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Thread: Balancing tension with red as a bobbin and white as a top LAQ

  1. #1
    Senior Member jetmaio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Spring Hill, Florida

    Balancing tension with red as a bobbin and white as a top LAQ


    I have an Innova long arm machine which I just love. I usually use the same color bobbin as the top thread but this particular quilt has a red backing with some white embroidered squares on the front. I have tried for hours to balance the tension of the two threads but to no avail. I have gotten to the point that the white thread on top shows no red dots but at that the red underneath does indeed have the little white dots from the top thread.

    I have a note in to my Innova rep but was wondering if anyone had any hints for me prior to hearing from her.

    I remember one of the programs by a long arm professional saying "what would you see on the back if you were hand quilting?" I guess that was her way of saying how hard it is to use both.

  2. #2
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    I don't have a longarm, but I think if you loosen the tension on BOTH the needle thread and top thread by a tiny bit, then balance the tensions so that the dots are mostly showing on the back side, the threads won't pull so hard against each other and the dots of opposite colors will all but disappear in the first laundering. Hope that helps!

  3. #3
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Texas Hill Country
    I have also tried that with the same two colors and it just will not work. You will have "pokies" on one side or the other. If you were able to get the pokies only showing on the back, I think this is the best you can do. It will probably look fine.

  4. #4
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    First of all, call Michael at Innova and he will help with any tension issues. He is available 24/7 and he really does know those machines.

    However, one thing to consider is that you may be seeing the bobbin thread through the hole caused by the needle. This is not a pokie, just a fact of life on a longarm, and the needle hole will close up when the quilt is laundered.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Lived in San Diego now retired in Eagar, AZ.
    Blog Entries
    It will never be perfect, choose which one to use and tell your customers after this to consider the color of thread...it should match the backing to be easiest for you... that's why there are so many floral (disguising) backing fabrics. she has more problems than the thread... red backing with a white top.... don't care how many times she washed that red...

  6. #6
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    chicago, IL
    I think this may be the best it gets...Have you tried a smaller needle? If the hole is smaller that it is poking, it may not shift as much.
    Tink's Mom (My name is really Susie)

  7. #7
    Senior Member katz_n_kwiltz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Wilmington, Oh
    tension is a tricky thing to work with. on a long arm, first you make small adjustments to your bobbin case,
    with your regular machine, you have to adjust the top tension only, on MY long arm, I have found that I sue the same color top and bottom..no problem..use a different color top or bottom..PROBLEM.., its a fine line we walk.and if we dont get it just right, then the whole thing messes up. I truly understand, and feel your pain, but save yourself a headache, and use same thread top n bottom.

  8. #8
    Senior Member lvaughan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    I worked on a quilt trying to get balanced tension with two different threads and finally just gave up. I really wanted to figure out how to get the tension right. I did talk to Michael and was told I would always have what I call pokies, dots of color. Even when I could get tension right it would only look good for a couple inches. I did try the Bobbin Central magnetic core bobbin and still didn't get the results I wanted. If you get it figured out please let us know how you did it.

  9. #9
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Many famous LAers, simply refuse to use two different colors. Our own Green Fairy who does AMAZING LA work wrote on her blog once that she learned early on and tells her clients, it doesn't matter what color their back is she will always use the same color thread in her bobbin as in the top. I belive Karen McTavish and Angela Walters also go by the same rule. I am not positive on them though. I actually love the results Green Fairy gets when she uses a contrasting thread on the back.

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