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Thread: free motion quilting

  1. #1
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    free motion quilting

    I have a pfaff expression 4.0 machine and lately when I do free motion quilting on my quilts, I have been breaking needles. My quilt has a backing of fleece, which I have done many with on my old pfaff, my dealer looked at the machine and thinks all setting are correct. She thought maybe quilt was just to thick. Has this happened to anyone else? Any solutions? Thanks in Advance.

  2. #2
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    There was a recent post and the question was ask about how fast you are moving the fabric.

  3. #3
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    At one point I wondered if that was the problem, slowed down but it still keeps breaking the needles.

  4. #4
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    What type of needle are you using? Have you tried a titanium needle?

  5. #5
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    are you using a free-motion (hopping/darning foot?)
    you could be pulling on the fabric more than normal-
    if you've been doing this for a while- and this is a new developement prehaps there is something (lint) build up in the bobbin area? or could just be not the right needle for the thread for the fabric combination- but it really sounds as if you are pulling too much on the fabric- machine is going slower than you are-try speeding up the speed of the machine- while slowing down your pulling/manuvering-and the correct foot in place correctly-
    sometimes it takes a long time to get the hang of it on a new machine- make a couple small practice pieces- and work with those to get the *bugs* worked out before trying to do an actual quilt- you may need to gradually increase the size of your practice piece before you are successful on a large quilt....with a small practice piece you may be able to (pin-point) the problem- actually see what happens that causes the needle to break---is it hitting the foot? or the plate? or bending?...with a small piece you should be able to see better the cause- then will have a better idea how to fix it
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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    yes, the foot is important. it has a spring on it that helps keep the fabric still in the split second the needle is in the fabric. you move slowly, the foot speed is faster.
    "From hence only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us"
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  7. #7
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    Is the quilt sandwich supported all around your machine? I'm thinking perhaps the drag of a heavy quilt might cause the needle to bend under the pressure. Make sure you puddle the spot you are working on.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Grambi's Avatar
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    I had this trouble with my QE 4.0 on the last quilt I did. I think I broke at least six needles just FMQ the border. I'm pretty sure that it was my fault. I was using the single hole plate and was pulling a bit too much on my quilt causing the needle to hit the plate. I switched out plates and the problems improved but didn't go away completely. I still think that it was my pulling too hard but I went ahead and took it to my dealer for an annual cleaning and to have him check the issue out. Haven't picked it up yet, so don't have any suggestion other than to slow down your movement or speed up the needle speed a bit.
    Bambi

  9. #9
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    My guess is the feed dogs are catching on the fleece causing drag and breaking the needle. Try a sheet of tissue paper on the back of your quilt to see if it helps. (It will tear away easily if you spritz it with some water along the stitches or dab a Q-tip in water and run it along the stitches.) Can you lighten the presser foot pressure or is it automatic on the 4.0?

  10. #10
    Super Member Pat P's Avatar
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    I have had this problem in the past when FMQ== not with fleece. Think my problem might have been speed but also when you happen to quilt thru intersections where multiple fabrics meet, try to avoid those areas now or slow way down.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Grambi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grambi View Post
    I had this trouble with my QE 4.0 on the last quilt I did. I think I broke at least six needles just FMQ the border. I'm pretty sure that it was my fault. I was using the single hole plate and was pulling a bit too much on my quilt causing the needle to hit the plate. I switched out plates and the problems improved but didn't go away completely. I still think that it was my pulling too hard but I went ahead and took it to my dealer for an annual cleaning and to have him check the issue out. Haven't picked it up yet, so don't have any suggestion other than to slow down your movement or speed up the needle speed a bit.
    Just wanted to update: I picked my machine up this afternoon and the dealer didn't find anything wrong except that it was "really, really dirty". So will see how it does now when I get a chance to sew. I am pretty obsessive about cleaning out my bobbin area (taking out the bobbin case and cleaning everything reachable) every one or two bobbins. I find it so frustrating that we aren't able to clean further on our own. With the small amount of sewing and quilting that I've done in the past year, I would never have guessed that it was that bad. My husband tells me that we have some of those tiny vacuum attachments around the house somewhere. I'm going to start using those to try to clean better and hope that helps.
    Bambi

  12. #12
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    I have the same machine. I also have been having trouble with the thread breaking when I do free motion machine quilting. I have had it in to be looked at several times.....After cleaning it and replacing a part, it is still breaking threads. (And it is just your average 50 or 60 weight thread, nothing fancy...) I have been told I need to adjust the tension.....

    I hope that works!! I'm trying to complete a Christmas gift.

  13. #13
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    Smile

    To all who responded to my thread, thank you. I think I have solved my problem of breaking my needles. Someone from a long arm dealership suggested I use a size 16 or 18 needle. It has worked like a charm and I have just about finished my quilt. Down to the binding.

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