Vintage FMQ frustrations
I am so frustrated with my Vintage machines so I hope venting here may calm me down and hopefully someone can give me some guidance. I own the following vintage machines 15-91 treadle, Singer clone 15-91 electric, 301, 404, FW. They are all in wonderful working condition and I sew on them on a regular basis. I can use any of the new universal needles for regular sewing but as soon as I lower those feed dogs, all hell happens. I have tried every type of needle on the market and the only one I can use is a 100/16 Jean needle. I use #40 weight cotton quilting thread, usually YLI or King Tut. A 90/14 will not catch the bobbin thread to make a stitch. The Jean needle makes a bigger hold than needed for this thread.
Does anyone else experience this problem, and if so, have you found a solution. I went to Sew Classic to order some original Singer Class 15x14 needles but they are out of stock. I am getting some Class 15x16 needles.
I have every do-dad possible for these machines and I love each one and they are all unique in their own way which makes them so enjoyable.
My 301 will only FMQ nicely with a Singer needle. I had odd stitches with a Schmertz. I use a size 12, but that's a personal preference. Luckily, I found some Singer needles at my LQS in packages of 10 or 11 for $1.99.
I have odd stitches too. I am also wondering if the quilt batting is creating any of these problems. I am using Hobbs 80/20 and it has a 1/8" loft. We used to be able to buy sewing machine needles in a red package with a blue top and some foreign name on them. I had one jean needle that worked perfect in my treadle 15-91 but I can't remember the brand and don't see them in my shops here.
Singer needles are now known to be much lower quality than Schmetz. When you say all hell breaks loose...I would really need more info. about what's happening to help you.
I have a 15-91 Singer that I do all my free motion quilting on and I can use any kind of thread (may have to adjust my tension for different types) and I use either Schmetz or Superior Titanium needles and no problems. Also batting.....usually Warm & Natural but I recently dug out some old polyester batting and used it with no problem. I usually use a 70 or 80 needle. Good luck!
Candace, all my machines won't make a stitch or if they do it is only once in a while. All I can figure is it has to be the needles. To me, it seems like the needle doesn't go down far enough to grab the bobbin thread so it skips making many of the stitches. I have done all the usual checks on threading, cleaning, threads, etc. so I am at a loss.
I would say that your problem is in using universal needles.
Universal needles don't mean that they will do anything or go anywhere. They were supposed to solve the problem of the housewife having to stock sharps for wovens and ball points for knits. Unfortunately, they don't sew wovens worth a hoot and they're not much better on knits.
Your vintage machines were engineered to use sharps. Your jeans needles are sharps and that's probably the reason that they're working. Whenever I hear of a problem with skipped stitches, I ask if the person is using a universal and usually, they are.
Throw away the universals and use sharps for wovens and ball points for knits. :) The vintage machines don't always do well with the ball points, but they DO work better than the universals, at least with the machines I've owned.
I normally use sizes 10, 11 and 12 standard sharps for fmq on all my machines, including the 15's, 201, 301, 316, 401 and the Kenmores. I buy them for about $15 per hundred on eBay and I use them for 4-8 hours each. When they start making a popping noise or when they start skipping stitches, I change to a new needle.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/160525454265 - 100 Organ Brand - sizes 9-20
http://www.ebay.com/itm/160575951557 - 100 Orange Brand - sizes 9-18
Either will be fine, less than $15 and the seller has been reliable and fast for me in the past. :)
Choose the thread that you want to quilt with and then choose the needle size by the size of thread that you're using. Too large a needle will cause skipped stitches and too small a needle will cause fraying thread.
If you will pm me with the size thread you're using and your snail mail address, I will send you some Organ or Orange brand sharps in sizes that will work for you. :)
Thank you for the links, Polyparrot. It appears to be the same seller. I just ordered 100 size 12 needles.
Thank you Polyparrot, I have sent you a Private Message and I know others will appreciate your post and links.
I just got a badged Singer 15 clone machine and I was lucky to have bought alot of Singer needles years ago when I used my Singer 328K all the time. Going to see if my Daughter will sell me hers as she now has tons of organ needles for her new Brother machine. She has the old Singer needles too. I'm going to only piece on the old - brand new Vandervoort machine. It was made for a retail store that use to be in St.Louis, was never ever used.