of the open scissors point.  That is the hook point and is sharp so that it can pick the thread from the needle to make the stitch.  Let us know if you need anything else.   
  2. Upvote
    LoisSietsma reacted to DawnCavanaugh in APQS Closed Monday for Annual Community Service Day   
    Hi Everyone,
    At APQS, family is a top priority, which is why you become part of our extended family when you buy one of our longarm quilting machines. We’re closing the factory for one day on Monday, October 14th so we can help another local family make a home together. APQS employees will spend the day painting a house for the Habitat for Humanity. We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, October 15th.
    Of course if it's a "quilt emergency" just send me an email to dawn@apqs.com and I'll try to sneek a few peeks at my email during painting breaks.
    As always, thanks for your continued support of APQS and our entire quilting family!
  3. Upvote
    LoisSietsma reacted to DawnCavanaugh in Pulling my hair out....frustrated...HELP!   
    If the stitches are skipping still at this point, check these things first:
    1. Check for hook shaft collar play before you do anything else. Over time the bushing behind the hook shaft collar wears down enough to create just enough "in and out" play behind that collar. That, in turn, allows the entire hook assembly to slightly move forward and backward as it rotates and this can cause skipped stitches. Use this attached document to check:
    Hook Shaft Collar adjust.pdf
    2. Next, if you're still skipping, check the needle depth once more. You should see the entire needle eye and a smidge of silver above the eye only. If that looks good, move on to step 3:
    3. Mark a new needle so you can really see the hook rotation. Use a thin point sharpie marker and put a mark right in the middle of the scarf (divide it in half from top to bottom). Then add another mark below that, just at the bottom of the scarf where the needle starts to bend back again. Now rotate the fly wheel and check the clearance of the hook behind the needle again, and make sure the tip passes between your marks. If it's hard to see, put a white piece of paper on the opposite side of the needle so you can see better. It will act like a backdrop and help illuminate the area better.
    If the needle passes at the top mark or higher, then the hook's getting to the needle too soon. With a little luck you won't need to start by removing the hook again. Loosen the screws on the hook assembly, HOLD the fly wheel so the needle doesn't move, and then grab the back of the hook where the screws are and turn the hook clockwise (which will make the point get there a little later.)
    If the needle passes low on the scarf, too near the bottom mark or below it, then the hook point is getting to the needle too late. Hold the fly wheel again, but in this case loosen the screws and turn the hook assembly counter-clockwise so the point gets there quicker.
    When you have the rotation just right (passing between the two marks), then tighten the only screw that you can see on the hook assembly only a little, little bit. You only want it to hold on enough so that you can now adjust how close the hook is to the needle.
    4. Now to the part that is most likely still causing your trouble....if you're still getting skipped stitches, the hook can't find the loop of thread created behind the needle because the hook's too far away from the needle. Put that piece of paper on the opposite side of the needle where you're looking again so you can really see if there is space between the the hook and the needle. Get a magnifying glass too. Move the fly wheel back and forth ever so slightly so the hook passes by, and see if the hook pushes the needle out of the way. It absolutely must not only touch the needle but it must also bump it.  
    When you start moving the machine the needle then starts moving too, and it always moves in the opposite direction than what you're quilting. So it will skip stitches more moving to the left or pushing the machine away from you, when the needle bends to the right (and the hook's not there yet) or when the needle bends toward you when you push the machine away (increasing the gap.)
    With that one screw holding the hook in place so you don't lose the rotation, now put a screwdriver between the back of the hook and the front of the collar and twist its handle to nudge the hook more toward the needle to you get deflection. (If you overshoot and the hook really slaps the needle, use the handle of the screwdriver to tap the hook back again.) Don't get frustrated if this step takes several attempts to get deflection without a hard slap...it can take us a long time at the factory to get it just right too!
    When you think it's just right, then rotate the hook to the next screw and tighten that one just a bit. Rotate the hook around to the needle and check the deflection AND the rotation to see that they haven't changed. If they have, you'll need to readjust again. (It's possible that the screws may want to slide back into their old holes in the shaft. If they do, you're better off removing the hook, smoothing the shaft and starting again.) If the deflection and rotation haven't changed, go to the next screw and tighten it a little bit, too. Then check rotation and clearance AGAIN.
    Keep going round and round, tightening each screw and checking. If everything continues to stay aligned and the screws are pretty tight, then it's time to give them your muscle. Really tighten the two screws on the round part of the hook with muscle, but take care with the third screw that's on a flat spot on the hook, since that screw head could snap off.
    5. Finally, re-check the hook retaining finger's depth to make sure it's only 1/3 of the way into the opening in the bobbin basket. Readjust if needed.
    6. The only other thing that could affect your skipped stitches is if your needle bar has play in it from bushings that are worn. If that's the case not only the needle bends, but the needle bar holding it does too. To check that, run the machine for 10 minutes or so, and then grab the needle bar and see if it wiggles back and forth. If the bushings allow wiggle, it's possible to change them but that's a bit more involved. Let us know if you discover play and we can visit about that.
  4. Upvote
    LoisSietsma reacted to DawnCavanaugh in Superior Threads needle sale   
    Hi Everyone,
    Here's the lowdown on APQS's stand on titanium needles. First, know that some APQS owners use the titanium needle with little or no problems. However, we also have many quilters who have encountered lots of stitch quality issues using the titanium needles. The problem does relate to what Jim's said above. Titanium needles are coated up to three times during their processing...the first "dip" goes clear up the shaft. The second dip is about half way up the needle, and the third dip is just at the tip, where the needle receives the most wear. All that extra longevity at the tip of the needle unfortunately leads to another issue regarding needle flex.
    When a titanium needle flexes from the machine's movement and the needle drag on the fabric, it doesn't flex down near the tip since it's so strong. Instead, it flexes much higher up the shaft where the titanium coating is thinnest. Instead of the needle tip wiggling just a little as the hook passes behind, the entire needle shaft moves as the fabric pulls it. This can cause tension issues, looping and thread breakage (all depending on how tightly your machine was timed in the first place.) Since timing is done by human eye, even slight variances in needle deflection can make a big difference when the needle is very stiff.
    The other potential danger is the damage that can happen to a hook assembly if and when a titanium needle breaks. Since its weakest point is so high up the shaft, it doesn't break near the tip like steel needles do. This leaves a very, very long piece of needle to fly around inside the bobbin area and possibly get caught in the hook. While it's possible for a steel needle to jam a hook, it's much more common for the tip to get sheared off and the hook keeps going (albeit with a dandy scratch that needs attention:)). But a titanium needle tip more often gets caught in the hook and causes a jam, increasing the risk of permanent damage to the hook. If the jam is particularly bad, it's also possible to strip the gears in the gearbox before the machine's fuse blows from the motor binding under the needle jam.
    Because of these possible risks, we recommend steel needles instead of titanium needles. In Jim's case, since he's got an M (oversized) hook assembly in his Ultimate II, it's possible that its larger size reduces the risk of needle jamming as compared to an L (SmartBobbin) size hook. I guess we're just overly cautious when it comes to the damage that could happen in the event of a needle jam, and because we've had so many customers with stitch quality and tension issues after trying them, we steer people toward the steel needles for best results.
  5. Upvote
    LoisSietsma got a reaction from Beachside Quilter in Timing your APQS Machine   
    Tracye, don't put it off, you will be glad when you have checked the timing on your machine. I was having the same problems you describe. I had a slight amount of hook shaft collar play ( very easy to fix, see Dawn's PDF file). That still did not correct my problems, so I "bit the bullet," watched the timing video and printed off the timing instructions. Piece of cake. Easy to do, a little time consuming, and you do have to contortion your body around and under the machine, but so worth it. I'm back to quilting being a joy that I look forward to every day! APQS instructions are the best.....easy to follow and accompanied by good pictures. Love my machine again! Thanks APQS, thanks Dawn!!!
  6. Upvote
    LoisSietsma reacted to Dyan in Chuckle for the day....   
    e3b27092ccb3a48308b06fa27be8c344[1] by DyanCT, on Flickr
  7. Upvote
    LoisSietsma reacted to DawnCavanaugh in Hook question for Dawn or Mark   
    Hi Jim,
    Judging the life span of a hook assembly can be tough, because it does depend on the machine's use and other factors such as needle size and even thread (not to mention how well the hook is cleaned and maintained.)
    The very tip of the hook strikes the needle with every stitch. Eventually it wears down and becomes dull, like the blade of a knife. Unfortunately you can't sharpen the tip of a hook like you can a knife. Any change in the angle or profile of the hook tip will affect how it meets the back of the needle. It could end up missing the thread altogether or can snag the thread instead of grabbing the entire loop. That will cause thread shredding and snapping. Once the hook tip is worn, the best solution is to replace the hook.
    Another part of the hook that develops wear over time is the joint between the bobbin basket and the rotating hook assembly. This is very obvious when the hook is off the machine but harder to detect when the hook is still in place. When the hook is off, if you grasp the inside "post" of the bobbin basket and give it a spin like a top, the bobbin basket should spin smoothly. A wobbly or grinding basket will cause problems.
    A person can damage the bobbin basket with a dandy needle jam, as well as the rotating hook portion.
    Signs that the hook is wearing out include inconsistent stitch quality no matter what you do with thread tension, skipping or shredding stitches even after retiming the machine (and after removing any hook shaft collar play), and/or rotational difficulty after a needle break or jam. Hooks can last several months to several years depending on use.
    Teflon and steel hooks wear at very similar rates. We prefer Teflon hooks mainly due to the reduced noise they produce, not necessarily different wear. For a period of time we were unable to get Teflon hooks from our suppliers due to vendor supply shortages down the line, so we incorporated steel hooks as necessary. They function the same. We are now back to Teflon hooks on our Smart Bobbin machines.
    I hope this helps, Jim!
  8. Upvote
    LoisSietsma reacted to DawnCavanaugh in Thread 'snapping' yet continues sewing   
    Hook Maintenance Instructions.docMarci,
    That's indicative of a burr somewhere on your hook assembly, and it's hanging on to the thread long enough to carry it around the hook another time where the needle can find it and it begins sewing again. Remove the needle plate and needle, then look down from the top into the bobbin area. Rotate your fly wheel UP on the left side of the machine so you get the correct hook rotation.
    Turn the wheel until you see a part of the silver hook assembly that resembles the thumb of a mitten on your left hand. It will be rounded. The area that might be considered the "webbing" between your thumb and palm is where a burr can hide. The needle just misses this area as it travels down, but if it deflects enough and scratches that area, you'll have a burr.
    The other part that can get a burr is the forward-facing portion of the hook's rim. Examine that very carefully. If you find a scratch or burr, rotate the hook until that rough spot faces the floor to prevent any shavings from falling into the hook. Then use fine emery cloth (found in the hardware store, often in the plumbing section) to smooth out the burr. After doing that, give the hook the heavy-duty clean with WD 40 and oil to remove any other residue.
    I've attached a "hook maintenance" document that may help. If you still have trouble, let me know!
  9. Upvote
    LoisSietsma reacted to JoAnnHoffman in Twyla's applique quilt   
    I did not outline each applique, I just stippled very close to the edge. I usually don't do stipple or meadering but this quilt just seemed to need it. I usually come up with some other kind of background fill. The stippling gives your eye some place to rest. I placed circle templates in all the open areas and marked with a blue pen. I then connected all the circles with spines. I tried to make the feathers reach as close as I could to the applique.
  10. Upvote
    LoisSietsma reacted to whitepinesquilter in Help with ideas for second memory quilt   
    Earlier this middle summer I asked for suggestions on how to quilt a memory quilt my cousin made in memory of their daughter. This quilt is the second one she made with the young lady's shirts that showed her interests in showing her family's poultry and such. The dark blocks are a deep navy blue with a tinge of a deep purple rather than pure blue. Then there is the bold bright pink, and the pink and purple mixed. You can easily see the colors of the shirts, etc., but the ones towards the bottom are fairly bright orange. In one of the navy blocks she would like me to stitch out a chicken. The others just whatever I want.
    My question is this - what color top thread would you use? I have the quilting figured out but am hung up on thread. Cousin brought over taupe backing and I offered a matching pink back I had, but she didn't want that. Batting is a higher loft batting, so using two different colors of thread front and back should be no issue. But I don't look forward to having to change top thread to match all the contrasting blocks. I was thinking of a purple that would go with all of them, or should I be thinking more than one? Variagated? This is a no charge gift to them - what do ya'll think? Thank you so much, in advance, for your suggestions!!
    I hope the picture comes out ok! When this one is finished I'll post pics of both quilts. I haven't done it before, but you all have been so generous with your suggestions and ideas and I appreciate it.