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compuquilter tension problems


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I am having so many problems that I have quit for the evening and am taking up drinking! Here is the set - up. I have a batik quilt and batik back with Hobbs 80/20 batting. the quilt is 66" wide and I am doing an overall pantogram. the design has very dense stitching. I am using King tut on the top . I try out a sample sandwich and the stitching looks good. I start the row and check the bottom & find that the stitching looks good. All is well until about half way through the row, and I start getting tighter tension on the bottom with loops of thread from the top. About the last 1/4 of the row the loopies are more frequent, especially in one particular part of the design that is 1" letters (spelling "hole in one") and the part of the design that looks like grass around the hole in 1 flag. The first row I was using bottom line bobbin that I wound and thought the problem was the new bobbin - light weight looking aluminum?? I spent 2 hrs taking out stitches as it was too bad to leave in. I re-started the program and stitched out the rest of the row still using Bottom line but in a different bobbin. It looked better but still tight tension and some loopies. So then I changed to a bobbin of so fine thread - again the same problem - starts out good and then about 1/2 way through and loopies start and by the end they are in every section of the design that has the small pattern. On the third row I changed needles - although it was new - still using so fine in the bobbin and the same problem occurs - I have a pre-wound in sage green and now wonder how many different colors of bobbin threads I can use on the back. I would consider taking out all of the stitches and starting over as this customer has big potential for recommending other customers, but am worried about the number of holes I will be making in the quilt. Wondering if it will cause more problems than I have now?

I appreciate all the advice and sympathy I can get!

Susie Q

Quilting with Love

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Hi Suzie Q

Its a long time since I've heard "Suzie Q" my dad used to call me that all the time.

Anyway, the tension problem. I think you have done the best thing - given up for the day and consoled yourself with a drink!

You mentioned the aluminium bobbins. Pre-wounds (cardboard) are the lightest, aluminium next lightest and metal heaviest. When you do the drop test you need to bear this in mind. Pre-wounds should drop about 2", aluminium maybe 3", and metal 4-6 its all to do with the weight of the bobbin more than the weight of the thread.

First I would tighten my top tension and loosen my bottom tension and use a top and bottom thread of similar weight. KingTut and bottomline can work together but a better choice might be a thread closer in thickness to the top thread. Also you are using a cotton thread with a polyester thread and they will try to fight each other and so not form the best stitches.

You are quilting on batik which won;'t close up (lucky you are using your CQ because you can line the needle up on the previous stitching and the holses shouldn't show) batik doesn't give either when the needle goes down into the fabric so this is often a cause of poor tension. The wax in the batik won't allow the stitches to sink into the fabric the way it does with normal cotton fabric so you won't be able to get defined stitches.

Did you do your test on batik or normal cotton.

Is the tension on your quilt sandwich even across the quilt or tighter where you start to have problems.

Do you have your backing too tight.

Are you winding on an APQS bobbin winder. Is it winding evenly across the bobbin - if not adjust your bobbin winder. Is it winding evenly tight. Not loose then tight.

Is there any fluff under the "arm" on the bobbin case that is catching the thread and then releasing it unevenly.

If you hold the bobbincase in one hand and pull off thread with the other, is it pulling off smoothly not catching anywhere.

Clean and then oil your hook assembly area and feel for rough areas to see if the thread could be catching anywhere.

Hope one of those suggestions works for you. If not come back to the boards and maybe someone else will have just the right fix.

Best wishes

Sue in Australia

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Sue and Sherry -

Thanks for the suggestions. I did try my sample on batik and the bobbin winder is the new one by APQS . The frustrating part is that this is my second batik quilt for this customer and the first one was a breeze, which makes this one doubly frustrating. The best thing is knowing there are others out there willing to offer advice sympathy and praise whenever needed. Quilters are the best.

I am off to try again!

One final question - in loosening the bobbin tension - I know left is loose but how am I holding the bobbin case? Is the open side to the Left or right?

Susie Q

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