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Thread: free motion quilting trouble with My singer 500a

  1. #1
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    free motion quilting trouble with My singer 500a

    My rocketeer is skipping stitches occasionally and breaking thread as I free motion quilt. I have tried rethreading, cleaning, trying a free standing spool, rethreading the bobbins, different spools of thread, different weights of thread, adjustments on the tension disk and pressure knob and bobbin tension. Earlier today it was stitching along fine for about 20-30 inches then a big wad of thread on the back would stop movement. After going over the steps I mentioned earlier I haven't had that problem just the top thread breaking and unthreading and 3 or 4 skipped stitches in a row.
    I am ready to throw the machine out the window.

    Lee

  2. #2
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Hi! Someone who's been here longer than me, and has gone FMQ on a slant with a Horizontal bobbin will likely chip in, but I've been told that this is one of the most difficult machines to do what you're trying to do on it. It's an excellent machine for almost everything. Everything but FMQ.

    The balls underneath are an upper tension problem. Make sure you're threaded right, the thread is tight in between the discs (all the way in...) if it's still not great, try tightening up the tension discs a little more and see what the result is.

    Skipping stitches can be from moving too fast. I had the same problem this evening when I was playing with the chain stitcher on my machine. It would skip if I moved too fast, or turned too sharp it seemed.
    Other than that, I'm sure someone may have tips for working with that machine for FMQ. I'm still not coordinated enough to stitch straight, nevermind FMQ.

    Hope something here helps...
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 503J, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99k, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Ultralock 14u64a (Serger), Pfaff 130-6, and a Kangaroo coming Nov 2013.

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    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Yup, the 400 and 500 machines are not great at FMQing. Honestly, and this is coming from someone who FMQ's a lot of many different types of machines, it's much easier to just use a different machine for this task. It's simply not worth the efforts and dealing with the raised plate is not enjoyable. I LOVE the 400 and 500 machines for straight quilting with a walking foot, but they're just not engineered to be good at FMQing. The raised plate and horizontal bobbin don't play well with each other! I keep my 400 for general sewing, piecing and straight quilting and use one of my other 20 machines for FMQing. Don't throw it out the window, but don't expect it to do an amazing job at FMQing, because you'll be spinning your wheels:>

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    shoot! I was excited to free motion quilt with this machine because of the set in table, the slick surface, good visibility, and relatively large harp.
    Any suggestions on a great vintage machine to free motion quilt with?

  5. #5
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Anything with a vertical bobbin and a largish harp. Model 15s come up a lot as being very good. They're extremely plentiful too, so they're usually "cheap".

    Hey Candace,
    Have you tried anything free motion by setting the stitch length to 0 instead of raising the plate? I haven't yet, but the book goes into detail about FM embroidery, etc, you'd think it should be possible.. .
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 503J, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99k, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Ultralock 14u64a (Serger), Pfaff 130-6, and a Kangaroo coming Nov 2013.

  6. #6
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annalee View Post
    shoot! I was excited to free motion quilt with this machine because of the set in table, the slick surface, good visibility, and relatively large harp.
    Any suggestions on a great vintage machine to free motion quilt with?
    A Singer 301 or 15 have very high ratings for FMQing and they both have vertical bobbin assemblies. I have NOT had good success with 15 clones, however. I FMQ with my vintage Pfaffs, 301's, Berninas, and Japanese made machines/clones. Vintage Elnas have a small throat space and the feed dogs don't drop, so I just use my other machines. I gave away my White Rotary and have sold several machines that just didn't FMQ well. Similarly, the 319's don't FMQ well, either. These machines were adjusted properly, but just were very fussy to get right. I'm of the mind set that vintage machines are too plentiful and inexpensive to fuss with them for every project. Find one that meshes with you and part with those that don't :>

  7. #7
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    I just purchased a Singer 15-91 specifically for FMQ'ing. The feed dogs drop and it is wonderful to FMQ with! A friend came over to try FMQ on it (I think she was kind of a skeptic re: vintage) and immediately bought her own 15-91! I wonder if a 15-91 would fit in your cabinet?
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

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    It is so beautiful! I have heard that 15-91's are great for quilting, I didn't realize they were great for free motion too. My friend just bought a 301 and likes it for free motion.

  9. #9
    Super Member Grace MooreLinker's Avatar
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    I have a singer Quantum L- 500 that I do all my quilting on, as long as I don't rush it(go to fast) I have no problems with it. sorry that you are having so many problems with your 500a.
    Freedom is costly and quilting keeps us busy...

  10. #10
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    I had my 15 in the cabinet that I got with my 403A. Yes, they do fit, but...

    The bed on the 500 and 400 series machines is longer on the right side than the 15, so there will be a gap, a couple of inches wide. It doesn't harm anything while sewing,.. just a place to drop your scissors.

    Otherwise, the hinge placement is perfect.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 503J, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99k, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Ultralock 14u64a (Serger), Pfaff 130-6, and a Kangaroo coming Nov 2013.

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