WendyJ

aaarh, tension trouble

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I'm sorry girls, I have to get this of my chest, and I feel like crying.

I've quilted the grandmothers flower quilt and it turned out beautifully, at least at te front. I had a very hard time doing it: Thread breakage all the time, about four times a row (with king tut!!), tension issues every other flower. When I tried a practice piece, tension was alright and after a few minutes sewing it went of. Than it seemed that the upper tension needed to get tighter but again, more thread breaks. Loosening the bottum tension didn't work. I had to take out several pieces and in the end made the quilt at my best effort. I worked last night untill one in the morning to finish all the pieces I took out. The overall work was fair regarding all trouble, but because of the different thread colours, you could see some pokies and tension issues on the back.

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Well, my client did see all and wasn't pleased with the result (only on the back). We worked it out by giving a 50% discount and the promise for another 50% discount on her next quilt. She'd already brought the next quilt but doesn't trust me with it now and took it home. She is a nice but picky lady I presume and I hope she will keep her promise not to spread bad word.

That's for the client, but now what? My tension *beeps* and I really do not know what to do anymore.

I took another cone of thread, I placed another neede, I cleaned bobbinarea etc. I even took a new bobbincase. Turned the tension up and down again, cleaned the tension blades and ran out of options.

Please help (am crying now),

Thanks for reading, at least it is of my chest.


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Wendy Janssen

Millenium 2009; "practicing my way into a little business"

http://patch-and-stitch.blogspot.com/

www.patchandstitch.com

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Wendy I'm sorry for your tears! Kingtut is probably one of the hardest threads to work with, at least that is my experience. It takes really getting it down. My guess is that your thread was coming out of the tension disk. With Kingtut I find that I have to keep the bobbin thread really loose. Then only go through two of the holes in the pigtails before the tension disk. I also added a few extra thread guides on my machine that has really helped a lot. Kingtut requires a 4.0 needle. It is thicker and stronger thread. I remember the first quilt I did for a friend using it and I too had pokies on the back. Now that I've loosed my tension a lot, probably a 12 - 13 or so on the towa gauge if you use that most of my tension issues have gone away. Since you say the practice sandwich didn't have problems my guess is that your quilt sandwich had a different fabric that required some tention tweaking. I always test on the side of the quilt and make it a little tight on top with just the bottom & batting. Usually when I go to the actual quilt the tension going through the top layer balances it out and it is no longer tight. The best thing I ever did to learn my tension was to loosen the bobbin and the top completely until I had a really bad tension. Then I tightened 1 turn at a time until I could see the change to perfect. Use two different color threads so you can really see what is going on. Make sure on your test your are doing straight lines, curvy lines, sharp points and swirls so that you can see what each different direction does to your tension. You will get this it just takes lots of practice.

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Awww, Wendy!! Don't cry! Check your hopping foot. That was my problem. It was set too high at the factory. I sent Amy pictures of close ups, and she told me to drop my hopping foot so just a business card can fit under it in the lowest position. She walked me though it on the phone and it worked like a charm! So, run your foot the whole way down with the hand wheel, and slide a business card under it. If you can fit 2 cards; it's too high.

Also, if you are getting tracks on the back; your bobbin tension may be too tight; and your top not tight enough. King Tut can be a bugger, but I make mine REAL loose and keep checking on a scrap and start tightening. Some silicone or Sewers Aid on a piece of cotton batting folded into the first thread guide will help with cotton thread also.

Do I have you totally confused?? Clear as mud?? I know it will all work out! Now dry those tears! You do beautiful work! Just remember to check the back once in a while, I do after every bobbin change.


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APQS Millie aka Big Baby
www.linneamariequilts.blogspot.com
Sew Batik Associate #1361

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When I use some cones of King Tut I found I have to place a piece of batting in the thread guide directly above the cone...Dawn Cavanaugh posted about this trick a while back. Also make sure your quilt sandiwich is loose on the frame. Is your King Tut on a cone or spool?

Do a search on DawnCavanaugh and you will find many tips for using threads such as King Tut.

One of the best things I have done with my machine lately is attach the vertical cone holder to the front of my machine and I am finding I have way less top thread issues than before that I had to adjust for.


Nadia Wilson
Nadia Wilson Designs
Longarm Quilting Service
APQS Sales Rep
British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Island

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Text or phone at 250-902-9701


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Heidi has given great advise about tension. King Tut can be a stinker - I also use a thread net & Sewer's Aide - When the tension becomes slightly off again - add more Sewers Aide. I also had an experience where no matter what I did, nothing would work - changed the bobbin case and voila - all was well again, just another thought!!

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Well, the way everyone seems to love King Tut, I thought my rogue loops were just down to me!

I now use the finer Aurifil Mako 50 - I think speed may be a factor too..!

The quilt looks lovely and I bet it'll all settle in after a wash anyway.


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LINZI in Scotland x

APQS Sales Rep and Educator for the UK

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see more pics!...

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Originally posted by LinneaMarie

Yea! Heidi said it perfectly! Can you come over to my house and teach me Heidi? Bring little Maddie and we'll have a tea party!:P:P

That would be fun! Maddie is here today . I got her last night. She had a good transition too. I think it took about 3 minutes for her to start talking to me and then she talked for 3 hours! LOL I love to hear her talk. Giraffe has to be my favorite. She says, "Gee - aff" too cute. We are having a chill day today because I'm working. She is painting, coloring and watching Big red Dog. Oh and we're potty training too. She has big girl undies on!!!!!

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Ah Wendy, how upsetting. You do such beautiful work, this tension problem must have been so frustrating for you. Lots of good advice here and even Heidi's story about Maddie must have you smiling too. Good luck!


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Proud Owner of 2009 Millie

Bliss & Quiltazoid Friendly

We cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails.....

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Wendy, I think the quilt looks beautiful.

No consolation I know but you've helped a newbie quilter understand more about the trials of King Tut, thank you.

I've been having troubles too, 1 day ok the next day very different with same set up etc.

Will be using more Aurifil in future I think or other cotton if there are any others out there.

Angie


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Delighted owner of Millimae

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Dear Wendy, I am so sorry you had such a bad time with this quilt and customer. Bless your heart. You tried very hard to do a good job.

What color was the back fabric? Was it dark? The pokies might shrink back into the batting after washing it. Using cotton threads can be tricky. I have found that I have the best results with cotton thread (Signature, King Tut) if I run my top thread through all three holes on the tensioner (just before the disk) to help even out the tension, and then I go looser in the bobbin.

Re: this quilt: it could have been a number of factors. Size of needle? Batting? Sometimes odd things can give us problems. I usually use a 4.0 for the cotton threads, but you could go up to a 4.5 if you still have problems. (I need to order more 4.5 needles). Cotton thread gives a lot of lint and I tend to blow out my bobbin case, bobbin assembly and needle bar after every bobbin change, and I also oil the bobbin area more frequently, too. For some reason it works better to keep that oiled. Do you clean the bobbin area with WD40 before you start the quilt? That seems to help me avoid tension issues, too. Also, running a few beads of "Sewer's Aid" on the cone or spool will help "slick up" the cotton thread so it goes through the needle easier. If all else fails for me, I grab the Sewer's Aid bottle.

Over time, things will calm down and hurt feelings will subside. Just take this as a learning exerience. (((hugs dear friend Wendy)))


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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Wendy,

There have been a lot of posts here, so forgive me if I repeat something already said. In my opinion, grandmother's flower garden is one of the most difficult piecing patterns to quilt, because you have hundreds of small patches all stretching eight different ways, with eight tiny seams going different directions as well. Tension is going to be an issue, any way you look at it. Here's my thoughts:

Stay with tried and true thread combinations for that type of job -- I'd suggest Aurifil MAKO Cotton 40wt solid (top and bottom) or So Fine (top and bottom).

Quilt slowly, because the machine and needle will need to constantly adjust to the ups and downs of going over multiple seams in different directions.

Choose a smooth medium loft batt, such as Quilters Dream Poly Select Loft or Hobbs 80/20 Bleached.

Don't feel bad. I did 2 grandmother's flower gardens at a time when I probably didn't have enough experience to handle them. One turned out okay; the other one, the customer was polite, but I never saw her again. Live and learn.:)


Joan

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I've done to see this album occur, I found that in the album, they carry to create some materials to make it fast. The quality of the pieces has made of a great combination of color. I think that it is not fault by them, but it is the way to prove that you might to do better hence forth.

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Thank you all for your kindness and good advise. I also read a few threads with more or less the same problem. That gives me the confidence that it will pass by and that I will be very confident regarding my tension some day. I made a word-document in which I will keep all your advise as a reference.

A new costumer called today, I was frank and told her that she can bring the quilt but it will not be quilted untill all tension trouble is sorted out. I didn't touch my millenium all weekend and I'm not up to it yet. But that doesn't matter, this way I took time to clean the house.

And we had "Sinterklaas" the Dutch version of your sweet Santa. Btw, we celebrate X-mas, just without the loads of gifts in a more Christian way (we're Catholics). We give our children gifts on december 5th (and tell our children that Santaclaus is Sinterklaas's collegue in other countries, you cannot do it all on your own can you :)).

Again thank you very much for your advise and understanding.


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Wendy Janssen

Millenium 2009; "practicing my way into a little business"

http://patch-and-stitch.blogspot.com/

www.patchandstitch.com

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Hey Wendy,

I've used King Tut many times and have had no problem with it. My first advice to you is to check your thread guilds for burs in them. Then check you needle bar depth. I'm not sure what your backing looks like, but if it has little loops on it then the needle bar depth is your problem. Anyways, that my 2 cents. Take care, and I hope you cure the tension issue. zeke...............


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by the hour.........................

APQS Ultimate I/Compuquilter

Millennium

ztrbrg@yahoo.com

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Wendy, I'm new to quilting and bought King Tut not realizing it was trickier to use. So I did everything Heidi said, but my thread kept breaking too. Finally I realized that as I got more confident I was going faster, and that's when ithe thread was breaking. When I kept to a steady rhythm I never had any more problems. It was hard to do because I had feathers all over the quilt and I wanted to fly with them.

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After a week rest I loaded a quilt I needed to finish. (I didn't because of the deadline for the quilt above). Just loaded it, put Superior so fine (bobbin) and rainbows on and quilted away. NO TENSION TROUBLE whatsoever!! Build some confidence and want to share the pictures. You can see them below.

I cleaned the bobbin area again, checked the needle and hopping foot (one businesscard!).

Now I'm going to put on a practice piece, take my sheet with all your good advice and I'm going to beat the King Tut thread.

I'm still a little confused since I quilted King Tut before without any problems. Could it be the top? It will probably been a combination of factors. Anyway, I won't take in a grandmothers flower garden for a long while!

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Again thank you for your great advice and patients!


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Wendy Janssen

Millenium 2009; "practicing my way into a little business"

http://patch-and-stitch.blogspot.com/

www.patchandstitch.com

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Beautiful quilt, Wendy!! :) Forget the past and onward and upward, I say!


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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