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Thread: Bobbin Thread Issue & Q For Flynn Type Frame Owners

  1. #1
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    Am having a frustrating time trying to quilt my son't quilt....

    The bobbin thread is mostly lying on the back, like the top thread isn't pulling it down snug? Hard to explain.
    I've just cleaned and oiled it all, changed upper thread, and put in a different bobbin. It's still sewing the same way. :roll: I've never messed with the tension, never had to before. It's an old White regular sewing machine. But now I'm wondering if one of the grandkids did? The tension is on 5.5 now, and I think that's where it's always been.

    Also, those of you who have the Flynn type frame - how do you keep your PVC support pieces (the pieces the frame rests on, under the quilt) from going cockeyed/cross ways on the table, while your quilting? I had the same issue when I was using the blocks of wood under it. Now I have 3" pieces of PVC, 3' foot long.

    Thanks so much for any help or ideas you might have!!!
    :D

  2. #2
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    if the bobbin thread is loopy I THINK its the top tension. don't quote me but you could try tightening the bobbin a little...."righty tighty, lefty loosie"....its the little screw on the side of the case.

  3. #3
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    Thank you, Linda!
    So for the top tension, you tighten the little screw in the bobbin (I've never messed with that before)? Not the regular tension thingy, on the front of the machine?

    The bobbin thread isn't a loose loopy, more like just lying there, not being pulled down snug....

  4. #4
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MollieSue
    Thank you, Linda!
    So for the top tension, you tighten the little screw in the bobbin (I've never messed with that before)? Not the regular tension thingy, on the front of the machine?

    The bobbin thread isn't a loose loopy, more like just lying there, not being pulled down snug....
    No. The screw in the bobbin is to loosen or tighten the bobbin thread. The top tension knob is usually on the front of the machine. If it's on 5.5, try moving it to 8 or 9 and see if that improves the stitch. It sounds as if the top thread is not pulling hard enough on the bobbin thread.

    Sometimes the discs in the upper tension get clogged up so the correct tension isn't delivered to the thread. Do you see where the discs are? The thread passes between them, probably behind the knob. You can use *unwaxed* dental floss to clean between the discs (with thread removed, of course). Sometimes there is a tiny piece of lint or thread caught in there.

    Also, you might want to change the needle if you haven't done that, and check underneath the feed dogs for built-up lint that needs to be removed.

    Do not fool with the bobbin screw unless you read up on what you are doing. Changing the tension knob setting on top won't hurt anything, but you can really mess up the bobbin screw if you don't know what you are doing.

  5. #5
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    The screw on the bobbin case is for the bottom tension. Normally, one would not need to adjust this.

    Try this first. Sew a normal straight stitch along the edge of your quilt, which will be covered by the binding. Look at the stitches, both top and bottom. If the straight stitch tension looks fine, you may just be moving your fabric too quickly when FMQ quilting. If the straight stitches look flat on the bottom, increase your tension from 5.5 to 6.0 and test again. If the stitches look flat on the top, decrease your tension from 5.5 to 5.0 and test again. Keep adjusting the tension, until the stitches look correct on both the top and bottom.

    But if you want to test the bobbin tension, the easiest way is to do the following:

    1. Put a wound bobbin in the case, threaded as normal with a short piece of thread sticking out.
    2. Hold just the thread between two fingers and let the bobbin fall. If the bobbin unwinds and falls to the floor, your bobbin needs more tension. You would turn the screw clock-wise 1/4 turn at a time, until the bobbin stops falling.
    3. If the bobbin does not drop in step 2, raise and lower your hand like you would a toy yoyo. The bobbin should drop a few inches each time you bounce your hand, the distance dependent upon how hard your yoyo action is. If it does not drop at all, turn the screw counter-clockwise 1/4 turn and repeat the process.

    It is very important to adjust the bobbin screw only 1/4 turn or less at a time.

    I hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    As to the quilting frame question, have you gone to John Flynn's website and seen the video on his frame? It may answer your question. I think it is in a tutorial type section.

  7. #7
    Super Member joeyoz's Avatar
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    Your tension should probably be around 3.5 or 4.0. Try sewing on just a scrap and see what it does and then start adjusting the tension.

  8. #8
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the ideas, Prism99 and Mytwopals!
    Prism99, I think you described it just right - the top thread isn't pulling hard enough on the bobbin stitches! - at least that's what it looks like to me.

    I had already cleaned the bobbin area of lint, etc. I didn't know about the floss idea, and only had waxed, used that, and didn't see any lint in there. And I just put in another new needle, just in case. :wink:

    After changing the upper tension to 5, 6, I'm at 7.5 now, and it seems to look better, but not a whole lot. It seems if I go higher, the bobbin stitches get sloppier. ?

    While trying the bobbin tension test (when I could keep the bobbin in! lol!!) it doesn't seem to drop at all.
    Before I mess with it, could that be causing the problem, or is it most likely still in the upper tension, or my going too fast? My top stitching looks fine. I think I'm going to the same speed as usual.
    Thanks so much for your help!!!
    :D

  9. #9
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    Thanks Amma, I didn't think to look at his again!! Duh. lol!!!! Mine is the one DH made me, which is quite similar to the Flynn.

    And thank you Joeyoz!! I didn't think to try setting the tension lower!
    I'll do that now!!
    :D

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