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Diff. tensions on wound bobbins??

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I usually use prewounds - like them much better, but I just

do not have them in every color. So I wind my own with

Bottom Line on the bobbins I purchased from APQS. The new

ones with the slots for the thread to start and such...

Anyhow - I am quilting along - doing McTavishing - using LOTS

of thread - and when I replace a bobbin the tesion is way OFF!

Very frustating and annoying! I think maybe it is this old

junky looking bobbin winder I have...... It looks like it is

mounted on an old used piece of a kitchen shelf. Yes - I know

they now sell nice new fancy looking ones.

But - is it the winder? Would it wind at such a difference to screw up the

tension? I do have one on the side of my machine - but it has

never been used. Might have to try that and see if it makes a

difference, but does anyone think this is the cause? Or could

it be a bad bobbin?

I have checked the little blue spring in my case - it is just as

before and working great. I have cleaned it out too.

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Hi Judi--

Not only can the tension vary from bobbin to bobbin, the tension can vary in one bobbin. Self-wounds for me always tighten up toward the end of the bobbin. My Towa gauge is my second-best friend! I always check the tension with the gauge--every time. It works!

Linda Rech

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Your prewounds should all be the same (paper sided)

When you wind your own they may not be would the same and it will make your tension crazy. Be sure to watch and keep the tension the same as it winds onto the bobbin. If I wind one I hold onto the thread as it is winding to be sure.

Gotta love prewounds. Fast and easy.


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Thanks for the replys - - I know that I am spoiled with the prewounds and

the ease of them - they just do not vary - I have only had a problem once

with them, must have been a wonky bobbin - which I then used in my DSM

with no problem...... so it still was not a waste,

Myrna - you know that is just what I do, as I am winding - I hold onto the

thread out from the thingy and can feel little "slubs" in the thread some-

times as it goes through my fingers. Maybe that is the problem..... I do not

have the TOWA gauge - guess I should maybe get one of those! Is that

something that APQS sells too? I'll have to check into it.....

Again - thanks! Thought I was loosing it - or that my machine was being

possesed by some nasty anti-tension spook!

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What type of thread are you using that you are feeling slubs?

I know a lot of quilters love the Towa gauge. I don' t find that I need it. One thing you can do, after winding a bobbin use you fingernail or finger tip and push on the thread if it feels spongy it is not going to give you good tension. Unwind, toss the thread and start again.

I find that I set my bobbin case for the thread I am using. Then any adjustments that need to be made should be made at the top tensioner. I have a bobbin case for perwounds, one for winding metal and one for decorative thread like Razzle Dazzle. Then I don't need to worry about them. Before I start quilting I check my tension on my cheater piece quilt sandwich, make any adjustments and I am ready to quilt. I don't have to worry about my bobbin tension again. Changing top threads may cause need to adjust the top tension. ( I try to have a cheater piece with the same type of batting I am using in the quilt) Don't have your quilt top too tight as this will cause tension issues.

Check your bobbin case once in awhile to be sure you do not have lint built up under where your thread goes under the little spring. If you are using threads that have slubs or very linty cottons this can happen quilted often. I use a plastic tooth pick to get it out.


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Bottom Line - The dark purple...... it is going much better now. It is just

frustrating when using same kind of thread - same kind of bobbins - and

then all of a sudden things change - even like Linda said - Sometimes with

in the SAME bobbin - tension changes.

I do have the cheater piece off to the side and when starting or changing

threads I do a double-check. I just don't have to do that between bobbins

usually - but I think I better with the bobbins that I wind......I am ripping

out my "eyelashes" today..... Thankfully my husband brought me up a bar

stool that is the perfect height, and I have now gotton to the end of the

top, so I can easily unzip one end and toss it over to see the backing well.

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Yes I did.... I am using Bottom Line on top too - it is as tight as I can go

with out it breaking. At the usuall spot I have it...... was perfect - just with

putting in another / different bobbin - things went wacky. Went back to

the end of the last bobbin - perfect again..... Tried another new bobbin and

it was fine. It is too easy to assume all is well , quilt along, then look back

later and ooops!!!!!! Grrr...... eyelashes..... at least they are quick and easy

to rip and clean-up - thats my good side to it all.

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  • 3 months later...

I am experiencing the same problem. Using bottom line on top and bobbin. Was getting eyelashes on the bottom, so I tightened my top tension. Now everything seems too tight, and top thread is breaking. I decided to look at it again in the morning. Maybe I need to loosen both bobbin and top?

I hope I can work this out, as I have just ordered 6 cones of Bottom Line to get my business started. Plan to use it for top and bottom.

I am using a wool blanket for my batting. Could this be contributing to my difficulty? It is very heavy.

Advice is welcome. I am learning every day.



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Karol - stick with it, Bottom line is a great thread. I am using it right now

doing small feather wreaths, SID and a tiny meander. I usually use a pre-

wound bobbin, as I am now. This thread is very fine just like bottom line,

but on the prewounds, they get SO much more thread!

Like you said, try again in the morning. Make sure you have a good needle

in too, sometimes just change that to try it.....

Let us know how it goes! Good luck!

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