Wednesday, April 01, 2009

HQ madness

Some of you may recall that I had a Handiquilter frame set up; I took it down nearly a year ago when my sister came to visit because it lives in the guestroom and takes up pretty much all the space. And re-assembling it has been on my to-do list for months now. So I finally put it all back together, got the MaxThroat hooked up and (hurrah!) it actually worked.

Until I actually started to quilt with it...

I am SO frustrated trying to get more than a few inches done without the thread skipping and breaking! Sometimes it will skip a whole inch or more.

I have:
  • oiled the machine,
  • cleaned every speck of lint,
  • changed the needle (18),
  • made sure the thread guide was fully extended,
  • made sure the quilt wasn't stretched too tight
  • tried a bunch of different threads.
I am not sewing fast at all. What next? I wish I lived in a taller building because then it would be more satisfying to pitch the thing out the window!
(of course I rarely have any of these problems when stitching off the frame with my Brother PQ1500, and for once, the MaxThroat is actually working really well!)

Thanks for any words of encouragement. My free-motion quilting is amateurish at best but I really do want to get better at it, and I have a stack of flimsies waiting to be learning experiences...


Libby Fife said...

I have a similar problem with my Bernina-stitches being skipped and elongated as well as the thread sometimes breaking. The only thing I can suggest is to call a shop that services your machine. The Sewing Machine Shop in Walnut Creek should be familiar with it-the owner may be able to say why your machine is doing that.

It is super frustrating though. I did all the same stuff you did and wondered if it was my fabric or if I was feeding the sandwich in a jerky motion under the needle. Going faster helped a bit but sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. Call the shop though and see what they say.

Joyce said...

Is your frame completely level in all directions? I belong to this group:
They are incredibly helpful but not sure how similar your setup is. Maybe there is a group for your frame. Does the machine work properly off the frame? If it does you know the problem is with the frame. If it doesn't it probably needs to be serviced.

Vicki W said...

Here are some things I would try to help zero in on the problem:
1 - check the bobbin tension to make sure that it's not too tight or loose (because you might be setting the top tension wrong to compensate for bad bobbin tension)
2 - Try adjsuting the top tension a little at a time
3 - try a diffrerent thread to see if behaves differently - sometimes even a different color of thread will act differently on the machine
4 - load a different practice piece to see if the fabric in the quilt is making a difference. Sometimes a machine can behave differently especially with a batik or painted fabric. I once had a quilt that had a purple gingham fabric in the sashing. My machine would quilt perfectly on the quilt until I did that sashing and then the thread would beak constantly. I finally had to spray the quilt top with Static Guard to get the beastly thing quilted.
Hope this helps you narrow down the cause.

Debra Dixon said...

I was having a helluva problem with my Grace/Janome setup. At this one spot I could count on having really large stitches. I called my Janome guy and he couldn't figure it out. I called Grace & they said the stitch regulator was not getting a signal in that area. I tried everything they suggested and then some to get the connection to work.

Finally, I took the stitch regulator off and it's been stitching fine. My own stitches are prettier than the ones being regulated. One thing I did notice with the regulator is that I was not stitching fast enough and I would get a drag but I was paying attention to the red light that would come on with the regulator. My Janome guy told me the machine is actually too fast for the regulator and that once you turn it to 8 which is where it needed to be to stitch nicely, you were overriding the regulator.

I bought a package deal so the regulator came with the deal. When I saw it was $600 on-line I just about croaked! But, I took it off anyway and have not had one problem at all with skipped stitches.

DPUTiger said...

No suggestions on the HQ, but I'm glad you love your PQ1500. That is by far the machine I use the most and I would be loathe to give it up!

Librarynan said...

Wow! How helpful our quilty friens are! So nice.
Good luck practicing...

Paula, the quilter said...

Are the bobbin and top threads the same weight? If not that might be contributing to the problem.