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Skipped top stitches

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Why would I be getting big 'toe catching' stitches on the top? I have spent all day trying to fix stitch problems, ranging from eyelashes and loops on the back, to shredding thread, to now big skipped stitches.

I've done all the traditional things - cleaned every bit of the thread path, changed needles twice, changed thread and even pulled my hair out!!

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(Long) Do you have any hair left, I don't! :(

All of the symptoms you've described usually deal with tension.

First of all, I've found that getting the bobbin tension correct is the first thing I do. And, this has been described dozens of times - something like, adjust the spring on the bobbin case until the point that, when dropped, the bobbin case will travel a few inches and stop. I find that I like the bobbin tension to be on the "light" side - that is, a little looser...

Ok, once we have the bobbin tension in place, then we begin working with the top tension device. The ONLY way I've found to really nail this is to approximate a tension and then run a "practice patch" aside from the quilt itself. I keep changing the tension until I have thread (top and bottom) meeting precisely in the "sandwich" of the three materials (top, batting, backing). Then I move over the to "real" quilt and run a few inches and double check to make sure my practice patch was correct.

OK, once that is done, you have to make sure of some other items. One is how taught the quilt is on your machine. Of course, the tighter the fabric, the more pressure your're going to place on the needle as you move about the quilting process. So, it might be necessary to not "overdo" how tight the quilt is on the machine. Sometimes, the looser the better. Again, what size needle are you using? A MR 3.0 is a rather small needle and any pressure on that needle is going to cause some residual tension issues. So, the smaller the needle, by definition, the looser the quilt needs to be on the machine. I use a MR 3.5 or MR 4.0 for most of my quilting and adjust my quilts accordingly. I just find that stretching the quilts unnecessarily doesn't work.

OK, what about your thread? A flimsy linty uneven thread is going to cause momentary uneven tension as it moves through your machine. Picky, picky - but it's true. The same for your bobbin thread.. Are you winding your own bobbins? Or are you using pre-wound bobbins? I use only pre-wound if at all possible beacuse the tension and the winding is always consistent.

Then, you've already checked the thread path - but, have you made sure that the thread is un-winding from the spool smoothly. I found, in some cases, that the thread was binding, ever-so-slightly, as it came off the spool. Or, in some cases, catching as it unwound from the "bottom" of the spool (the last wind - so to speak). I've actually returned thread spools to the manufacturer as a result of the binding issue.

Is your upper tensioner stable? That is, that it doesn't un-click or change during the quilting process. I've had that happen too. So, I ended up placing a piece of masking tape on the end of the tension device so that wouldn't happen.

Last, but not least, is your "timing" correct. That is, does the hook assembly and the needle meet and work precisely? This is very touchy. The hook assembly has to rotate and pick the thread off the needle with the utmost precision. If this operation isn't working exactly, then you will have skipped stitches. I have gone through the process of changing the hook assembly but "Mike" and "Mark" at APQS are far more qualified to assist you if, in fact, that is your problem.

Personally, I find tension to be the number one issue for me.. Hopefully, something I've said helps. Good luck...

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Yes I agree the first thing to do is get the bobbin tension correct. If you are using a pre-wound it should fall 1-2 inches when doing the yo-yo test. However a metal bobbin should fall 4-5 in.

Another thing you could try is to take a small peice of batting and put in your tension eye, right above the back cone of thread. Make sure your encoder is adjusted properly. (If you have a mill.)

Also, Your timing is very important.

Hope It's going better. Let me know if I can help in any other way.


APQS service

1-800-426-7233 ext. 6

Connie Hurst

APQS Service Mgr/Tech.

800-426-7233 ext. 6

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