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Thread: Fmq

  1. #1
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    Fmq

    I'm a newbie at this. I finally got the stitches right on top and bottom but now my upper thread winds around my needle as I sew and breaks the thread if I don't catch it in time. Sometimes the thread shreds. I've tried changing the top tension but that doesn't help. I've tried sewing faster but that didn't help either.

    Any suggestions?

    Kathy R.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Patti25314's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are using the wrong size needle. I use a Top Stitch 100 when I do FMQ.

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    I talked with the shop where I bought my Janome and was told to use 80/14 for machine quilting but I'm ready to try something else. Of course, I live an hour and half away from town but will put it on my list. Thanks

  4. #4
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I agree with the recommendation of a larger needle. I use a 16 or 18 for quilting. Does your machine thread the needle from front to back, or left to right?

  5. #5
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    For me with FMQ it all comes down to speed of machine vs. speed of hands. I can use the same needle I piece with as long as I coordinate my speed correctly. Medium machine speed. Slower hands. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it is easy or that I do it well, but I can now let things I have FMQ'd been seen by family and friends. For a long time, I just pitched them in the trash.

  6. #6
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    If the thread is wrapping around your needle ... are you sure you have the needle threaded correctly?
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  7. #7
    Super Member Gail B's Avatar
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    I also use the same size needle I use for piecing. I was at a quilt show a couple of weeks ago & was told by one of the gals that you shouldn't change tension for FMQ. I never change my tension & it works for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    I agree with the recommendation of a larger needle. I use a 16 or 18 for quilting. Does your machine thread the needle from front to back, or left to right?
    It threads front to back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gail B View Post
    I also use the same size needle I use for piecing. I was at a quilt show a couple of weeks ago & was told by one of the gals that you shouldn't change tension for FMQ. I never change my tension & it works for me.
    I did a baby quilt with just some simple hearts in the blocks for my first project. The top stitches were pretty good but the bottom was often railroady. I didn't change the tension. However...my thread never broke. I've left the feed dogs up and covered them for this queen-sized quilt. I'll lower them today to see it that helps. I've read where lowering the feed dogs sometimes messes with tension so that was why I left them up this time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    If the thread is wrapping around your needle ... are you sure you have the needle threaded correctly?
    Yes, I've gone over and over the route. Ugh!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gail B View Post
    I also use the same size needle I use for piecing. I was at a quilt show a couple of weeks ago & was told by one of the gals that you shouldn't change tension for FMQ. I never change my tension & it works for me.
    If dropping the feed dogs doesn't work today, I'll try going back to regular tension. I'm just afraid that I'll get crappy stitches again. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    When I start to stitch, I ALWAYS make sure I am holding the two tails of the threads, once you get going you should be find. I do agree with the larger needle and it should be a topsitch needle that has a "Larger Eye".....
    I change the tension IF I am using a thicker batting....are you sure your Feed Dogs are down.....
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  13. #13
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gail B View Post
    I was at a quilt show a couple of weeks ago & was told by one of the gals that you shouldn't change tension for FMQ. I never change my tension & it works for me.
    There are SO many ifs, ands and buts ... however there is no absolute!

    It it works for you to not change your tension, that's great.
    The variables are endless.

    To be advised that it should NEVER be done, is oh so poor advice.
    Be careful when someone says always, must, never ... they're almsot always wrong!!!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborahlees View Post
    When I start to stitch, I ALWAYS make sure I am holding the two tails of the threads, once you get going you should be find. I do agree with the larger needle and it should be a topsitch needle that has a "Larger Eye".....
    I change the tension IF I am using a thicker batting....are you sure your Feed Dogs are down.....
    I put the feed dogs down, still no improvement. I changed the top tension gradually, still no improvement. I changed the bobbin tension by a quarter turn of the screw. Bottom stitches went back to being crappy so I returned the screw to where I was getting good stitches. And yes I always hold onto the tail. It's only when I get on down the stitching line that the top thread either wind around the needle or it starts to fray and breaks. I would think the looping is because the tension is too loose but the fraying tells me the tension's too tight. I'll just have to take the machine back to the dealer along with my quilt and show the quilting expert there just what it's doing. Thanks to everyone for their responses.

    Kathy

  15. #15
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    is the thread feeding in horizonial or vertical?? Might try using a cone thread holder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patti25314 View Post
    Sounds like you are using the wrong size needle. I use a Top Stitch 100 when I do FMQ.
    I was looking on-line for top stitch needles. I have found 100/16. Would that be correct to buy? Thanks

  17. #17
    Super Member sew_Tracy's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like the thread might be catching somewhere. I was having a breakage problem and some knotting. I was advised to make sure my needle was sharp and maybe try a different thread. I was using a heavier "quilting" thread. Switched out threads and needle and life was good.
    From the artist formerly known as Missus Fear...Hi, my name is Tracy and I am a hobbyaholic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by newbee3 View Post
    is the thread feeding in horizonial or vertical?? Might try using a cone thread holder.
    I have a vertical thread feeder so I'm using cone now. I have ordered some thread that Leah Day recommends and I ordered the 100/16 Top-stitch needles. Hopefully, in a few days my troubles will be over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Missus Fear View Post
    Sounds to me like the thread might be catching somewhere. I was having a breakage problem and some knotting. I was advised to make sure my needle was sharp and maybe try a different thread. I was using a heavier "quilting" thread. Switched out threads and needle and life was good.
    Well, I've ordered new thread and needles so I'll report back when I've tried them. One good thing about being postmaster of our little town I know exactly when my stuff comes in.

  20. #20
    QM
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    I have never had this particular problem, although I certainly sympathize. Do you "set" the thread in the tensioners? (pull slightly to get it clear in). Always thread with the presser foot up. I say this because it sounds like an upper thread tension problem to me. Speeding up usually does not help with FMQ problems. Are you using all of the "thread path" to control the thread? There are only a few reasons to bother changing the tension setting, such as extra light/heavy thread. Usually if I have thread shredding, I suspect 1) a needle burr 2) lint in the machine, especially around the feed dogs. 3) burr on bobbin/bobbin case. Of course, any time I have problems my general approach is to stop, clean/oil the machine, completly rethread it. Both my quilting instructor and my dealer say this.

    I hope I have not been too heavy handed with my answer.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by QM View Post
    I have never had this particular problem, although I certainly sympathize. Do you "set" the thread in the tensioners? (pull slightly to get it clear in). Always thread with the presser foot up. I say this because it sounds like an upper thread tension problem to me. Speeding up usually does not help with FMQ problems. Are you using all of the "thread path" to control the thread? There are only a few reasons to bother changing the tension setting, such as extra light/heavy thread. Usually if I have thread shredding, I suspect 1) a needle burr 2) lint in the machine, especially around the feed dogs. 3) burr on bobbin/bobbin case. Of course, any time I have problems my general approach is to stop, clean/oil the machine, completly rethread it. Both my quilting instructor and my dealer say this.

    I hope I have not been too heavy handed with my answer.
    Thank you, QM. Not heavy handed at all. Yes, I've rethreaded so many times I can probably do it blindfolded. I've changed needles, and not using feed dogs. But I will soon try new thread and needles so I hope to have a success story in a few day.

  22. #22
    Junior Member Retiredandquilting's Avatar
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    I use a size 16 needle and Hobbs cotton/poly blend for batting.
    Sue In Bloomfield, NY

  23. #23
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    If the thread is shredding it indicates the eye of the needle is too small for the thickness of the thread.
    Try using a metalfil or topstitch needle size 90 or 100. They also have a slot on the shank for the thread to nestle in whilst the needle goes through the fabric. Change the needle about every 8 hours of sewing. If you hear a popping sound as you sew, the needle definitely needs to be changed.

  24. #24
    Senior Member sew4nin's Avatar
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    The only thing I could possibly add is to try using Sewer's Aid on your needle thread. I had a problem with thread breaking when I first started fmqing. I tried EVERYTHING. I really believe it was the Sewer's Aid that finally solved my problem. I used to be able to buy it at Hancock, but the last time I had to order online. It comes in a bottle that looks like fray check. If you are placing an online order, I also highly recommend bobbin genies. I think sometimes it comes down to the right combination of "tricks" for each person and machine.
    Good Luck and keep us posted.

  25. #25
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    Are you using the round pressser foot with the spring? You should be. I get a mess when I forget to change the feet.

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