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Pulling my hair out....frustrated...HELP!

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I was having problems with my thread shredding.  Tried everything...then found out that a long arm maintenance man was going to be in my area (I live very rural area) I called him, he came over and checked a few things out.  He told me I needed a new hook assembly as everything else seemed to be okay.  So, I order one. I figure it couldn't hurt to have a new assembly since it has not been replaced since I purchased this machine used four years ago.  


 It gets here and my husband and I have installed it, timed the machine and now I have skipped stitches when I go away from myself.  There are holes under the thread, it just didn't catch with the bobbin.

We re-timed several times, re-adjusted the hook assembly, new needles, checked top and bobbin tensions, checked how tight the quilt was, tried different threads, different battings...I still get skipped stitches!!! :wacko:


I know that we have talked about this before and I have looked up anything that remotely deals with skipped stitches on this forum and we have watched the video's on hook assembly installment and timing.  We are at a total loss as to why this is happening..



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Laura:  Check the clearance between the hook and needle.  APQS says that the hook should just "touch" the needle.  Also make sure the hook passes the needle in the lower half of the needle scarf.  Take a look at the black "finger" that keeps the bobbin basket from turning as well.  It should be set so it just enters the slot.  The space between the basket body and the end of the "finger" is where the thread passes and the more space there is, the easier it is for the thread to pass by and be caught by the hook.  Good luck.  Jim

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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.


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THANK YOU SO MUCH :)   Hubby and I are going to tackle it again this morning.  Keeping fingers crossed that everything will work out okay.


Dawn... your information is really, really good and I will be keeping it for future reference!!!  Thank you so much for writing it all out for us to follow.

I think we have done a lot of what you listed already. But we will re-check things this morning and really take a close look at the hook/needle. I am thinking that the hook needs to be moved forward as the skipped stitches are happening when I move the machine away from myself. 

I will let you know how it goes.......

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 I have never had this problem (too new at this and just getting all set up!) but as a guy who restores old cars as a hobby and has to figure things out a bit I wanted to say just how fantastic APQS is in providing knowledge and service help. I am fairly mechanically oriented and decent with my hands (started life as a Neurosurgeon, after a few years became an Anesthesiologist as it was wayyyyy more family friendly!) This is the perfect example of how wonderful you folks are and why I chose an APQS over another brand of machine! Quality folks, quality product, quality service.


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Wow Dave.... what an interesting career life you have had.


Well, we are thinking it is fixed...keeping fingers crossed.  We went through a whole tab of needles though.  I am getting ready to start a pantograph to see just how things are adjusted. 


We did find out that there is about a 1/16th play in the needle bar and I am wondering if we need to order bushings?  Any thoughts on that? :huh:

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I recently sent my 2008 Millie back to the factory to have the "new" style hopping foot installed.  I had been experiencing some unspecified thread/tension issues and felt it was time to go back for a nice spa treatment.  While it was there Amy said the bushings in the needle bar needed replacing.  It works just like new now, so all is well.  I had noticed a bit of movement in the needle bar but didn't realize it was affecting my tension.

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