Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Continuing Saga to Troubleshoot My FMQ!

Quilters Corner Owners - Exceptional Service and Support!!!!

 As some of you may know, I got a new Pfaff sewing machine that has been giving me some issues when I FMQ. Actually that isn't really fair to say. I'm not sure it's the machine's fault, I think more of the issues rest at my feet - operator error. One of the BEST things about the machine is where I bought it - Quilters Corner. Their service and support are fantastic! I took my machine and my quilt into the shop yesterday and one of the owners (Katie) patiently worked with me to get my machine and I working together!

Before help!
After help!

 So you may ask, what did we change??? I have been using Isacord thread and I noticed that it was twisting, so Katie had me change the direction of the spool.

We used an end cap on both the front and back of the spool.

Changed to the single hole needle plate

Lowered the top tension to 2.6 (default is at 5.2) and changed the pivot height to -3 (this lowers the height of the presser foot).
Stitching on a sample worked beautifully!
I then started started stitching on my quilt. It went smoothly at first, but then started skipping stitches. Katie came back over and started troubleshooting, we changed needles from a 90/14 topstitch needle to a 75/11 quilting needle - worked great. So what was the difference between the sample and my quilt? I have batik on the back.
Batik is a much tighter weave, because of the dyeing process. I think the smaller needle penetrated the fabric better. I sewed at the shop for the next 20 minutes or so without a single problem.

After I got home, I sewed for another half hour without problems. But after a while, I started having thread shredding again, although no where near what I had before. I think it may be the needle. I think I will try a Microtex/sharp needle next. The one thing that I did learn, buy your machine from a dealer with excellent service and support. Can you tell I'm a Quilters Corner fan??!!

Color Me Quilty!



  1. Yay Quilters Corner! It really is a great shop.

    It's amazing that something as seemingly simple as choice of backing fabric can make such a big difference, isn't it?

  2. I am glad you got some help. FMQ can be frustrating even when you aren't having problems! Way to go sticking with it!

  3. That's wonderful Pat! What a difference!

  4. What a smart idea! I would have never thought of turning the thread around! Great troubleshooting! I have heard that some machines prefer thread that is either twisted to the right or left.

  5. Really glad you are getting the help from the gang there! More and more I realise the right needle, the right tension and all the details matter! New needles frequently is something I need to get accustomed to!

  6. Some machines are VERY sensitive to the direction the thread comes off the spool. Turning it around is always one thing I try. (although I have pretty much learned which way to load it.)

    I had trouble with my Baby Lock skipping stitches while doing FreeMotion also. I figured out that I needed to switch to the straight stitch plate and it solved that. too.

  7. I had never thought of changing the direction of the spool, interesting!

    I wish my shop had better service, they did offer lessons when I first bought it, but they were very generic, and when I've been back since they have had TERRIBLE service (and after paying a fortune to get it serviced there it was actually performing worse after about 15 mins of sewing :(

  8. I use inspira embroidery needles. They make a hole a little bigger designed for more thread going in the same hole which seems to stop the shredding.

  9. Thank you so much to all of you for this information! It helps a lot!
    I had figured out already that it has something to do with speed and thread tension, but I couldn't possibly have come up with the other points. My machine dealer is an awsome technician, but he doesn't know anything about FMQ at all.

  10. On my Janome, if my thread is the wrong way I get loose stitches, they look almost normal which is a small frustration sometimes it takes a whole row of stitches before I notice :D Something else that I noticed with my machines (I have 5, 3 of which I use for various purposes) is sometimes it's the thread itself that maybe a problem, I realize Isacord is a huge favorite, but you may want to try another brand just to see what the difference is. My Brother works better with a thicker thread than my Janome uses.