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Thread: quilting batiks

  1. #1
    Junior Member quiltease's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I put together a quilt with batik accents. No problem sewing it together. I put it on my frame and it's skipping all the stitches JUST on the batik. I've tried every needle from 11 to 14, different weights of thread and I'm stumped. I can't take it apart, I haven't time, it's a wedding gift. Aside from taking it off the frame and quilting it on my regular machine what else should I try? I've used batiks before without problems. As I said, it pieced together fine, so it's not the fabric...or is it? HELP!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks,
    bev.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Connie1948's Avatar
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    I must say I have never had this problem. I use Batiks a lot on both the front and back. I use a 16 or 18 needle. The only time I had skipping problems it was because my rollers for the stitch regulator had got off "track". I also use the same thread in the bobbin and top. Have you tried re-threading the machine from beginning to end including the bobbin? Some times that fixes these little "bugs". Good Luck. I am off to my all day quilt group. We meet from noon to 8pm on Mondays. Sometimes I get a lot done and others not.....to much talking and eating.
    Connie

  3. #3
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    When I am having problems with threads skipping, I do what Connie suggested--I rethread my machine, and check my bobbin. Always a great place to start troubleshooting.

    I just took my first long arm class and the instructor said that some Batiks are more picky about thread than others. Could it be the weight of your thread? Some Batiks are very tightly woven and you do not want to be tearing the fabric with your needle and thread.

    I am sorry--these are my only suggestions. Others on the board are long arm quilters and can be more help, I am sure.

  4. #4

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    When quilting w/the batiks...do you all prefer a certain brand or kind of thread??Thanks ahead of time! Skeat

  5. #5
    Junior Member quiltease's Avatar
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    Thank you for the suggestions. I did try rethreading the machine but not a new bobbin. I have the same thread top and bobbin. I use coats and clark cotton. Maybe I should try one of the other brands. I'm confused because I had no trouble piecing with the same thread. Oh well. I'll try a new bobbin, a larger needle (I have some 18s) and I'll get back to you.
    Again, thank you all for your suggestions. If worse comes to worse I'll quilt around the batiks. Seeing as the top is made of 1" and 2" squares and rectangles this should be fun!
    bev.

  6. #6
    HMK
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    Are you using a sharp needle and not Universal or ball point etc. With my Bernina, I don't have any problems (better knock wood since I'm starting a new batik project) when using a Schmetz 12 jeans 80/12 or a Schmetz Microtex Sharp 80/12. I find that Coats & Clark thread doesn't do well in my machine. I use YLI and Sulky with success.

  7. #7
    Junior Member quiltease's Avatar
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    Brand new needles. I use schmetz universal or quilting needles. I read online about microtex needles. What are they? Or should I ask..how are they different? In any case I'm going out tomorrow and buy a package and give it one last try. I also read that for batiks you should use 40 wt thread on top and 50 wt in the bobbin. Since my quilt is barely 1/10th batik I think I'm better off with equal weight threads. I WILL switch brands though. There's a shop a couple of miles away that doesn't even carry coats and clark. Maybe I'll get my thread and needles there.
    Thanks for the needle and thread info!!
    bev.

  8. #8

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    Bev, keep us up to date....I have 2 almost 3 to do soon!Skeat

  9. #9
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Connie1948
    I must say I have never had this problem. I use Batiks a lot on both the front and back. I use a 16 or 18 needle. The only time I had skipping problems it was because my rollers for the stitch regulator had got off "track". I also use the same thread in the bobbin and top. Have you tried re-threading the machine from beginning to end including the bobbin? Some times that fixes these little "bugs". Good Luck. I am off to my all day quilt group. We meet from noon to 8pm on Mondays. Sometimes I get a lot done and others not.....to much talking and eating.
    Connie
    also make sure that you're using a new needle. sometimes if the needle is blunt, it doesn't catch the bobbin thread correctly. by the way, is the batik prewashed? too late now, but it does help when it's softer! and try a heavier-than-normal thread. always works for me.

  10. #10
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    Also...don't think it isn't the needle if you try just 1 new one. Yesterday I was having all kinds of trouble (although not on a batik), but I did everything, rethreaded, etc., etc., and new needle..Still problems....then tried different new needle out of the same package...viola'...good to go!

    Sometimes brand new needles are not good. Hope you can get it working for you!

  11. #11
    Junior Member quiltease's Avatar
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    I'm about to go out to buy new needles but I wanted to thank you all for the information, first. I'll try a microtex 12 needle, YLI or Sulky thread, and I also read if you make a solution of two parts water to one part fabric softener and spray it on the batiks it'll help. So off the frame it comes to get it's treatment, then back on with new needles and thread. Wish me luck ladies. I'll definately tell you what happens...good or bad.
    bev.

  12. #12
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    Bev--thanks for keeping us posted--we are all interested to see what works for you. Hope you find a solution--and soon, for your sake. :D

    By the way--what kind of machine are you quilting this quilt on?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    Here are some things to try:

    Bigger needle, smaller needle

    Spritz the fabric with water

    Use Sewer's Aid on the thread spool


    Some batiks are made on goods that are a really tight weave. Your needle is having a hard time going through the fabric, so it's missing the thread pickup. If you look real close, you may find you are breaking threads instead of going between the weave. It's just how some batiks are.

    Something else to check: see if your batting is right side up. If you take a pin or needle, poke at the batting. On some types of batting, it goes easier on one side or the other. You want that easier side on the top where the needle goes in.

  14. #14
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelley
    Here are some things to try:


    Something else to check: see if your batting is right side up. If you take a pin or needle, poke at the batting. On some types of batting, it goes easier on one side or the other. You want that easier side on the top where the needle goes in.
    never knew that. thanks.

  15. #15
    Junior Member quiltease's Avatar
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    When I was in the quilt shop getting new needles I flipped through a book on machine quilting. It said to use Egyptian cotton thread. I bought two small spools. One for the top and the other (a bit darker) for the bobbin. I also read online yesterday that if you mix one part fabric softener with two parts water and spray it on the batik that should help. SO...I have my new needles, new thread and the poor batiks have been doused with the softener solution. Once it's dry it's back onto the frame and......
    I have the first generation Inspira frame. It's obvious why they changed the whole thing. Vibration is a problem, even after my boyfriend put more screws and nuts and whatevers everywhere. The pantographs are placed on a shelf above the frame, which I LOVE (don't need my glasses to see) BUT the center of the shelf (which is in two pieces) gets pulled down by gravity until it's so low that it hits the machine. I've braced it with muffin tins, rulers, a long plank of wood, you name it. I purchased it with the Pfaff, and splurged on the stitch regulator. I already had a grace frame (which has been redesigned and will cost over $200.00 to update mine)so I knew the basics.
    Sorry about the babble, I'm waiting for the qult to dry.
    Again, thank you for all the help. I'll let you all know tomorrow whether it worked or whether I'm going to have to quilt around the batiks. Yikes!
    But for now the quilt top smells "April Fresh". Looks like I'll have to wash it once it's quilted.
    bev.

  16. #16

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    Bev...you can fix that droopy problem at the hardware or farm store. You need to get a flat brackets or 'L' shaped brackets (and hammer the 'L' ones flat-if you couldn't find the flat ones). Then screw them in from the bottom up. So you don't see them and they will keep the gap closed up for you. Just a helpful thought on that...:)

  17. #17
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    Bev, I'm crazy about batiks and haven't had any problems quilting them on the frame. That said, I can't imagine using a needle smaller than an 18, and I'm careful not to let the quilt get too high off the sewing machine bed.

    I'm also discovering the pleasures of (shh!) poly thread. Some of the nicest newer threads are poly, but without that shiny, plastic-y look. The poly is much smoother than cotton, so less friction. And don't worry, it won't tear or hurt the cotton of the quilt.

    Also, don't be afraid of the bigger holes left by the bigger needles. They close right up when you wash the quilt.

    Hope this helps!


  18. #18
    Super Member VickiM's Avatar
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    When you've tried all the usual stuff (as already suggested by others), don't forget the thing that has helped me the most in the past when all else has failed...de-lint your machine. Take out the bobbin case and clean the area and down inside...mostly has worked for me. I have a MC9000 and I have found I can use almost any kind of thread with it and have no problems. Most of the time it's the needle or lint inside the machine. Good luck.

  19. #19
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit2b
    Bev, I'm crazy about batiks and haven't had any problems quilting them on the frame. That said, I can't imagine using a needle smaller than an 18, and I'm careful not to let the quilt get too high off the sewing machine bed.

    I'm also discovering the pleasures of (shh!) poly thread. Some of the nicest newer threads are poly, but without that shiny, plastic-y look. The poly is much smoother than cotton, so less friction. And don't worry, it won't tear or hurt the cotton of the quilt.

    Also, don't be afraid of the bigger holes left by the bigger needles. They close right up when you wash the quilt.

    Hope this helps! END QUOTE

    first of all i checked your webshots and boy! do i love that lattice quilt!

    that said i have heard some very good things on blogs and tv shows concerning good quality poly threads, especially if the fabric has been pre-washed. no need to keep it a secret.

    --Heidi

    http://community.webshots.com/user/rabbit2b

  20. #20
    Junior Member quiltease's Avatar
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    The update...good and bad. The quilt top looked fine after drying. I was afraid the fabric softener would leave a residue, but no. I put it back on the frame, changed the top thread, the bobbin thread, the needle AND delinted the machine and bobbin case. The thread broke about 2" in. Okay, try again. Another break. So I put the original thread back in and decided to quilt from left to right. I prefer right to left, but, hey whatever works, right? The first square of batik the skipped stitches were back BUT...from then on...PERFECT!! I'll fix those skipped stitches by hand once it's off the frame. The thread has broken only once more but I'm still going to run out and get some Sewers Aid. I think that's right, I'll have to go back and check. While I'm out I'll get some L braces for the frame top, which has now sunk low enough to once again hit the machine. This is after only two lines of quilting!! DO NOT buy an Inspira frame, at least not the early ones. I've got to splurge and update my Gracie.
    Hopefully I can post pictures once everything is done, if I haven't gone insane by then. You all are amazing!!! And I thank each and every one for helping. Quilters rule!!!
    keep wishing me luck, the fun has just begun...
    bev.

  21. #21
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    regardless of the age of the quilting frame have you attempted to contact the manufacturer at all? sometimes they can be very helpful. they may have a clue as to why this happens that none of us thought of. it should not be falling from its own weight.

    as to the skipped stitches, again get in touch with the maker. if they refuse to help or ignore you, tell them bluntly that you belong to a number of online forums and blogs (even if you don't) and intend to spread the negative word about their uncooperation (new word) and defective product. sometimes that jogs them and it can't hurt you.

  22. #22

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    Bev...so glad to hear you are winning over there!:))I did check w/a good quilter friend that pumps quilts out like we drink our soft drinks and told her the scoop of some having prob quilting their batiks, etc..she said she has never had any problems and even has done several different paper piecing w/the batiks and had the thread stitch all the way down to a 1.3 and no breakage....phew! I have 3 to quilt soon! :)Now...I would like to know what is the thread stay stuff???Did I say that right? Skeat

  23. #23
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    Thanks, Butterfly!

    I'm glad to hear that "poly thread" is not a scatalogical phrase

    Ummm... I don't ever prewash. I can't imagine ironing all that yardage, I love the crisp feeling, and I love the quilty wrinkles after washing the finished quilt. That said, I DO use Synthrapol if there's any question about bleeding...and I DO keep my fingers crossed.

    It's probably part of my need for instant gratification. People who do pre-wash impress me...


  24. #24

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    Ummm... I don't ever prewash. I can't imagine ironing all that yardage, I love the crisp feeling, and I love the quilty wrinkles after washing the finished quilt.

    I so 'ditto' that for myself too! Even after washing, I haven't been sorry. Do know that it is preference for each quilter...no wrong or right:)My mom is a prewasher and just shakes her head at me!LOL

  25. #25
    Junior Member quiltease's Avatar
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    I always prewash. Once I buy a fabric, even if I'm not going to use it in the near, or far, future it gets washed and ironed. Actually, I rinse and dry my batting, so there's no shrinkage (unless I want that wrinkly old fashioned look). I just throw the fabric in with my regular wash (the batting goes in alone just on final rinse). Yes, I agree, it IS a pain to iron.
    An update on the quilt...it is HALF quilted!!!!! No problems so far...but I still have my fingers crossed. Again, my thanks to all who wrote in.
    bev.

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