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Thread: quilting machine tension problems

  1. #1
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    quilting machine tension problems

    Hello everyone. Been "looking" at everyone's gorgeous quilts for some time now. But I need some advice. I have an old (bought it on ebay USED maybe 5 or 6 years ago) Kenquilt 622 quilting machine. I have almost constant tension problems. Could send it to Kenquilt but would rather put that expensive shipping fee towards repair or new machine. Have tried everything, needles, thread, bobbin tension, etc. but all seem only to be temporary fixes. I have taken it to be "fixed" a few times and even had someone come to my house for the tune of $540! All seem temporary fixes. My question is this.....

    Should I just expect problems on and off with an older machine? Maybe its just tempermental? Do other people who home quilt have constant problems? Any machines that you LOVE or don't love? I would consider buying a new machine (nothing extravagant....I have an 11" throat now and that is fine). When I put a quilt on, I just NEVER know if the machine is going to act right or not. Tips, advice, thoughts, etc. THANKS.

  2. #2
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Can you discribe exactly what your tension issues are? Top? Bottom? When you say the fixes are temporary, what do you do to fix it? When it goes off tension again, do you do the same thing to fix it? What brand of thread do you use? When you do experience tension issues, is it on all the quilting or just on the curves?
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  3. #3
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    Will be watching this one.

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    I have a Kenquilt. And I have never had any issues with it. I'm still using the thread that came with it. Lots of lint, but it says it is signature brand I think. Do you have the manual? Your tension can be done differently. You can unwrap the part that is wrapped 3 times or not. Time out! Gotta go look at my machine. Yes is Signature 40 wt. I've had mine 5 or 6 years, but just started using it this year. It sews perfectly. I bought it new.

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    No, you shouldn't be having constant tension problems with any machine. Does the manufacturer offer any help over the phone? There are longarm yahoo groups, possibly one dedicated to KenQuilt, and someone might be able to help there.

    Just a thought - is it possible that your tension assembly spring needs to be replaced? Have you had any training on using the machine, showing you what kind of maintenance it needs and how to adjust the tension?

  6. #6
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    answers

    To answer some of your questions....

    I oil the machine according to the booklet from Kenquilt. It is the bottom of the quilt that usually has problems. Primarily tension problems on the back, but also thread breakage is pretty common. Have tried all thread from Coats and Clark to Gutterman machine quilting thread. No formal training on using machine. Have sewn all my life, not to say I couldn't learn more (obviously). Normally on a sewing machine, once the tension is ok, it is ok unless you are sewing something considerably thinner/thicker. Maybe my repair people have not been so good?? How does a shop fix it and test it when I take it in without the frame??

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    Quilter 1963. Is the bobbin winder winding really good. I found mine was filling too full and too close to the edge of the bobbin,[not filling level, filling up on the sides and not the middle]. That made mine break thread a time or two. Check yours to see. Just a tiny thing will do it sometimes.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    This Youtube video on setting longarm tension might be helpful:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1mRh...664A7&index=13

    Sounds like your tension does not remain stable. I like the idea of replacing the tension assembly spring. Seems to me a spring can become weak, and this may make your machine unable to handle slight changes in the quilt -- such as change in the quilt tension towards the end.

    Also, how tight are you rolling your quilt sandwich? You want it loose enough so you can grab a fingertip that is pushed up underneath the quilt.

  9. #9
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    If you are having issues with the top thread showing on the bottom, then it's probably an issue with the top thread tension. I'm inclined to agree with Dunster on the tension assembly springs, however, if you had it looked over by a sewing machine repair person, this should have been one of the things they checked.
    I will say that if your new project has different top or backing fabric, or a different batt or you are using different thread from the last project you did, you will need to check and possible tweak the tension. Once you get it set correctly, it should be good for the whole project.
    This thread outlines how to set the tension on a different brand machine, but you might try going thru the steps to see if it helps:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...t-t114933.html
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  10. #10
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I had troubles with my tensions.....I agree to all of the above, especially the winding the quilt sandwich too tight.
    Another thought....the bobbin case --- the case the bobbin goes into --- if you drop it, or it has a manuf. problem, it WILL cause you tons of grief. Sometimes off and on, sometimes ALL the time. Try buying a new bobbin case. Heck the spring in it may just have worn out!
    My machine requires me to change the tensions with EVERY different type of thread. If I use Superior threads, I have to work at the tension with EVERY bobbin change (GRRRR). I now use MetroEmb. thread on my machine and have none of the problems. EXCEPT I have a habit of tightening the quilt too tight! If I start having problems, I drop the tension on the quilt back 2 notches....then all is fine.
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  11. #11
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    When I was learning years ago on my mechanical I would write down fabric thread type on top and bottom and when I got the tension right I would record it to reference later to if I used cotton/cotton cotton/poly poly/poly the tension would be different on each. I feel like once you get a handle on tension, there should be no issues all the time with your machine. If its more trouble than its worth I would invest in a new machine that caused me less grief. Sewing should be fun and not frustrating
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  12. #12
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I also recommend doing test sandwiches of the material you plan to use and work out tension before working on your project
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

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    Hello, quilter1963. Did you ever work out your tension problems? I just joined this board and have a KenQuilt 633 which I bought used about 2 years ago. It's the same machine as the 622 but with a slighter bigger throat. I've had my share of problems and have worked through most of them on my own as I have no shop locally. I would love to compare notes, it see if I could be of any help and maybe pick up a few new pointers.

    Jeannie

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    Here it is 2019 and as an owner of a Kenquilt 622 I am reading your post! I have had my machine, purchased new in 1990, for many years and supported myself with it for 5 years so as you see it has been used, used and used. I have one question: If you push your thread take up lever down does the needle bar move? My machine sews like a charm but I don’t remember if it has always been this way. Oh, and one more thing...I am getting a bad smell and the motor is really hot to the touch...don’t remember that either...thinking I need a new one? I am having a bit of trouble remember things due to chemo brain. (I am a cancer survivor...happy days)

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