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Thread: Machine keeps making tiny, tiny stitches. What should I do? Aurora 440

  1. #1
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    Machine keeps making tiny, tiny stitches. What should I do? Aurora 440

    Today I started the quilting on my husband's birthday quilt. I did the first round of stabilizing stitches around the perimeter of the quilt. Everything was fine. Then at just about the end, the little oil can light came on (indicating cleaning and oiling). I finished up and then cleaned and oiled the machine. Ran it with no thread and then rethreaded and did a test swatch. No problems.

    I start with the vertical sashing in the center and I continue to get these tiny, tiny stitches. As if something is catching. I take the quilt out, try again same thing. Rethread top and bobbin. Same thing.

    I am using my walking foot with stitch-in-the-ditch foot but this is not the first quilt I've done using this and I've never had this problem. What else can I check/try?

  2. #2
    Senior Member sylviak's Avatar
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    Check for piece of thread caught somewhere: bobbin area, tension disc, or even the walking foot. Hope that helps and it's not something more ominous. Use some scrap fabric to try it out.

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    Have you tried changing the needle?

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    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    I know you said that you did a test swatch right after oiling and re-threading and that everything was okay. Did you do a test swatch a second time after having problems on the quilt, and was that test swatch good again? If so, I agree that it sounds like something on the quilt is catching or hanging heavy and that the material is not being allowed to feed freely. JMHO :-). I hope someone here can help you.

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    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I'd go back and check everything one more time. It is probably some little something that you over looked. Have you pulled your feeddog plate off and cleaned there. Lint collects under there too and when there is enough buildup, it won't let the feed dogs work properly which messes up your stitches.
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    Does your machine have the adjustable foot pressure? If so, check that you have enough pressure to advance the quilt. Check to make sure your feed dogs are up to advance the fabric. Sometimes if the sandwich is really thick you need to put the stitch length up a bit. Check your walking foot to see that it is moving well and connected properly. Check your thread paths to make sure nothing is catching.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hattie Frances's Avatar
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    Did you accidently reset your stitch length? May sound simple, but I have done it.

  8. #8
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    When my walking foot 'hangs up' on a thick spot (multi-layer seam for instance) it does that. It happens as you gat past the seam and the back side of the foot does not move forward correctly.
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    My Brother machine did that. Then it started to stitch backwards! Anyway, I returned it for another and it has been great. Make sure there is nothing down in the bobbin area-thread, broken needle part, etc.-and hopefully you won't be looking for a new machine.

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    Ok..when I first started on the first set of stitches I began with a new Microtex needle and 50wt thread. Then I did the cleaning, under the throat plate, ran a thin sheet of paper through the tension disks all clear.

    I just changed to a topstich needle because I did read that sometimes a heavier needle is better for the thicker layers. New needle and I changed to a 40wt thread. It does feel like the foot or quilt is catching on somehting but I can't feel what. I also unthreaded and rethreaded the top and bobbin again. Still catching.

    I tried to duplicate the problem with a test swatch using heavy muslin and the same batting. Stitches still small, so I took off the walking foot and tried with a regular foot. Stitches are perfect now. I took off the sole on the walking foot and reinstalled it. It seems to be working a bit better. I will check the pressure foot setting.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  11. #11
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    Did you maybe drop the feed dogs?

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    Super Member mermaid's Avatar
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    Feed dogs--that was my first tho't also!

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    No, the feed dogs were still up. The stitches are fine with a regular foot. I think it is the walking foot. I didn't do anything with it last night. I thought we could both use a little break. When I take my son to school later I'll see if I have better luck today. I really hope that I do. I need to have this completed by September 13th!

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    Have you got the feed dog pressure set to 0?

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    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    I had this behavior of tiny stitches when using a generic walking foot on my old White machine and I had to replace the foot. If I remember correctly, the walking feet just sort of fell apart, the soles wouldn't stay on anymore, etc.. Those walking feet just did not last for me. At $20 a pop and they only lasted through quilting one quilt it was getting expensive for me! But, then, I too bought the 440QE and have not had a moments trouble with Bernina's walking foot. You could be right that it is the foot especially since you are having the same problem using a small swatch. I know it is a hassle but at this point I think I would take my foot into the dealer (with some sandwiched swatches) and compare its performance against a walking foot that the dealer owns. I am sorry you are having this trouble - it sounds very frustrating. PS: I expect my Bernina and its accessories to work flawlessly each and every time - so far I have been lucky and love my machine. I have only quilted about 15 quilts using the walking foot but it is still going strong.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rj.neihart's Avatar
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    When I cleaned my machine, after that feel of something wasn't sounding right, I found a tiny piece of a straight pin stuck in the feeder. I'm glad I stopped immediately when I felt this - could have ruined my machine!

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    Senior Member Kath12's Avatar
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    It may be the walking foot. Sometimes it needs a drop of oil too. I have had the walking foot arm not moving properly (It was stalled in the up position and didn't come down to move the feet. Also make sure that the arm of the foot is attached properly to the needle bar.
    Kathy Stewart from IA
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    I was told by my dealer to use a little WD40 on my walking foot, move the arm up and down manually and then let it sit on a paper towel for awhile to absorb excess oil. Hope this works for you.

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    Senior Member quilting in my60s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudyTheSewer View Post
    I know you said that you did a test swatch right after oiling and re-threading and that everything was okay. Did you do a test swatch a second time after having problems on the quilt, and was that test swatch good again? If so, I agree that it sounds like something on the quilt is catching or hanging heavy and that the material is not being allowed to feed freely. JMHO :-). I hope someone here can help you.
    It sounds like the quilt is getting hung up on something and not feeding freely. I have had this happen and had to figure out to place the quilt on sewing machine cabinet with the back against the wall and an ironing board to the left to help hold up the quilt. Hope that helps.
    quilting with my dogs

  20. #20
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    There is a Yahoo group for Bernina machines. I would ask there, where there is lots of Bernina specific experience, including a Bernina tech.

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    Try looking under the needle plate. Last time that happeed to me the underside was loaded with lint. I never thought to clean there.

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    Are your feed dogs up?

  23. #23
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    I am so sorry you're having this problem. There is nothing more frustrating than to sit down at your machine and, while it had been working fine just a few hours before, now it's really misbehaving! I had something happen (not exactly the same thing, of course), but I started to sew appliques on a whole-cloth top, and my machine wouldn't do anything! After looking around a little, I discovered that the tension spring on the bobbin -- well the screws had come out and the tension spring was lying just beneath the bobbin case. Believe it or not, as tiny as those screws are, we found both of them and now my machine hums along perfectly (that's really nice for an old lady -1963). Hope you can get it resolved. Best wishes.

    Jeanette Frantz

  24. #24
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    If these things don't help, take it to your dealer/repair shop and let them look at it. It could be the tinest of thread of lint that you may not be able to see. Since it works with the regular foot, I would bet it is in your walking foot. They can tell you that too. Good luck.

  25. #25
    Super Member d.rickman's Avatar
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    This same thing happened to me, and the bottom of the walking foot was not screwed onto the base evenly, the Bernina dealer checked out the foot for me and this was the problem, now that it is placed on properly, the stitches are all the way they should look, even and regulated properly. Best of Luck with yours. Sounds like you may have found that also to be your problem.
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