28 September, 2007

Troubleshooting

I had the weirdest thing occur the other day while machine quilting, it might be more accurate to say while "attempting" to machine quilt. I couldn't quilt farther than 6" before my upper thread would snap and break. This became completely frustrating fast! I had constructed a small quilt sandwich and "warmed up" there with my BSR engaged before stitching on the baby quilt I was free-motion machine quilting. As soon as I switched to the actual quilt, of course, the trouble began! I had paired a 30 weight sulky Blendable thread on top with a 60 weight Superior "Bottom Line" in the bobbin. I was using a Schmetz quilting needle, a new one. The batting was Quilter's Dream Blend, I had flannel on the back. I started trouble shooting each item, one by one. Removing each "variable" like we did food items when my son was being tested for allergies 27 years ago. I changed the needle. That wasn't it. I adjusted the tension. Nope. I rethreaded the machine, twice. No change. I moved my top thread from a vertical spool pin to the horizontal one. No change. Finally, deciding it was the Bottom Line thread, I switched to a 6o weight cotton thread, Mettler, in the bobbin; I've used this thread combination successfully many times. If possible, it snapped and broke even faster! I turned off the machine and walked away. I later took the machine apart and cleaned out each bit of fluff and lint I could find, I oiled above the bobbin case and rethreaded, I couldn't even take ten stitches on the practice sandwich now! I returned the top thread to the vertical spool pin. Worse. By this time hours had been wasted and I was becoming unglued. My husband suggested checking the troubleshooting check list in the owner's manual. Since my machine had been retro-fit upgraded to the BSR feature there's nothing in my book about that but I did find a list for general thread breakage. I ticked through the list... I checked the placement of the spool pin holder and decided to turn the spool around, end over end. Instead of the thread spooling off under it was now spooling off over the spool, placed horizontally. That was it! I was a little skeptical at first, I quilted for a short time now expecting an all too familiar tug, snap and break... it didn't happen; at all! I finished the central portion of the quilt in record time, making up for the hours lost. I hope to post a picture of the quilt soon, the baby shower is at 4 PM on Sunday. When all else fails for you, when you're having one of "those" days with your machine, try turning the spool over! It's the very first thing I'll check next time. In the meantime, I have binding to apply...

Life is Good!

12 comments:

Anne Heidi said...

Oh how frustrating, and how wonderful it worked out in the end :) Have fun with the binding!

Nancy said...

Oh, MY! What a time you had and what a peculiar solution!

paula, the quilter said...

Now that's thinking outside the box! I used to get a lot of thread breakage when sewing with the C&C poly because of that little nick in the spool that you lock the thread into. I will have to remember your solution.

Nan said...

Thank you so much for sharing your frustrating story! I have days like that, too, and it's just no fun, is it? Especially when it's such a simple fix - who woulda thunk it?

Ms. Jan said...

How frustrating! I just had my 440 serviced and the BSR upgraded and it is running like a champ! I really need to take her in once a year. =)

Su Bee said...

Oh gosh - I had the same thing happen once, and the problem was the same! I forget that some spools have that little nick in the rim, but will never forget that aggravation!

Shelina said...

Wow I can feel your frustration. so much time wasted on such a simple solution. I've had that problem with the nick too, not sure if that is what caused your problem, but the good news is that you found the solution and were able to move on to do some quilting.

DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

What a time you had. I have to say I have done the samething. Can't wait to see the finished quilt.

meggie said...

So glad you found the answer to the problem! Look forward to seeing the quilt finished.

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

Glad you got that figured out! Once my DH figured out that the spool I was using had a tiny burr on the edge that the thread was getting caught up on - he filed that spot smooth and then it worked fine. It is sooo frustrating trying to pinpoint such a problem.

Cheers!

Evelyn

Jane Ann said...

Thanks for the advice. Especially since Bernina tells us to let the thread unwind from the bottom. But those "handy" little cracks for locking the thread to the spool can be a real nuisance sometimes. (I'm assuming maybe that was your problem.)

Marcie said...

How totally frustrating! Good for you for working it through to a happy ending. Like Jane Ann mentioned, I have had the thread snag on the slot in the spool also. I really hate that horizontal spool holder!