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Thread: Please help me. I have a mess.

  1. #26
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    I appreciate all the advice. I will definitely rebaste and try again. I used two boards when I basted it so it would be tight. I'll try to tape it down this time and also use the basting spray.
    I have a couple of questions. How can I set the pressure on the walking foot? Is the "tension" the same as the "pressure" on the foot? I have the tension set at "1". I have a dial that controls tension, but I don't see any other setting for pressure. Also, how would I control the bobbin tension? My machine is a Brother with a Disney emblem. It has a drop in bobbin with a case that doesn't normally come out. I take the bobbin case out when I clean the lint out. Does the little screw on the bobbin case affect the bobbin tension?
    I hope these questions don't sound too dumb. I have gotten some great advice and I appreciate it so much.

  2. #27
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    When I took a quilting class, we took a sample sandwich and drew lines across it at 1" intervals marking each with a number starting with 1. Then we set the tension to 1 and sewed from the first line across to the second line. There, we changed the tension to 2 and sewed from line 2 to line 3. And so on. At the end, we took the sample out and looked at the front and the back to see which tension worked best.

    As for your problem: I think too that the backing is not taut enough and therefore, the sandwich is too loose. You may want to use the walking foot and make the stitch length longer. At least 3 or 3.5mm.

  3. #28
    Senior Member quilter1943's Avatar
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    I agree with everything here. Wondering if you taped your backing down when you sandwiched everything so that the backing was tight before you started. It looks like you have too much fabric. If you don't want to take it apart, you might be able to just tie it and check it up to experience. It's difficult to tell by just looking at the picture.
    Quote Originally Posted by earthwalker
    Hello - I'm no super expert, when it comes to machine quilting, however, this is how I would proceed - unpick what you have done and put your quilt aside for a little. From what I can see, it looks like your stitch length is really small, from what you describe, your tension is in need of adjustment. Make up a "play" sandwich using similar thickness fabrics and battings to your quilt...then mess about with that and get it spot on before putting that quilt near the machine (this will save much hair tearing and unpicking). You may wish to check your walking foot is fitted/engaged properly and that your machine is lint free, threaded correctly and good to go. Walking feet are not designed for speed, so maybe that could be an issue, and let the machine do the work, don't pull the fabric through, just guide with your hands. Work from the middle out and smooth and check the underside as you go (sorry, I'm not very good with describing sometimes!).

    I am sure other board members will be able to help, so persevere...and happy quilting.

  4. #29
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have to make the backing tight, not taunt, TIGHT! when I machine quilt. I have it almost like a drum when I baste it and I never have puckers or wrinkles. My big quilts, I have a LA baste them for me and I get too much fullness because the backing isn't basted tight enough. I have to smooth the backing out as I machine quilt it. I have never gotten it too tight to distort, it's all I can do to get it tight enough.

  5. #30
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    The dial with numbers on it is your thread tension and should probably be set at 3 or 4 but it varies with the type of thread you're using.

    Presser foot pressure is a knob on top of your machine--usually above the presser foot & takeup lever area. Not all machines have a knob to adjust the pressure. Those that don't have to be adjusted manually which is more than you want to try.

    Bobbin thread tension is set with the tiny screw on the bobbin case. Tiny little turns make big differences so you may want to mark what it is factory set it now with a marker or fingernail polish before you change it.

    My advice for now is to make a small practice sandwich, preferably with the same materials as the real quilt. Change your upper thread tension to 3 and lengthen your stitch length. Spray, pin and/or thread baste your practice sandwich--don't forget to starch the backing first & tape it down taut--and then just play with the upper thread tension & stitch length until you're happy with it. You might also want to try without the walking foot. It's possible that your walking foot is applying too much pressure to the sandwich especially if you don't have an adjustment knob.

  6. #31
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    basting spray is the best invention. Goes on like spray starch holds your quilt top firmly to the batting and nothing moves.

  7. #32
    Senior Member cabinfever's Avatar
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    I agree with all previous suggestions, so won't repeat them here. Here is a good review of various basting methods & links to video tutorials: http://thecuriousquilter.wordpress.c...g-away-again/.
    I also like Sharon Schambers' video on basting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhwNylePFAA.
    Another product many people swear by to prevent thread nests on the back of quilts is to use: "Magic Genie" bobbin washers. These are just a flat silicone washer (think like a 1/2" diameter round disc) of flexible but stiff material with a hole in the center. It goes into your bobbin case before you put in the removeable bobbin full of thread. It helps stop the bobbin from over spinning & leaving too much thread unwound in the bobbin case. They can be found online @ quilt shops and even ebay. You would want the regular for a home machine, not the "Long-arm" ones.
    Best wishes, Cathy

  8. #33
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    I tape the back to a flat surface, then pin. The first few rows (I quilt diagonally) I pin in the seam with the head of the pin so I can remove them as I go. No basting, no walking foot, and go slow.

    Before I start, I practice with a small sandwich till the tension and stitch length are just right.

    Don't forget to check the tension on your bobbin case. Sometimes the bobbin is the culprit.

  9. #34
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    Make sure your quilt is supported. Do not let it fall over the edge of your sewing table. That causes the back to move faster than the front, thus the puckering. In quilting, gravity is not your friend!

  10. #35
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    When the back can move directionally as your has it is an indication that your basting is not taut enough.If you are basting with thread, try to make it even in each direction. I prefer spray basting very lightly and on some quilts, do anchor stitching in the ditch to keep the quilt square.If these are done with dissolvable thread, they are easily removed.
    As for the tension, try adjusting on a practice sandwich before you get going on the quilt and you may have more success. All the best with the adjustments.
    (Also make sure you have your quilt supported on a flat surface, and not dragging against you or hanging down from the machine).

  11. #36
    Super Member vivoaks's Avatar
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    I always had this same problem until I bought a walking foot for my machine....like magic!!...no more puckers on the back.

  12. #37
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    A lot of good advice! I will use them as well.

  13. #38
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    This happens to me when my bobbin is not loaded properly. You might reload it.

  14. #39

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    I was machine quilting not with a walking foot, but with a free motion foot and forgot to lower the pressure foot. When I looked at the back it appeared the stitches were just sitting on top of the fabric and when I pulled on them, they pulled out very easily. When I restitched and made sure the pressure foot was lowered, it all stitched fine.

    Yellow Rose

  15. #40
    Super Member Weenween's Avatar
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    I agree with her spray baste and hold very tight all 3 layers I used to have the same problem then holding it very tight solved my problem also..

  16. #41
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    I agree with all of the above, however, in addressing the tension issue - both thread and presser foot:

    You mention a "1" for tension which I assume is the top thread. I use that when I'm machine BASTING an item so that when I'm through quilting, I can do just what's happening to you --- pull the bobbin thread to get a quick release on it. Find the range of your top thread and set it at half way.

    As to the presser foot tension, many (most?) machines today have an automatic presser foot tension setting, i.e., the machine "senses" the thickness of the fabric and adjusts itself. However, on older machines, the presser foot tension adjusts by way of a number that you select (usually with a lever on the inside cover somewhere) or by pressing a large round nut-looking thing on the top of the machine to a lower or higher setting. If you have settings for presser foot, start with the half-way mark there as well.

    When setting up your practice sandwich, load a dark and a light thread so you will be able to easily see where the two threads are intersecting. They too should be just about half way through the sandwich. You should see just a speck of the opposite color when examining the stitch line from both sides.

    You'll figure it out and be sailing in no time at all. Happy, happy quilting to you!

  17. #42
    Power Poster Homespun's Avatar
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    Setting the presser foot tension to '2' worked for me.

  18. #43
    Super Member BettyGee's Avatar
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    Just had a similar problem. After taking the stitches out four times I pressed down really hard on both sides as I fed the material under the needle, went slower and got what I wanted. Walking feet, as others have said, are not for speed and I sometimes forget that. Basting spray is fantastic and is the only thing I use now. I always basted using thread, but the spray is easier and holds so well. Just a hint, don't overspray.

  19. #44
    Super Member Quiltbeagle's Avatar
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    I think your stitches may possibly be too small?

  20. #45
    Super Member Fabaddict's Avatar
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    you really have to make the backing quite taunt. If you use basting spray, you might also want to use a few pins- my experience is the basting spray doesn't hold well enough
    (at least for me)
    Lay it down and tape all sides of it to get it smooth and tight, then lay your batting and do the same thing, then your top. and pin or sew the heck out of it

  21. #46
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    I had problems with this too. I adjusted the pressure knob. I think it's the pressure foot pressure, anyway that helped me. Thanks - you may want to try that.

  22. #47
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    You need to take everything out, even your basting. Your basting is not close enough to do much good. Tape your back down to the floor or table, then place you batting, then your top. Pin all in place , then baste. Probably 1-2 inches apart. And it looks like your bobbin tenion it really tight.

  23. #48
    Junior Member judith ann's Avatar
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    I just took a class on Tues. and one of the things I learned was to quilt from the center out. Do not start on one side and sew to the other. Start in the center and sew to the side then go back to the center and sew to the other side.j

  24. #49
    Junior Member SandyQuilter's Avatar
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    Yes, this is what I do also. Only I use straight pins, pinning opposite sides (top & bottom) first. Pinning into the carpet pad at an angle. Make sure it is squared with a wall. Then pin the two sides, pulling slightly to remove all excess. I end up the backing (WSU) pinned to the carpet so that I can bounce a coin off it. Then I float the batt down. Finally, I float the top down and carefully pull it into place, then remove and repin the top and bottom together into the carpet with the batt sandwiched inside. Once all pinned, I baste the entire unit together in serpentine rows about 4 inches apart. Never had any slipping with this method.

    Also sounds as if you have a thread tension problem.

  25. #50
    Junior Member Bobbin along's Avatar
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    You said that your thread on the back came out very easily, and this leads me to believe the the upper tension is too loose--you could trying tightening it SLIGHTLY by turning it toward a lower number. The "golden rule" in tension adjustment is: If there are problems on the back of the quilt, the problem is with the upper tension. Tension problems on the top (this hardly ever happens) then the problem is with the bobbin tension. Alway adjust in very small increments.
    I also really love spray basting. You just need to take your piece outside to spray--even if its really cold--you are only going to be there for a second--and spray lightly and quickly. I usually wait until DH is around and he will hold it up for me as he hides behind it so as not to get himself sprayed! Good luck and let us know how thigs turn out for you! :thumbup:

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