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I'm currently working on a quilt made with batiks and am having an issue with the needle not penetrating the fabric when performing the first securing stitch.  The area I'm having issues with is usually a corner and I realize that batiks are denser than most cottons but it almost sounds like the motor is struggling to drive the needle down.  I've also had issues with the needle up/down where I press the button and the motor sounds like it's moving the needle up and down but it doesn't.  I have to turn the machine off and back on again for it to work.  This usually happens after I've had the problem with the first securing stitch but not every time.


I searched this forum and found the videos on adjusting the needle up/down on the back of the machine but wanted to ask here first if that is what the issue might be.  I'm not having any issues once the machine starts sewing or when securing away from a seam...though the needle does hesitate sometimes. 


I'm using a 100/16 3.5 needle and 50wt Glide thread.  I've thought about switching to a thinner needle but my stitches look fine as is.


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!



2015 Freedom w/Intelliquilter







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Going with a thinner needle won't help--in fact, a bigger needle will work better. I use a 4.0 for everything unless I'm using 100 weight silk thread. Going through bulky seams at the start sometimes requires some help by turning the flywheel manually to encourage the needle through. When you hear the dreaded hummmm put pressure on the flywheel manually and in the correct direction. Dawn explained that while it's easy to plow through bulky seam intersections during regular stitching, at the start it's hard to do. Her analogy was driving a nail into wood. If you press on the nail head with the hammer, nothing happens. But if you haul back and slam it, the nail is driven into the wood. When you're at a bulky spot starting out, the needle down is like pressing the hammer on the nail. It needs more ooomph so help it along. I also recommend choosing a thinner spot to start. If you're stitching CCs needle down a quarter inch away in the direction you'll be stitching. Bring up the thread and start with a run at the intersection and backtrack out again. 

If your needle up/down is hesitating you can up the speed. I have an older machine and mine is the famous #8 screw technique. I don't know how the newer machines adjust but suspect it's easier. Check your manual for instructions on adjusting the needle up/down speed.

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Thanks for the suggestions Linda!  What you said makes sense and I was hoping that's what was happening when I heard the hmmmm.  Unfortunately I can't start away from the corners as I'm doing an orange peel design on the rings of a DWR.  I do try to start right in the seam line but don't always hit that exact spot!  I'm not having any issues when quilting the centers or footballs which start in those respective centers.  I was also worried when after it happened a couple of times that I had to turn the machine off and back on to get the needle up/down button to work again. 


I watched the video on adjusting the needle up/down and have a (hopefully not stupid) question...does increasing the speed mean the needle up/down moves faster with each press (or hold) of the button or that it goes up and down multiple times?  I thought the video mentioned that being the issue but think I misunderstood it.

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Usually the adjustment is made because the needle will cycle more than once per command. Then you adjust to slow it down. And if the needle is super slow when going down or up, it's sped up. The point is to find the sweet spot where the needle goes down fairly quickly without coming up again. It's great that we have the resources to fix so many things ourselves.

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