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Thread: Janome thread tension problem while quilting, advice?

  1. #1
    Zoo
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    Hey All,
    I'm new to the board and hoping someone can help me with a problem that's come up with quilting using my Janome 419S.

    I was quilting a lap quilt for myself and things were going along great, and I was having a blast since it's my first attempt at machine quilting anything. The stitches were locking fine until I was halfway done, then, not so much. I started to develop small loops on the underside of the fabric, then big sloppy loops, despite the fact that my thread tension is set at 9. And let me repeat, the quilting was going along fine for almost half the quilt.

    Some tech info: I'm quilting with the feed dogs dropped and using a darning foot made by Janome that was recommended to me for quilting on my machine, the machine itself is 3 or 4 years old. And I haven't been quilting for hours on end so the machine can't be overheating.

    So I read through my owners manual and tried the very short list of suggestions to fix the problem, when none of those worked I tried everything else I could think of including cleaning and oiling the machine, changing needles, changing to different types of needles, changing the thread, changing the foot, playing with the thread tension more, glaring at it etc etc etc.
    The weird thing is the machine sews fine when the feed dogs are engaged and I'm using a walking foot, put the darning foot on and it's back to being a disaster!

    Has anyone else encountered this problem with a Janome or any other sewing machine? Any advice? I really don't want to send it in to the repair guy (would rather spend the money of fabric!) unless I have to.
    Any input would be appreciated!
    Zoo

  2. #2
    Super Member mary quite contrary's Avatar
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    Are you sure you have your foot down?

  3. #3
    Zoo
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    Wow, that was fast! And yes, the foot is down.
    The whole thing is just really irritating me because it was working fine, then decided not to work fine, and now I'm stuck half-way through a project I was really having fun with.
    Zoo

  4. #4
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    check your bobbin ... see if any lint - short pieces of thread or something like that. is in that area.. also make sure you have the thread thru all the tension loops... do some practice runs and check the movement of your hand speed in relation to the speed of the machine... you may be moving faster than you are sewing or vice versa..

  5. #5
    Super Member mary quite contrary's Avatar
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    Completely rethread your machine checking for a bump on the thread or lint somewhere.

  6. #6
    Zoo
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    All great advice, unfortunetly I tried all of it before posting.

    I cleaned out all the lint below the needle plate and even took the bobbin housing out and clean it. That was after I re-threaded the machine, but before I tried changing the thread. I also took off the top housing to see if the problem was there...mind you, I've never even looked in there before so I wouldn't know a problem if I saw one.
    I've also tried running the machine at variouse speeds with my hand going at variouse speeds with the fabric. Still no dice.
    Be honest, am I dealing with a gremlin?
    Zoo

  7. #7
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    my 4800 does that too. It seems to like the outer half of the bobbin thread but not the inner half. If you switched out your empty bobbin with another full one, it might have been the bobbin was not the same size or maker. Janome's are finicky about bobbins. Take the throat plate off, take the bobbin race out and clean well for any lint. Mine gets cranky if there is even a tiny piece of lint down in there.

  8. #8
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    i've had the same thing happen on two other brands of machine, also. i guess i'll have it happen, sooner or later, on my janome but i've only had it since November ... knock on wood.

    unfortunately, my point is that i don't think it was the machines. in each case it turned out to be some teeniny little detail of somethingorother i'd done not exactly right. (do NOT ask how many times it turned out that i had put the bobbin in backwards. :shock: :oops: :roll: :lol: )

    the critical clue may not be what steps or combination of steps you've tried to fix it. rather, what condition or combination of conditions existed when it started.

    there is - for me - one unanswered question in your specific predicament. did the problem start while you were sewing? or did it start after you'd loaded something new ... top thread? bobbin? needle?

    if it started while you were sewing ... do you remember how much thread was left in the bobbin? on the top spool? how long you had been using that needle?

    if it started when you began sewing after changing something, what was that "something"?

    take out the top thread. take out the bobbin. take out the needle. put the feed dogs back up. put any regular (or the walking foot) back on. reset the tension to the automatic setting.

    walk away and take a break. stay away from the machine for at least an hour. do somethin - anything - that will distract your attention so you can come back to it with a clear, refreshed mind.

    start again with scraps, a needle you know is new and of the same size and type you were using successfully, a bobbin of the same type and size you were using when all was well - full of whatever you had in the bobbin when it was working right, and the top thread you were using when things were singin'. just a two-fabric sandwich first.

    if it sews properly, add batting to the sandwich.
    if it sews properly, switch to the freemotion foot and drop the dogs. don't fiddle yet with the tension.
    if it starts building a bird'snest at this point, the problem must be with the dogs. maybe they're not locked all the way down. maybe there's something gunking up their works that you can't see or get to. or ... and i really hope this isn't it ... maybe it's time to take them in for some professional "training".

  9. #9
    Super Member gcathie's Avatar
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    Patrice I just love the way you put things.....and so many good points.....surely one of those will work I'm sure...:-)

  10. #10
    Zoo
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    OMG babeegirl, how did you stummble across that? :shock: I would have never thought of that! I just tried it and it did improve things but not solve the problem totaly. I've already cleaned out all the lint etc too.
    Thing that totaly irritates me is that it was fine for almost half of the quilt, and now it's having problems. If it was having problem right from the start I would have assumed this machine just wasn't up to the task.
    So annoying!
    Zoo

  11. #11
    Super Member Bill'sBonBon's Avatar
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    Hello, I have a Kenmore wich is made by Janome. I also have had that happen on my machine. The bobbin as you said did help me also. But I did discover my tension has to be in the neighborhood of 2 for freemotion quilting. It doesn't say that in my book but I will get the loops and the railroad tracks if it isn't on the 2. This may not help, hope it does I know how agravating that is.
    Bill'sBonBon

  12. #12
    Senior Member Stitching4Fun's Avatar
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    I was quilting with my longarm on a Christmas present for my son and I was almost finished (and things were going so smoothly....I just knew it was too good to be true!) when I was starting to take it off the frame I notice that the back stitching about 18 inches deep to go on the quilt was all loose underneath.......I had to take it all out. It started when I changed the bobbin. I should have paid more attention to it like I did the rest of the quilt as I was working, but figured it was going so smooth that it would stay that way. But...........when I changed the bobbin I hesitated with it because it didn't seem like it was wound the same as the others. Boy was that a huge mistake. Cost me alot of time too!! So after taking it out and winding more bobbins I had not one problem finishing it. So when mine happened it was the winding of the bobbin that made the difference.

    I also have been sewing before and when the bobbin was getting low, the stitching was not the same. I could tell when it got to that point. Also I have gotten thread that twists when you sew and that makes it break or not sew right. I have had to dispose of some thread because of it.

    Barb

  13. #13
    Zoo
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    PatriceJ, I was so busy answereing babeeg's post I didn't see yours! Lots of good points, and I have been trying to be scientific about finding out what the problem is...expecialy since glaring at the darn thing isn't working. (Neither does swearing).
    To answere you're questions:
    - I noticed the problem while I was sewing. Ive been marking the pattern for 4 or 5 blocks, then sewing them, removing the quilt from the machine, cutting loose threads, marking more blocks, and then repeating the whole process.
    It was when I had just sew a few blocks and had flipped the quilt over to cut the threads that I noticed the problem.
    - I was halfway through a bobbin when the problem started, and had not changed the top thread since beggining. The needle was the same one I started with too, it was brand new.
    I'm working on another sewing project right now, a non-quilting one, and will probobly give it another shot later tonight after the machine's had a chance to get over itself. :?

    Hey bill's BonBon (hee hee!) If I try doing this with the tension at 2 I get major bird's nests! The quilting I have managed to do right has been with the tension at 9.

    Stitching 4Fun, I might be sending you this freakin quilt to finish on your long arm if I can get the machine to behave!!!!!

    Thanks again for all the input!
    Zoo

  14. #14
    Zoo
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    Success!!! :D
    I did some "normal" sewing earlier in the evening then followed the steps PatriceJ suggested to re-introduce my machine to quilting and I've been happily at it most of the night.
    I still don't know what the problem was, so it might rear it's ugly head again, but for now I'm back at it.
    Thanks everyone for your help!!
    Barb

  15. #15
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    i just love a happy ending! :mrgreen:

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