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Thread: quilting issues with tension

  1. #1
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Central Iowa
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    quilting issues with tension

    I have been having some issues with tension at first it was thread breakage so I loosened the tension and changed the needle it was over due to change it. Well my practice one went well when I put the quilt on the tension was too loose. So had to rip out some it could have been the backing the fabric was kinda stiff. So again today tried it out on practice one and all looked good the tension is now a little too tight so loosened it up and did a practice one again after 2 days I think maybe I got it I am working on a longarm I should have mentioned this before.

  2. #2
    Gay is offline
    Senior Member Gay's Avatar
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    May 2012
    S.E. Queensland, Australia
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    It is a good idea to do a sample test with the same batting and backing as your quilt. You can have problems if you use backing with a high polyester content, and even with different thicknesses of batting, I have had these issues.

  3. #3
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
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    Are you new to long arming? I found that when I have the quilt too tight on the frame (remember you should be able to grasp a finger poked up from underneath) that it causes poor tension and makes the back stitches look like they didn't "sink" in. I rarely touch my top tension anymore since I started checking my tension with each bobbin(my Towa gauge became my new BFF). I've found that some threads (particularly very fine) seem to wind tighter so I need to adjust the tension. Typically, I'll check the tension on that first line of stitching to attach the bat. if all is well with it, I'll go ahead, check underneath (I have a mirror to do that!) on the first part . If I'm having issues, I'll lay a piece of fabric on the excess to the edge of the quilt (on top of the bat & backing) and test there so my test is on the same fabrics/bat/frame tension. It took me at least a year of working on long arm to really feel confident on my tension adjustments (am I a slow learner?) LOL

  4. #4
    Senior Member ksdot417's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    I took a long arm class once and the No. 1 issue everyone mentioned was tension. At first I was a little nervous about changing the tension - now I change it whenever I think it needs it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rj.neihart's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    Anytime I'm in question on the tension, I take a dummy sandwich, try the change on this first, then when it's all "fixed" place my quilt where it needs to be.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2011
    Salt Lake City area
    Jamie Wallen (The Apothecary's Apprentice) has a great video about tension. Handiquilter has one too as does Helen Godden. You can find them on You Tube. Start with a sample sandwich with the same fabric and batting. Just a strip will do. Adjust your bobbin tension first using a "fall test". The videos show you how. Then adjust the top tension as needed. Remember that on long arms you need to turn the tension dial at least a half turn to see any difference at all. It isn't like a domestic when a tiny turn makes a difference.

  7. #7
    Super Member d.rickman's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    I found that my needle was not 100% straight in its position, my LA friend came over checked the needle, and yes it was out ever so slightly, she also adjusted the height of my machine, making sure I could get my finders under the area, and we changed the thread, some of my thread is really linty, also the vibration from your LA can affect a variety of things. I just had mine into have it checked and it was out of time. I am finally getting used to mine, but has been a long process.
    Quilting People are the Best, Have a great sewing day!

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