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Thread: Tension issues 28wt thread

  1. #1
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Tension issues 28wt thread

    I'm going through a series of practice quilt sandwiches, testing different threads, different thread combinations, different needles - and at the same time practicing different quilting motifs (trying to get the hang of feathers).

    I started with a Sulky 12wt thread (top and bottom with a size 14 needle), and there was so much fuzz from the thread that at one point a giant glob of thread fuzz fell of the needle, onto my work, and before you could say 'stop' I had quilted it onto my work. I immediately dismissed that combination as a good one and decided I had better clean the machine while I was at it. While brushing the needle area I noticed some fuzz on the outside rim of the tension disc cover so I brushed it off. I then ... probably stupid idea ... thought that if there was fuzz on the outside, there might be fuzz on the inside of the discs so I put my brush in there and gave each side a swipe.

    Well now I have an Auifil 28wt in the top and an Aurifil 50wt in the bobbin and I can't for the life of me get the tension right. I then tried a 40wt in the bobbin, and I still can't get the tension right.

    Did I screw up my tension discs by giving them a swipe with my brush, or am I having different tension/thread issues??
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  2. #2
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    28 wt is an awfully heavy thread---it will be difficult to equal the tension (top to bottom) with such a huge difference- and your fraying thread may be because the needle eye is not large enough to really handle such a heavy thread.
    if you get the top & bottom threads closer in weight (main reason it's recommended to use the same thread top & bottom) you will have better luck getting the tension right.
    i clean between my tension disks when ever they need it- and have never had that cause a problem later-unless i turned the tension dial while doing it.
    i would try a 40wt thread top & bottom and work on getting the tension back to correct---then when you have it equal go ahead and go back to experimenting with different thread- make notes of problems, with different combinations- but remember you also have to change needles with different weights/types of threads.
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  3. #3
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    What specifically is wrong with the tension? A 12 wt is even bigger than a 28 wt so if you could make that work you should be able to make the 28 work. The main thing is getting the needle size and type right for that size of thread. You'll need a 90/14 topstitch needle at least and maybe a 100/16 topstitch needle for the biggest threads. The topstitch needles have a bigger eye and handle the bigger threads easier.

  4. #4
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    I've heard someone on this board say they cleaned between the tension discs with dental floss but never with a brush. Try the suggestions above and see if that helps. If not, you may have messed up the tension of the disks and will need to take it in for an adjustment.

  5. #5
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    ditto on the 12 wt thread ... didn't know they made that! It must be like crochet cotton.
    ditto on the needle size ... you need a bigger hole!

    Another possibility could be the kind of thread re the fuzz problem. Some are notorious for that issue. Aurifil is a good one to avoid that ... though it looks like you haven't been able to sew enough to discover that!

    Or the colour ... the darker the colour, the more dye, and the less consistency in the evenness of the thread.

    Though I'd go with the needle change for the first and most likely solution!

    I don't know what machine you are using, and don't know if all have this possibility ... Janome has a special bobbin case that saves the tension adjustment when working with different thread weights.

    I hate adjusting tension ... so I'll go for anything that avoids that!
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  6. #6
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    I am right there beside you sewing sister!!!!!! Just got done FMQ on a small project and I am having an awful time getting my tension balanced again. I have tried different threads, clean out every orifice I can find, changed needles, done swatches and swatches of samples and it is still not right. Mine is sewing a quilt sandwich fine but on regular sewing of 2 fabrics together, the bottom thread is not sewing a nice straight line. It is pulling the bottom thread a little to the side and I am ready to start pulling my hair out. I am currently letting my machine sulk in the corner while I am sulking at the computer.

  7. #7
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    ditto on the 12 wt thread ... didn't know they made that! It must be like crochet cotton.
    ditto on the needle size ... you need a bigger hole!

    Another possibility could be the kind of thread re the fuzz problem. Some are notorious for that issue. Aurifil is a good one to avoid that ... though it looks like you haven't been able to sew enough to discover that!

    Or the colour ... the darker the colour, the more dye, and the less consistency in the evenness of the thread.

    Though I'd go with the needle change for the first and most likely solution!

    I don't know what machine you are using, and don't know if all have this possibility ... Janome has a special bobbin case that saves the tension adjustment when working with different thread weights.

    I hate adjusting tension ... so I'll go for anything that avoids that!
    I didn't have any tension issues using 12wt in the top and bottom, but I didn't like the results - just way too much bulk on the bottom side - the stops and starts were looking like the stuff my dogs leave in the back yard! Ich.

    I've tried the 28wt with both 40 and 50 wt in the bobbin ... I don't want to go any larger than that or I'll risk the giant lumps on the back side again.

    The amount of fuzz was much higher with the 12wt sulky than it is with the 28wt Aurifil ... the Aurifil is actually quite clean considering the size of the thread. And yes, I am using darker color threads - the better to see you my dear

    I'm using a 14 topstitch needle. I'll see if I have a larger one, but I think this is the largest I have.

    I'll keep playing with the tension, now that most of you mentioned you've cleaned the discs before without a problem, I'll go back to looking at it as a tension issue. I might even try moving my thread to a coffee cup beside the machine instead of using the vertical spool.

    Oh ... the machine is a Janome 6600.

    thanks everyone!
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  8. #8
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    So, do you have the special bobbin case? I think some call it the blue dot?
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  9. #9
    Super Member Midwestmary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    So, do you have the special bobbin case? I think some call it the blue dot?
    I initially had trouble with tension on my Janome 6600 - the blue dot bobbin case helped tremendously. I have good results with 50 wt Aurifil in top and bobbin.

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