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Thread: FMQ Issues---Again

  1. #1
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    FMQ Issues---Again

    I'm sure this has been asked before, but I'm too lazy to search the archives I'm trying to FMQ a full-size quilt in my tiny Costco Brother (barely 6" of harp space!) and I'm wondering why I love quilting!

    But it my question is: does anyone know why sometimes my top thread doesn't catch the bobbin thread and I get a huge "jump" when I stitched at least three stitches in that space? It's been happening randomly. I cleaned the bobbin case, rethreaded the machine, changed the needle (size 90/14) and ajusted my tension.

    I keep telling myself, one day when I am rich (haha!) I'm going to get a Juki or a Brother with 9" harp space! Anyway, thanks for any advice!
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  2. #2
    Super Member osewme's Avatar
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    I can't answer your question as I am horrible at FM quilting & never practice enough. My Magnolia 7330 Janome has a harp space of just barely over 6". As much as I love my machine, I wish I had known more about quilting before I bought this machine. Things like harp space & more decorative stitches would have been something I would have looked closer into. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    If your foot is too far away from the fabric, it will skip stitches. Depending on your machine, there may be a little wheel on your FMQ foot that lowers the foot closer to the fabric to stop this from happening.

    Watson

  4. #4
    Super Member patsan's Avatar
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    It's because your little brother machine is not strong enough to get through the thicker fabric. My daughter went through the same thing with her little costco machine. I wound up getting her a better stronger model and the problem went away.
    At least that's what the ladies at my LQS said.....
    Pat
    Brother NQ 3500D
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  5. #5
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    I have a Janome Magnolia 7318 that has 6.5" of harp space and I love to FMQ. I've done up to a king size quilt on mine and I'm having a blast with it. How fast are you stitching? Have you tried slowing down the motion of your hands? Also, what kind of thread are you using in the top and in the bobbin?

  6. #6
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    There might several things that keep the stitch from forming. It might be speed and moving the quilt or it might be the delay when going through multiple layers. I use a hand needle and matching thread to fix a few skipped stitches. I go through the quilt on both sides of the long stitch making a pretend connection, tie off the thread and bury the ends.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    I worked for what seemed hours one day trying to bird-dog each and every possibility for missed stitches in FMQ. Turns out my needle was slightly bent (no doubt from pushing the weight of the fabric through my then small harp space). Wasn't discernable by the eye, but laying it on a flat surface and examining with magnifier, sure enough - it had a slight bend in it. Went to a bit heftier needle and problem solved. Might be worth a try.

  8. #8
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    sewing machines were originally made to make straight line stitches. Sometimes when we move the fabric around, the top thread does not catch the bobbin thread. I suggest slowing down your hands a bit while speeding up your stitching a bit. If you can get a consistent speed, that might help also.

  9. #9
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I can tell you a lot of it is hand spped but it could also be the needle. I dont think its the machine because my cheap brothers never had isdues going through layers. After having practiced fmq for many years now i finally have consistent stitches and it started when i mastered speed control of hand being consistent with the speed of the machine
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  10. #10
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions and help. It might be my thread. It was some quilting thread I got from hobby lobby about two years ago. What brands do you use for quilting?

    I changed the needle up to a 100/16 this morning and it's only happened again twice since then--- so less I guess.

    I know my speed is not the problem (this time!) as I'm going pretty slowly and smoothly due to the bulk of the quilt. And I'm trying really hard to making my stitches uniform.

    Sephie, thanks for the reassurance that I can quilt on this machine! I'll keep trying. I want to make many full/queen size quilts for each of my kids here soon Oh and one for Hubby and me too.
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  11. #11
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    My machine is persnickety with Clark's Dual Duty but all other threads seem to work fine. I use a lot of Connectingthreads both cotton and poly. I also have a variety of threads from Superior. Most of mine range in the 50/3 (for which I use a 80/12 needle) and 40/3 (for which I use the 90/14) needle.

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    You can totally do this. I've been pretty lucky and my Janome hasn't had a problem with any thread I've thrown at it, including C&C, Connecting Threads, Mettler, Gutterman, Aurifil, and Sulky. I even used serger thread before I knew what it was! Oops...

    I've had most success puddling the quilt instead of rolling it in the throat. I also built a foam insulation topper for my table using Marguerita Mcmanus' method (Google "marguerita mcmanus foam insulation table" and the video will come up on YouTube) and that has helped tremendously since the quilt doesn't get hung up at all on the edges of my machine. Much as I'm cheap and didn't want to spend $8 on a pair of quilting gloves, the Machingers gloves have been FANTASTIC. I have a Supreme Slider, but it often pulls up even when I tape it down, so I'm not using it as often anymore. All of these things have made my FMQ so much better and I rarely ever have issues with skipped stitches or eyelashes on the back.

  13. #13
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    are you using a 14 TOPstitch needle? that is what made a difference for me. plus the other suggestions mentioned. I was FMQ with my $80 Walmart Brother, so think you'll be able to use your's--lots of support for the quilt, too!. I move a bench to form an L to support it. Good luck!

  14. #14
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sephie View Post
    ...
    I've had most success puddling the quilt instead of rolling it in the throat. I also built a foam insulation topper for my table using Marguerita Mcmanus' method (Google "marguerita mcmanus foam insulation table" and the video will come up on YouTube) and that has helped tremendously since the quilt doesn't get hung up at all on the edges of my machine. Much as I'm cheap and didn't want to spend $8 on a pair of quilting gloves, the Machingers gloves have been FANTASTIC. I have a Supreme Slider, but it often pulls up even when I tape it down, so I'm not using it as often anymore. All of these things have made my FMQ so much better and I rarely ever have issues with skipped stitches or eyelashes on the back.
    here's the link to the you tube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g14govA4pIM
    and as to gloves, i bought garden gloves with little plastic dots at walmart for about $1
    Nancy in western NY
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    Try using a top stitch needle. They have a larger hole for the thread to go through. I feel your pain, the first few years I fmq, I was using the same machine. Last year for my my BD I got a Babylock Journey with something over an 11' HARP, What a difference. I still make sure my quilts are supported so there is no drag. Good luck. Hope you can get a machine with a larger harp sooner than later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NZquilter View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions and help. It might be my thread. It was some quilting thread I got from hobby lobby about two years ago. What brands do you use for quilting?

    I changed the needle up to a 100/16 this morning and it's only happened again twice since then--- so less I guess.

    I know my speed is not the problem (this time!) as I'm going pretty slowly and smoothly due to the bulk of the quilt. And I'm trying really hard to making my stitches uniform.

    Sephie, thanks for the reassurance that I can quilt on this machine! I'll keep trying. I want to make many full/queen size quilts for each of my kids here soon Oh and one for Hubby and me too.
    Have you tried a top stitch needle? I sometimes have to go to this.

  17. #17
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Just another question for you pros out there: I purchased some C&C 30 weight quilting thread. Should I now buy a 90/14 top stitch needle, or a 100/16 top stitch needle?
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  18. #18
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NZquilter View Post
    Just another question for you pros out there: I purchased some C&C 30 weight quilting thread. Should I now buy a 90/14 top stitch needle, or a 100/16 top stitch needle?
    I would think a 16 top stitch for a 30wt thread--that's fairly thick.

  19. #19
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    More Help Please!

    Please help!! I've spent the past week ripping out half the quilting and spent over $30 in supplies to help my FMQ (machiners gloves, top stitch needles, new thread ect.) I'm trying it again and now my top thread is wrapping around the needle every few stitches. Is the eye of the needle now too big? My pressed foot has been lowered. What is wrong? Is it my machine after all? I'm nearly near tears. This machine, as simple and small as it is, was a gift from my in-laws last Christmas, and they would be very hurt if they bought me a lemon. I'm ready to give up on quilting. This is my En Provonce MQ, where my piecing was near show quality and now I'm ruinening it with continuous ripping out stitches.
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  20. #20
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    I can't remember if you answered already, but are you using a hopping/embroidery/FMQ foot? The kind with the circle or C shape at the bottom?

    Are your feed dogs down? Up? I do it with mine down, but I know Leah Day leaves hers up and you can cover them with a note card.

    Is your quilt well supported around the machine so that it's not catching on the corners of the machine?

    When you're not FMQ and just piecing normally, do you have issues with the thread skipping at all? I ask because I just bought a cheap Singer to use downstairs when I'm with the baby and toddler, and I'll be returning it because when I piece with it, it skips stitches randomly and the thread will wrap around the needle and jam. That's even with a new needle, Aurifil, and straight stitching.

    How did you baste your quilt? I know many others have had success with spray basting, but I must use too much because I always have problems whenever I do it - even if I iron the sandwich before quilting. The thread always breaks, gets wrapped around the needle, jams, skipped stitches, you name it and I've had it!

  21. #21
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I can do FMQ on my dinky mechanical costco Brother machine. It is not fussy with thread at all, will use any of them but very fine ones. I hardly change a needle on that machine. I do notice, though, that sometimes the thread jumps out of the hook in the bobbin case and gives wonky stitching. It is a horizontal bobbin. I have to go back sometimes and pull it into the hook and be sure it is seated properly. I set the stitch length to zero and don't cover the feed dogs (they don't drop and it isn't a problem). I read somewhere that on some machines, the tension is better with the feed dogs up and zero stitch length. Let us know how it goes.
    Alyce

  22. #22
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    I believe I have fixed my problem! Thank you everyone!! I pulled out an old FMQ foot, (hopping foot,) that I used with my old Brother Runaway that I gave to my sister years ago. It's not the foot that came with this machine, but I think the spring is better(??). I took out my top stitch needle and replaced it with my regular 100/16 needle. My feed dogs have been down the whole time. So, so far it's going well.

    Thank you all for your help and support! I used to be able to FMQ a full size quilt quite well on my Brother Runaway, so I know it's do-able. I just had to think back to what I used to do. I think I cracked it
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

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    So glad to hear it's going better for you! Not all feet are created equal, apparently!

  24. #24
    DJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sephie View Post
    I have a Janome Magnolia 7318 that has 6.5" of harp space and I love to FMQ. I've done up to a king size quilt on mine and I'm having a blast with it. How fast are you stitching? Have you tried slowing down the motion of your hands? Also, what kind of thread are you using in the top and in the bobbin?
    OMG! How did you do that?!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ View Post
    OMG! How did you do that?!
    Not easily, but it can be done and it was pretty fun in the end. I learned a ton about FMQ on a small machine doing that. I just finished my new baby's quilt (55 x 65) and it was super easy.

    I think oftentimes we forget to consider the shape and height of the harp - we tend to concentrate only on the maximum length of the bed of the machine. My Magnolia has a roughly squarish shaped throat, so it's got room for me to really scrunch the quilt up in there.

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