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Thread: Bernina Stitch Regulator skipping stitches

  1. #1
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    This week it has been one thing after another (several non-quilting things but a few quilting things as well). The newest issue is the BSR is not doing right on my brand new 440 QE. It's skipping stitches really badly and I have done everything to try and figure out why. It'll stitch a dozen or more perfect stitches, then it'll skip four or five. Looks horrible. I did a total cleaning of my machine, rethreaded the upper and bobbin threads, put a new needle on (I only have the Universal ones that came with the machine, tomorrow I'm picking up some topstitching ones hoping that might help) and nothing seems to be helping. Here's the kicker, I can sew on a small sandwich of the EXACT same material and not have any issues but put the quilt back on the machine and it goes to skipping right away. I am being really careful to make sure the quilt isn't pulling or dragging on the machine at all and keeping it supported on table and off.

    I called my store this morning that I bought the machine from (I really like those ladies at that store) and she told me to try threading the bobbin thread through the little arm that sticks up from the bobbin case (she called it a pigtail). I did that and the stitch regulator started working perfectly. It did great for about half an hour then out of nowhere started skipping again. I took the quilt off my machine, opened everything up fiddle with it for a minute and then put the quilt back on. Skip, skip, skip. I turned my machine off and walked away. I'm past the point of crying from frustration.

    The lady I talked to this morning did say if the rethreading of the bobbin didn't work to bring my stitch regulator in tomorrow and they would plug it in and make sure it had some update or something on it. She mentioned she had a machine that was skipping and that's what fixed it. That all sounds great and I really hope and pray that that fixes my issue but why would my machine just be skipping on my quilt and not my little sandwiches? Seems like it must be operator error but I can't for the life of me figure out what I'm doing wrong. I'm FMQ'ing the exact way I did on my little cheap Brother and it never skipped a stitch.

    Anyone had this problem? I'm so bummed about this. I'm worried there won't be anything found wrong with my machine so it will be assumed I'm causing the problem. :(

  2. #2
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I have had mine do that a couple of times too. I'm not sure what I did to get it to work right. I think a time or two I moved the fabric too fast. I do remember re-threading both the bobbin and the top as well as cleaning the machine of all the Lint I could find. Never tried using the little "arm" on the bobbin case. I do thread my bobbin thread through that "arm" when using the embroidery unit.
    I don't have a lot of experience with my BSR foot, I've used it several times but I haven't used the BSR for a couple of months due to shoulder surgery and not being able to do the actual quilting yet.
    Hope you get the issue figured out soon!!!

  3. #3
    Super Member rootyr's Avatar
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    I have the 440QEE and find that sometimes the BSR does not like certain threads. Try going to a different brand.

  4. #4
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I was going to come back and say something about thread as well. Try using a different brand of thread and see how it does.

  5. #5
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    I'm using the Mettler thread that the store sells where I bought my machine. That's what they recommended. The only other thread I have is the cheapy Coats and Clark. It probably really wouldn't like that. :) I've read nothing but good things about Superior Threads and I've thought about ordering from them. Do stores sell their thread or can you only order it online?

  6. #6
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    You can buy Superior Threads at shops that carry it. I have a couple shops around me that carry their thread.
    Mettler is a good thread, your machine should not be having a problem with that one. Don't use the Coats and Clark, it will lint way to much and is not a good thread.

  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    By "skipping stitches" do you mean that some stitches are longer than others? This would indeed be the BSR not working as it should. When I first got my machine, the BSR occasionally had trouble if I was moving sideways across a seam. After an update was loaded, that problem went away. I always take my BSR in with the machine for servicing, just in case there are updates for it. I bought an extended service policy, so I can take the machine in as often as I want to be cleaned and checked out.

    If you really mean that the machine is skipping stitches, meaning that the needle is going down but no stitch is being formed, then that is not the BSR and you might see the same thing happen in regular sewing. It could be that you're pulling the fabric too fast, causing the needle to be deflected slightly, so it bends (at least temporarily) and cannot form a good stitch. Or it could be that your machine has a "new machine" problem and needs adjustment. The best thing to do would be to take the whole thing, machine and BSR, down to the shop and tell them you need it checked out.

    Good luck. I hope you get the machine and/or BSR fixed soon. The BSR is a wonderful tool to have, and it's too bad you're having problems with it.

  8. #8
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootyr
    I have the 440QEE and find that sometimes the BSR does not like certain threads. Try going to a different brand.
    great idea.

  9. #9
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster
    By "skipping stitches" do you mean that some stitches are longer than others? This would indeed be the BSR not working as it should. When I first got my machine, the BSR occasionally had trouble if I was moving sideways across a seam. After an update was loaded, that problem went away. I always take my BSR in with the machine for servicing, just in case there are updates for it. I bought an extended service policy, so I can take the machine in as often as I want to be cleaned and checked out.

    If you really mean that the machine is skipping stitches, meaning that the needle is going down but no stitch is being formed, then that is not the BSR and you might see the same thing happen in regular sewing. It could be that you're pulling the fabric too fast, causing the needle to be deflected slightly, so it bends (at least temporarily) and cannot form a good stitch. Or it could be that your machine has a "new machine" problem and needs adjustment. The best thing to do would be to take the whole thing, machine and BSR, down to the shop and tell them you need it checked out.

    Good luck. I hope you get the machine and/or BSR fixed soon. The BSR is a wonderful tool to have, and it's too bad you're having problems with it.
    I do mean really skipping stitches, as in the needle goes down, 4 or 5 times, and doesn't make a stitch. I honestly am trying my very best to be slow and steady with my movement. I don't know how to do it any better than I'm doing. I pieced this whole quilt on this machine and it never missed a beat while piecing. That was using the patchwork foot and walking foot though.

    I really am down to thinking it has something to do with the quilt because like I said before, I can put any fabric sandwich on there and the BSR stitches away no problem. As soon as I put that quilt back on, it'll start skipping one or two stitches in. I've barely had time to move the quilt before it's skipping.

    Even though the lady at the shop told me I only needed to bring in the BSR, I'm going to load up my whole machine AND the darn quilt and take it in tomorrow. I sure hope there is something that can be done to fix it. I can't begin to imagine how sad I would be to have this new machine that I can piece whatever on, but can't quilt a darn thing on.

  10. #10
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Could it be because "that" quilt is thicker than your quilt sandwich? You might need to change to a larger needle or adjust the presser foot's pressure. From what I've read, it's usually the needle at fault when you're skipping stitches.

  11. #11
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    Well do find out if your BSR foot has the latest update. If so, try moving your needle position 2 clicks to either side, and reduce your stitch length to 1.5

  12. #12
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    I have the 440 QE with the BSR and have not had the problem you are having...mine would suddenly have a big stitch if I moved it way too fast. If the needle goes up and down several times with out making a stitch it would seem to me that the needle may not be delivering the top thread down completely, so the bobbin hook can't catch it, and no stitch can be formed. If it does fine with the quilt sandwich and the sandwich is a little thinner than the quilt, that would make sense, especially if the needle was not inserted correctly, threaded correctly or if you have the wrong size needle (am thinking that a too short needle wouldn't penetrate the thicker sandwich adequately). You have said you cleaned it, but I suppose a piece of lint or thread could obstruct the thread. I am not an expert at this, but I do understand your frustration. I do feel that it is something that can be solved by taking the whole thing to the dealer as you mentioned. My Bernina can be fussy with certain threads, but lately I have been using coates and clark when I only have the color I want in that brand. My dealer recommends guttermann, but I have used mettler with no problem. When FMQ on my DH's Christmas quilt, I used Superior's Bottom Line for the bobbin thread and I really liked it. Oh another thing...I believe that when I took the BSR course, they said to reduce the presser foot pressure to 1. Don't despair, I am sure they can help you figure it out.

    Just curious, does it do the same thing on both mode 1 and mode 2?

  13. #13
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    If the machine is truly skipping stitches I think it is your needle, you need a Quilting or Top Stitch Schmetz 12 or 14 needle for quilting. Sometimes the batting scrim can cause stitch problems as well. Having your dealer check out both the BSR and your machine is the best place to start. It helps to have the same weight thread in both the top and bottom as well. Good luck, I feel your frustration.

  14. #14
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nursie76
    I have the 440 QE with the BSR and have not had the problem you are having...mine would suddenly have a big stitch if I moved it way too fast. If the needle goes up and down several times with out making a stitch it would seem to me that the needle may not be delivering the top thread down completely, so the bobbin hook can't catch it, and no stitch can be formed. If it does fine with the quilt sandwich and the sandwich is a little thinner than the quilt, that would make sense, especially if the needle was not inserted correctly, threaded correctly or if you have the wrong size needle (am thinking that a too short needle wouldn't penetrate the thicker sandwich adequately). You have said you cleaned it, but I suppose a piece of lint or thread could obstruct the thread. I am not an expert at this, but I do understand your frustration. I do feel that it is something that can be solved by taking the whole thing to the dealer as you mentioned. My Bernina can be fussy with certain threads, but lately I have been using coates and clark when I only have the color I want in that brand. My dealer recommends guttermann, but I have used mettler with no problem. When FMQ on my DH's Christmas quilt, I used Superior's Bottom Line for the bobbin thread and I really liked it. Oh another thing...I believe that when I took the BSR course, they said to reduce the presser foot pressure to 1. Don't despair, I am sure they can help you figure it out.

    Just curious, does it do the same thing on both mode 1 and mode 2?
    Mode 2 scares me so I haven't tried it. :) Seriously though, Mode 2 seems too touchy for me. I like knowing things will start and stop by my foot control alone.

    After everyone's posts and thinking on it all day (yes, I've been thinking of nothing else all day long :P) I really think it must the needle. I don't think it's the Stitch Regulator at all. I don't have anything but Universal needles right now though so I can't try anything else. I'll still take everything up to my dealer tomorrow but I'm really hoping it's a simple fix like a different needle.

  15. #15
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    I know what you mean about Mode 2 being touchy...if you would lose hold of a large heavy quilt..zzzzzzzoooooommmmm lots of unauthorized meandering! :oops:

    You are definitely doing the right thing taking the whole kit and kaboodle in tomorrow. Good luck!

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    you might try checking the area where you put the thread spool some thread,s need to be place verical or horizontal or check bobbin area and put something that looks like a washer it,s for sewing machines and makes stitches more even

  17. #17
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    I think you may want to take your machine into the dealer. Usually, if your machine can stitch 4 or 5 times and not pick up the bobbin thread can mean the needle height is set too high. Also, try using SHARPS or MICROTEX needles, this could help.

  18. #18
    Suz
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    When I FMQ, using monafilment on top and bottom, extra top thread is often pulled to the underside causing a small "nest", breaking the thread, skipping a few stitches and then picking up again, stitching normally.

    I use a thread stand and have wrapped the top thread around the tension guide used to wind bobbins. It has helped me some, but not completely.

    Question: What is Mode 2?

    Hope to read about solutions to our problems. Suzanne

  19. #19
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    Suz, The Bernina Stitch Regulator has two operation modes. In Mode 1 you control the stopping or starting of the machine by pressing the foot control. This does not control the speed, the BSR senses the motion, stopping momentarily when you stop moving the fabric, the stitching speed going faster when you move the fabric faster, slower when you move it slower. In Mode 2 the foot control isn't used to start and stop the machine, when the BSR is activated the machine starts stitching when you move the fabric and stops when you stop moving it. Good for small items, but when you have a heavy quilt on the machine, if you don't have a tight hold and say the rest of the quilt falls on the floor....well, the material is moving...the machine is stitching...but NOT necessarily where you intended the stitches to go..lol

  20. #20
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Okay, took my machine and all up to the store today. The owner did the update (software and hardware) to my BSR. I also bought some quilting needles (Bernina brand ones, that's all they sell there). The BSR update seems to have solved 99% of the problem. I am no longer getting 4 and 5 skipped stitches in a row for no reason. What I'm getting now is a very occasional single skipped stitch (needle is going down but not forming a stitch). This I think is due to the weight of the quilt on the machine. Apparently this machine is just waaaaay more sensitive than my Walmart Brother machine was. So I'm working really hard to keep the quilt fluffed up around the machine and reduce any and all pull it might put on the machine. Next I'm going to order some different thread (Superior Threads) and also try some different needles. Anyone have a suggestion as to what needle brand to try?

  21. #21
    Suz
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    Nursie,

    Thank your for the explanation. Is there a special way to turn on Mode 2 or is it automatic? I have always used the foot pedal but would like to try this new mode. I must confess, I passed on the demo thinking I would try the machine on my own and then go to the "learning class" at a later. However, I have not gone to this class, as I have had two incidences of stress fractures (several weeks apart) as well as another six weeks in the cast when two bones did not heal. Later, I broke another bone. -- I have learned to sew using my left foot. One cannot stay away from quilting.

    Suz

  22. #22
    Suz
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    Nursie,

    Thank your for the explanation. Is there a special way to turn on Mode 2 or is it automatic? I have always used the foot pedal but would like to try this new mode. I must confess, I passed on the demo thinking I would try the machine on my own and then go to the "learning class" at a later. However, I have not gone to this class, as I have had two incidences of stress fractures (several weeks apart) as well as another six weeks in the cast when two bones did not heal. Later, I broke another bone. -- I have learned to sew using my left foot. One cannot stay away from quilting.

    Suz

  23. #23
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    I would bring the sewing machine back to where to purchased it and have them look at it.

  24. #24
    Suz
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    I have purchased two ironing board for $2.97 each at the local Goodwill. When I machine quilt, I surround myself with these two boards. What makes them nice is their height adjustment. I also keep one up along side when piecing as it holds pieces yet to be stitched and occasionally when I need an ironing surface for small items. Otherwise fold them out of the way.

    Suz

  25. #25
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suz
    Nursie,

    Thank your for the explanation. Is there a special way to turn on Mode 2 or is it automatic? I have always used the foot pedal but would like to try this new mode. I must confess, I passed on the demo thinking I would try the machine on my own and then go to the "learning class" at a later. However, I have not gone to this class, as I have had two incidences of stress fractures (several weeks apart) as well as another six weeks in the cast when two bones did not heal. Later, I broke another bone. -- I have learned to sew using my left foot. One cannot stay away from quilting.

    Suz
    When you're in Mode 1 just press the number 2 on your number pad and it'll take you into Mode 2. It'll show BSR 2 on your screen. I think the little running man comes up too. LoL Make sure your foot pedal is not plugged in though or it won't accept going in to Mode 2.

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