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Topic: Machine quilting = GRRR!!! Help please!  (Read 2806 times)
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« on: November 01, 2008 10:20:04 AM »

So I'm fairly new to this whole "actually finishing quilts" thing and this is my first attempt at machine quilting.  I'm making a baby quilt for my soon-to-be-born niece and I really need to get it done! Unfortunately it is NOT GOING WELL and I'm hoping the vast collective knowledge of you amazing craftster quilters will give me some hope!

So here's the deal.  I'm (attempting to) free motion quilt (stipple) the entire top, but my machine keeps skipping several stitches then starting to work again.  This means I have to stop, unpick any stitches that stuck after the skipped part,  pull the bobbin thread to the top then start again every 4 inches.  It is getting really frustrating and the number of ends I'll have to bury is getting ridiculous. 

I've tried everything I can think of to fix it... I've changed the needle (needles are specially designed for quilting) I've re-threaded the top and replaced the bobbin thread.  I've made a practice "quilt sandwich" and messed with the tensions, even though the directions that came with the darning foot I'm using said I didn't have to change them.  It doesn't seem to make any difference.

Any ideas?

Just to give a little more info in case it is important, I basted the quilt both with basting spray and with pins which I'm removing as I come near them.  The basting spray doesn't seem to be making anything sticky.  As I mentioned, I'm using a darning/stippling foot.  My feed dogs are lowered as I think they should be, and I'm using cotton thread on cotton fabric and cotton batting. 

Any insight you have or additional things I can try to get this to work will be greatly appreciated!  If this keeps up I'm going to  rip ALL the quilting I've done so far (the very thought of it makes my eye twitch) and quilt in the ditch with my walking foot.  Not what I wanted, but at least I know the stitches don't skip with plain old straight seams!!

Thanks for any ideas you have!!

***See picture of what I mean below***
« Last Edit: November 02, 2008 09:30:58 AM by sweetpea001 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2008 12:47:10 PM »

Is your stitch length set to zero?

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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2008 05:19:44 PM »

My sewing machine does this when it is not threaded right.  Sometimes, it jumps off one part that I slide the thread into while threading it.  I have no idea how it jumps, but that is the problem with mine.  Try unthreading all together and rethreading.  If that doesn't help, do the same with the bobbin.  If I take the bobbin case out and don't get it in EXACTLY right, it does this too.  (Before ever removing your bobbin case when it works right, take some ghastly nail polish color and paint across one spot on the case to the edge next to so you can line it back up just right.)

Good luck!

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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2008 07:28:14 PM »

Thanks for replying! 

The stitch-length might be the problem, but would it matter anyway if the feed dogs are down?  I'll make sure I've got it set to zero and give it a go tomorrow morning.  I really hope that is it!!

I've definitely re-threaded both the bobbin and top thread since this started happening, but when my machine is messing up that is often the problem so it is a great suggestion!!

Thanks again!
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2008 07:03:51 AM »

What kind of machine do you have? Bernina patented their Free Motion Stitch Regulator so only Bernina machines have that capability Sad
A certain amount of uneven stitches just goes with the territory on any other brand.

You said you get good stitches for 4 inches & then gaps? Are you starting slow & them speeding up? I've had issues like that on my old machine sewing really thick layers. Realized the issue was me & I just had to go slow.
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2008 09:30:14 AM »

Unfortunately, the stitch length wasn't the problem!  It was working on my "practice" quilt sandwich so I got my hopes up, but true to form, it started skipping stitches again about 5 minutes into quilting on the real quilt. 

Penlowe, I have a Viking Husqvarna, so no stitch regulator...  I don't think it is just uneven stitches, unfortunately.  The needle goes into the fabric but doesn't catch the bobbin thread.  Here is a picture of what I mean.  You can see how it skipped 4 or 5 stitches near the end, caught one, then skipped a bunch where you can see the needle holes in the fabric.  Maybe I do just need to practice going really slow...

« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2008 08:22:57 PM »

Sometimes a fabric with a high thread count can cause skipped stitches.  Batiks are especially well known for this.  It might explain why your practise sandwich is fine but the skipping starts when you go to the actual quilt.  What kind of needle are you using?  Try a topstitch 90/14 or even a machine embroidery needle.  And slow down.  I hope this helps!  Let us know what works for you.

« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2008 07:06:33 AM »

When I had that problem, it was an issue with the bobbin - I'd loaded it backwards. Whoops. Probably not the same, but worth investigating nonetheless.
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2008 12:39:06 AM »

I agree with anaximander, that LOOKS like a bobbin problem.  It clearly isn't picking up the bobbin thread every time. 
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2008 01:05:49 PM »

Could be any or all of those things. The main culprit is usually going too fast, especially on curves.
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