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Help?!? My first quilt - needle problems...

Help?!? My first quilt - needle problems...

Old 07-15-2012, 10:19 AM
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Unhappy Help?!? My first quilt - needle problems...

Hi everybody. I'm new to the site and hoping someone can help me. I have pieced together my first quilt, made my sandwhich and have started machine quilting it with my free motion foot. I'm trying my hand at the stipple stitch and did about a 4th of the quilt last night without a problem. I was actually pretty proud of myself. But...today has not went as well. So far I have broken 4 needles. I have a Singer Fashion Mate 5500 machine (nothing super fancy). I am unable to turn the feed dogs off with this machine, I can only cover them with a darning plate that came with it which is just plastic. When the needles break it seems as they though they are hitting the darning plate (judging by the sound I hear)?? I sew fine for a couple or 3 minutes and then it happens suddenly. I have double checked and my needle is in the center position and the plate is secure and correct in it's placing. I'm wondering if anyone has any input as to possible causes? I'm getting very aggrivated. Is it possible that I could be moving my quilt too quickly and actually bending the needle over the plate? Also... what needle size do you suggest to use for machine quilting (100% cotton and low loft polyester batting). Thank you so much for any help you might be able to give me.

Last edited by WooPigChick; 07-15-2012 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:03 AM
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the needle size is dependant on the thread being used- not the fabric being sewn-
you could easily be pulling too much- bending your needle to hit the plate- it takes some time practicing to match your hand speed and machine speed. set your quilt aside- make a practice sandwich & do a little practicing- to get into a rhythm again...what did you change today from what you were doing yesturday? what kind of needle are you using? the size of the needle needs to be right for the thread- if that wasn't right you would be having stitch quality/tension problems or thread breakage- so it is probably correct. but the type of needle may not be right for the activity- but i bet you are just pulling too much...relax- put on some music- get into a flow- practice a bit-
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:18 PM
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Foot goes fast, fabric goes slow, practice, practice. Going around curves will make the needle break if you are going to fast w/the fabric.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:28 PM
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I would assume the darning plate you put over the feed dogs is for straight stitch, small hole?? If so, don't use it for FMQ. I took a class and the instructor said not to lower feed dogs. It went fine. I usually do lower them though but it might not be something you must do.
try doing FMQ with the feed dogs up as usual and don't use that cover plate. use your main one that hopefully has a wider opening. good luck. sometimes it's just a bad day over all.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:29 PM
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If you didn't put in a new needle today, do so now. A dull needle is not our friend.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:31 PM
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I agree with trying to FMQ with the feed dogs up. Some quilters have better control doing it this way, although it probably depends a lot on the machine as well. If you do this, *be sure* to set stitch length to 0 so the feed dogs don't move!

My best guess is that you are pulling enough to bend the needle. Maybe try a needle one size larger. The bigger the needle, the harder it is to bend.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:38 PM
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pulling the fabric too fast which is bending the needle would be my guess. I had that problem when i first started practicing FMQ
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:54 AM
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Hi again everyone. Thank you sooo much for the input and suggestions. My car broke down last night (started with breaking needles and ended with car trouble...it was a bad day INDEED), and so I'm just now getting the opportunity to sit back down at my machine. I will check/try everything mentioned here and see how it goes. Thanks again!!
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:59 AM
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Hi and welcome to the board from Northern California. Love your name. Thanks for the thread as I am going to try to do some FMQ. I will pay attention to this thread and see all the suggestions. BrendaK
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Dolphyngyrl View Post
pulling the fabric too fast which is bending the needle would be my guess. I had that problem when i first started practicing FMQ
I agree. If you move your fabric too fast, the needle doesn't have time to completely come out of the fabric, so you catch it and deflect it. Doesn't take much. Because the needle is being pulled out of it's correct path, the needle goes down at the wrong angle and hits the plate.
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