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Well.....I have this new Millennium, you see, and I am so frustrated with I can't even look at it ! 

 

Tension issues and bobbin issues. 

 

I see 'pokies' on back side of quilt... I have tightened the top thread tension so the pokies are gone, and now my thread breaks every 30 seconds. 

 

Moving on to the next step, I get my bobbin case out, and my bobbin won't stay in the case, so I can't do a 'drop test'... 

 

With the other stuff that went wrong this morning, I just could sit and cry. Ever get that frustrated?

 

Anyone have comments? 

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Jamie Wallen did a youtube video on how he sets the bobbin tension.  You can Google it but basically put the bobbin case in your hand and grab the thread tail and lift, the case should stand up but not lift off your hand.  That will be a little less tension than the drop test  but it works well for me.

Everyone struggles with tension in the beginning,  a month from now you will be an expert.

 

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie. Sold November 2017
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with Intellistitch & IQ.  Sold January 2019

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I'm newbie as well, and liked suggestion from Jamie Wallen's Youtube video on called Taking the Stress out of longarm quilting.  Maybe that's a place to start?  I also found I had to turn the eye of the needle very slightly left of center and it helped with the thread balance throughout the sewing path.  I too spent a LOT of time last month trying out different tension adjustments, and there's much more I have to learn, but thus far I'm having good luck with So Fine top and Bottom Line bottom, getting consistent thread balance.

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Is it normal for the bobbin to pop right out of the case?

 

Oh yeah, I'm usually chasing the bobbin across the floor when I try the drop test.

 

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie. Sold November 2017
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with Intellistitch & IQ.  Sold January 2019

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No, your bobbin should not pop out of the case.  Make sure the little metal spring thing in the bottom of the case is firmly seated.  When it is properly installed, the little tabs on the side of the spring should snap into slots in the bobbin case.  If it is  in  properly and you still have this problem, you might have to "squish" the spring a little flatter.  The bobbin should sit slightly above the case but it should not fall out. 

 

What kind of thread are you using?  Some is a lot harder to adjust tension on than others.  King Tut is a hard thread for a beginner to balance.  I still have to mess with it a great deal to get it to run without problems.

 

If it makes you feel any better, I struggled with tension for many months.  Once I found the information about having the bobbin tension much looser as Jamie Wallen suggests, I had virtually no more issues. It also solved a lot of problems when I started using Magna Glide (magnetic core) bobbins.    Your batting also plays a part.  Its harder to balance tension with the flat cotton battings than it is a flat or puffy poly batting. It does get MUCH easier the more experience you have. My machine likes the needle straight on, but try turning the needle as suggested. 

 

Yes....I've been that frustrated, more than once.  A glass of wine and dinner out might help!


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Lynn

I think she is talking about the bobbing falling out of the case when trying to do the drop test.  Mine falls out most times.

 

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie. Sold November 2017
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with Intellistitch & IQ.  Sold January 2019

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Signature is a cotton thread, I prefer not to use it.

With cotton thread I usually thread the 3 hole guide above the tension dial differently. Down into the first hole, up into the second hole, and down the third hole into the tension disc.

 I Don't wrap the thread over the side like I do for polyester threads.

 

Loosen the bobbin tension like Jamie's video, tighten the top tension until you can just see the bobbin  thread on the top, then loosen it off just a bit so the bobbin thread is in the sandwich.

Run your fingernail along the underside thread and see if you can feel any bobbles of  top thread.  It should feel smooth to the nail.

 

Your pokies may be the wadding, especially if you are using a cotton wadding.  Do you have the wadding in the correct way?  Dimples up pimples down!


Lyn Crump   Hand Guided 2013 Millenium Blissed and Gliding    APQS Sales Rep SE Qld Australia   www.busyquilting.com.au   On Facebook and Instagram as BusyQuilting


Attitude is everything - So pick a good one!

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Thanks for the tips, Lynn... The fingernail test is bumpy.... it is the top thread coming through. 

I think it's getting better, but before the pokies on the bottom are gone, there are a few pokies on top. especially in the points ... :(

 

With the bobbin coming out of the case, I don't even tug on it... it just falls out, like it is an improper fit or something. 

 

What thread do you use?

I never knew there was a 'right ond wrong' side to batting ! Wow... I will keep that in mind too !

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Do you have a different bobbin case you could try? and have you tried a differant bobbin?  Is you Millie new from APQS for did you get it from a private party?  I don't know...have you followed the threading of the machine like in the manual?  Just trying to give you some ideas.  What thread are you using in the bobbin and have you checked the threading of the bobbin?  Checked for any lint in the bobbin case?   Lin

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JoNolen I use any thread!!!!!!!    that I have in the house  except for very old or cheap threads!

 

If you are feeling bumps on the bottom you still need to tighten your top thread.  The adjustments you need to make on the top thread are in 1/4 to 1/2 turns.

 

Can you photograph the bobbin and bobbin case so we can troubleshoot it.

 

Another thing you do not need to hold the flap of the bobbin case like what was required in old Singer machines.


Lyn Crump   Hand Guided 2013 Millenium Blissed and Gliding    APQS Sales Rep SE Qld Australia   www.busyquilting.com.au   On Facebook and Instagram as BusyQuilting


Attitude is everything - So pick a good one!

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Change the needle even new needles can be the problem.  Remember to look at all the least costly parts before you go after your machine.  Take your time and breath.  Like others have said in no time you and your machine will be best friends.


Quilting Joyfully,

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Joyce Coburn

APQS Sales,Service, Training

EdgeRider Wheels Dealer

joyce@coburnsquilting.com

www.coburnsquilting.com

330-310-7346

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I never did master the bobbin drop method for bobbin tension. I struggled a lot as a newbie quilter with tension. I got a TOWA tension gauge and it helped immediately. I also tried the top thread TOWA gauge but never got it to work right (so don't buy one)! But I love, love, love, my TOWA bobbin gage. You can get one from Superior Thread or APQS.

I would give my top thread tension gauge away if anyone wanted to give it a try.


Jennifer Bernard

My quilted jackets are on a competition journey around the country

gathering pretty ribbons (sometimes)!

Quilting with my Millennium and playing with my Quiltazoid!

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I know exactly what you are going through. I have been there. I too would change needle, thread, bobbin case, bobbin. I do not use a thread stocking, instead I have a piece of batting in the guide directly above the thread cone. I also tried the method of setting tension according to Jamie Wallen but my machine prefers the bobbin drop method. I just get better tension with a little more tension on the bobbin. And yes, change the batting also, if it is thin, maybe double it. It will come. Probably the best thing you can do is to walk away for a while and come back fresh. Sorry I can't be more help but I can tell you that if I can do it, you can do it.

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I think we have all been there with the frustration but just walk away for a while and come back and I am sure things will go a lot better. I just came home from vacation and I took the thread therapy cd from Superior with me and watched it all on the way home, I never had time before, and I am so excited to practice what I learned from that. Everyone needs to watch it.

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Here is additional information regarding thread tension that will help you. Tension is affected by more than just the setting on the bobbin case and the top tension. Signature thread is a rough, "fuzzy" thread that tends to pull inconsistently through both the needle and the bobbin case. That can cause the tension to change even as you're quilting a straight line. Try a thread that is more smooth (So Fine from Superior Thread, Glide from Fil-Tec, etc.) for more consistent results.

 

The pulls you see in the points are the result of "needle whiplash" as you move in and out of the points. That thread pulls hard on the needle, so when you move in and out of a point it cause the needle to bend even further than normal, resulting in a "pull" on the thread. You can reduce that by slowing down, or going up a needle size to a 4.5 if you still want to use Signature. (By the way, that bigger needle size will also help with the inconsistencies of that thread since it will be stiffer and not as susceptible to flexing as the thread pulls through the eye of the needle.)

 

These links may help:

 

Needle Flex and Tension Video

 

APQS Product Help: Adjusting Tension

 

APQS Product Help: What Kind of Thread Should I Use?

 

Let us know how it's going! :)


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APQS Customer Service & Education Director

1-800-426-7233

dawn@apqs.com

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Holy Cow ! You guys are just awesome ! Thank you so much for the tips.  I am not going to have time today to work on it.... 'walk away, just walk away'... so that isn't a problem, lol ! 

 

I will certainly try all these wonderful tips until it gets right. I am so new that I didn't even think that the needle would flex... but.... DUH :) or course it does ! 

 

I will get back to y'all as soon as I have a chance to play around a little more. 

 

Thanks Y'all !  :)   Jo

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I agree with Dawn regarding Signature thread. Not that it is a bad thread but certainly can be challenging to get your tension set with it! If you have a smoother thread give it a try! Also a real confidencd booster might be the double batting/wadding Lyn suggested. I find it really easy to dial in perfect tension with two batts or a thicker batt as opposed to a thin one. Also use a good quality backing fabric. Hang in there! Truly the hardest part of longarming is tension!!!

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JoNolen,  lots of great advice here.  I do remember these frustrations at the beginning.  I gave away my Signature thread.  With fussing I can use King Tut but my preferred cotton thread is Aurifil 60# or 40# depending on how I want it to show.  I use the Towa bobbin gauge all the time and love it.  I was always chasing the fallen bobbin all over the studio floor!  There is one thing I didn't see mentioned but which Dawn taught me.  Make sure your quilt sandwich is loose enough.  Dawn says you should be able to push your finger up from underneath and grab it easily with your other hand.  I am always surprised by the improved stitch quality and reduced thread breaks when I loosen the quilt tension  -  along with all the other advice you have previously received.

 

Don't forget to post pictures - we loooove pictures and it's great fun and satisfying to watch as new quilters progress and grow in skills!  We've ALL been there!

 

Happy quilting - oh - and welcome!


Anne



Anne Harmon 802 876 7535 Harmony Quilts & Designs harmonyquiltsvt@gmail.com 2005 APQS Millennium Authorized APQS Dealer

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