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Old 04-16-2011, 11:01 AM
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I am desperate for help now while free motioning. I thought I'd just throw together a really Springy tulip wallhanging. When it was time to do FM, I broke so many needles I'm embarrassed to give you a count.
I've tried everything. I see that my needle hits the sole plate after just a few stitches. I tried everything. Chgd needles, threaded & rethreaded. I really slowed down on moving my quilt sandwich since it looked like I might be pulling it too hard & bending the needle. I can straight stitch without problems. What should I do about my sole plate? I've FM in the past & didn't have this trouble.
Please help !!!
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Old 04-16-2011, 11:14 AM
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that sounds really weird, is the needle put in correctly. I once put one in with the flat spot to the front and had alot of trouble.
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Old 04-16-2011, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mimom
that sounds really weird, is the needle put in correctly. I once put one in with the flat spot to the front and had alot of trouble.
My machine won't let a needle go in backwards. I had considered that. Yes, it is weird.
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Old 04-16-2011, 11:40 AM
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What machine do you have?

Can you tell if the needle is getting bent, and that is why the needle starts hitting the sole plate? That's the only reason I can think of for needle to break so often. Could it be that the needle is too fine? A bigger needle will not bend as easily.
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:33 PM
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Since you have ruled out all the mechanical questions, I have a couple of questions for you. Have you done a lot of FM quilting before or is this one of your first attempts? Do you have the parts of the quilt not under the needle sufficiently supported to avoid drag on your needle? I encountered exactly your problem. I brought my machine and project down the our open night at the LQS, and had one of the experienced ladies watch me. It turns out I was moving the quilt too fast for the speed of the machine/needle. I spent many more hours after that just practicing to get the rhythm just right. And, I still do a little bit of "practice" before quilting a new project just to get that timing back. The more I'm doing it, the more it really is like riding a bike.
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:36 PM
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Try using a heavier duty needle, like one for sewing denim and see if that helps :D:D:D
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:52 PM
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First be sure the machine is set for straight stitching, not zigzag, and that the needle position is centered over the hole in the plate. Try sewing without fabric and see if the needle still hits the plate after a few stitches. If it does, it has nothing to do with your moving the fabric too fast, and it might be time to call the sewing machine repair place. Otherwise, if your needle is hitting the sole plate, then it must be bending, which means the fabric is exerting sideways force on it. A heavier needle should help.
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:04 PM
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Sounds like you are moving the quilt too fast. Try slowing it down a bit. It takes quite a bit of practice to get the hang of it. Keep trying!
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:20 PM
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Sometimes needle breakage is tied up to the bobbin tension. The bobbin requires a different tension for FMQ than it does for regular sewing, that's why a lot of people buy a separate case for the bobbin to be used only for FMQ. Especially helpful if you don't have a machine dedicated solely to FMQ.
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:30 PM
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I think you may need a needle with a larger eye, loosen the tension a tad.

Are you using Quilting Needles?

If you are able to sew a few stitches before it hits the sole plate. It sounds like it would be the pressure you are putting on the free motion.
If the thread can't get through the eye as fast as you are moving, it will pull the thread tight and you will bend the needle just enough to hit the plate.
Keep trying
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