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tension issues


elkayr
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I have adjusted the top & bottom tension repeatedly & totally frustrated.  Can anyone shed some light on this issue?  I never know how the tension gremlins get into my lil' quilting house when I'm away.  The last quilt I did was no problem.  I use the same thread all the time, So Fine, & the same batting, Quilter's Dream.  These are comfort quilts for my guild which have their "own set of issues" :D

back of quilt.pdf

top of quilt.pdf

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Your bobbin tension looks as though it's much too tight.  It's pulling a lot of the top thread to the back.  I'm not sure if fixing that will help with the little blip you've got in the top -- that could be something in your thread path -- do you have any grooves worn into the pigtail thread guides on your machine?  Do you have a Towa bobbin tension gauge?  If so, set that for about 20-22, then begin adjusting your top tension.  Hope that helps a bit.

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Linda:  How do you wind your bobbins?  I use a stand alone commercial bobbin winder, and have good results.

 

The TOWA gauges have 2 different scales.  The old ones have a 2 digit scale, the newer ones, a 3 digit scale.  Linda apparently has an old one (like I have), and you a newer one.  Just drop the zero on yours and it will read as Linda's. (20 = 200. 22 = 220)  I run mine a bit looser than Linda.  The method used by Jamie Wallen seems easiest.  "Spider" drop your bobbin case, then loosen your top tension so the top thread pulls to the back.  Then begin tightening the top thread until you get a stitch that suits you.  I actually set the bobbin tension in the 140-160 range and tighten the top 'til I get a stitch I like.

 

Maybe you have a problem with the bobbin/bobbin case.  I had a backlash spring in one of my bobbin cases that I just couldn't get a good setting with.  I replaced the spring and things worked OK.  Check your winder and bobbin by using the TOWA gauge.  When you pull the bobbin thread through, you should get a uniform reading.  If the needle moves more than a couple of increments, something is wrong with the bobbin case, the bobbin, or bobbin winder.  Good luck.  Jim 

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This exact thing happened to me awhile back.  APQS told me to drop my bobbin like a spider going down a web.  Then tighten my top tension as tight as it would go and stitch.  Now loosen the top thread just a bit and sew again.  Now loosen that top thread again and sew.  We probably did this 5-6 times.  At some magical point the stitches looked good both top and bottom. 

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Linda,

 

The photos indicate that your top tension is actually too loose. That's why you're getting the sloppy stitches on the surface of the quilt and the eyelashing on the back. Turn the top tension knob righty-tighty at least a full turn, maybe a turn and a half. That top thread needs more pressure on it. Don't change the bobbin until you've first tightened up that top tension quite a bit.

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thanks for all the input.  i use the turbo bobbin winder.  i usually do ok on tension, but for some reason having trouble with it right now.  i must have done something different.  anyhow, i will work on it tomorrow & let you know if i figure it out.

thanks again!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a similar problem. My bottom tension seems to be fine but my top thread does the same as Linda's photo. I get a loop or few loops once in a while throughout my top quilting. I will check my pigtails or any hangups. Hope that is all.

Terry Forlin

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just wanted to follow-up. i did finally get my tension adjusted after banging my head on the wall repeatedly. i'm nearly done with a baby quilt & all of a sudden something changed. i got under the table with my big ol' flashlight & noticed a lot of lint around the bobbin case & a little piece of lint up in the hole above the bobbin case.  i used qtips to clean around the bobbin case & used a pin to coax the lint out of the little hole. i'm thinking this was the problem, because i don't think there could have been that much lint from a partial baby quilt. i had really cleaned (i thought) the machine & oiled it & i always use can air when i change bobbins. i also check my bobbin tension everytime i change bobbins with my towa gauge.  i just wanted to share in case this might help someone else.

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