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Thread: Just wondering about tension....

  1. #1
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Just wondering about tension....

    Is it possible that "the right" tension for your machine can be different depending on whether you are piecing 2 pieces of fabric together or if you are walking foot quilting through fabric and batting? I have my bobbin tension set quite loose but am getting nice, unpuckered straight line quilting with even stitches on both sides. I have just read an article that says to set perfect tension you should sew on the bias across two 5" squares of fabric and then pull at each corner where you started and stopped sewing until the threads break. The top thread and the bottom thread should both break at the same place indicating good tension. When I do this my top thread breaks but the bottom doesn't....I'm guessing because it is set at a loose tension. But my stitching on the quilt looks good....so do I have bad tension despite it looking ok?

  2. #2
    Super Member quiltedsunshine's Avatar
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    I'd keep it where it looks good to you.

    At the shop, we use a different method. We set the machine to do a zig-zag stitch, with dark thread on top and light thread in the bobbin (cotton thread). Then, we want the top thread to just "tick" to the back side. Then when you go to sew a straight stitch it's usually right where it should be.

    I do set my tension differently for different applications. That's why they made our tensions adjustable.
    Annette in Utah

  3. #3
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I've always heard to use the zig zag method the Annette mentioned to test for tension. I do adjust tension for different circumstances. I'd use whatever looks best to you
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  4. #4
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Thanks for your replies....appreciated. Will give the zig zag method a try once I've finished this quilt...only binding to go. Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    Thread type and size and needle type and size are important for tension too. Lot of factors come into play. I usually start with 0 and go up until the stitches look like I want them to look when I change the amount of fabric, needle type or thread type. I keep a notebook handy to write the tension setting for each configuration. It saves me a lot of time as I usually use the same ones
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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  6. #6
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    As long as the stitches look good to me I don't worry about it.
    Another Phyllis
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  7. #7
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
    As long as the stitches look good to me I don't worry about it.
    Me neither and I do my quilting on a Brother PQ1500 which is a straight stitch, so can't use the zig zag method. It doesn't seem to be finicky re: tension on piecing or quilting.
    Alyce

  8. #8
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I have the Brother 1500 too and I have to change the tension for the thread type to match the pressure from the foot. I had a tech explain that to me as the color coding is the silliest thing on that machine. But it is one of the best machines I have and so easy to have repaired if needed.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

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