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Thread: Ready to pull my hair out.

  1. #1
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    Ready to pull my hair out.

    I am ready to pull my hair out. Seriously.
    I have a Juki sewing machine on a Grace frame that I am having issues with.
    It loves to break needles!
    I stitched 3 rows that didn't look to bad but not the best either. The tension needed to be adjusted. I tightened it a little and now it's breaking needles. If I put it back where it was the top tension is to loose.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks for listening and your help.

  2. #2
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    No suggestions since I don't have either...my wanted you to know sympathize!

  3. #3
    Super Member noveltyjunkie's Avatar
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    It's hard to think how tension relates to needle breakages, which I would associate more with hitting the throat plate... Sorry this has happened.
    Fortune favours the prepared mind
    "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Have you adjusted tension according to this Jamie Wallen video?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1mRhcquZTM
    If not, I highly recommend that you try it. This technique works for all sewing machines, not just longarms. Basically you loosen the bobbin tension as much as possible first, then adjust the top tension. Be careful when adjusting that bobbin screw. I could not get mine as loose as he demonstrates; the screw fell out of the bobbin case first! Luckily, I saw where it went and was able to retrieve it. It's often recommended to loosen the bobbin screw while holding the bobbin and screwdriver inside a plastic bag. That way, if the screw comes out, you have a good chance of keeping it.

    Also, what thread and needle size are you using? You may need to use a larger needle. For quilting on a frame, I find that it's helpful to use a much larger needle than I used when quilting on my domestic machine. Typically at least a size 16 is recommended, and I actually use a size 18. Larger needles are stronger and can take the speed and added stress of the machine moving on the frame.

  5. #5
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    Thank you for the link. I haven't seen it.
    I am using superior 50 wt. thread for quilting. The needle is a Juki 14. I also used a Organ 14. Went today and got bluejean wt. 16 needle. Not a Juki or organ. I can't remember the name of the brand but it is what Kathy Quilt sells on her site. It was the heaviest I could find at the fabric store.
    Where do you get a size 18?
    I do FMQ without the frame on a Kenmore. Thought it would be easier on a frame.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Superior Threads has quite a bit of information on needles. Their titanium-coated topstitch needle in a size 16 would probably be the best one for your Juki:
    http://www.superiorthreads.com/produ...chine-needles/

    I have a Voyager, which is a stretched industrial Singer (takes a needle with a rounded upper shaft), and I have been able to buy the correct needles for it on eBay. They go up at least to a size 20 for industrial and longarm machines, and no doubt even larger for some. However, size 16 may be the biggest your Juki can take.

    Try adjusting tension via the video; it should help a lot. I'm not sure about a denim needle for quilting on a frame, but in your situation I would certainly give it a try once the tensions are readjusted. With tensions adjusted, your size 14 might work too.

    A domestic machine faces different stresses when placed on a frame. However, you can adjust for those stresses.

    One other thing I would ask is how tight is your quilt in the frame? It's a common beginner mistake to keep the quilt too taut. Rule-of-thumb is to be able to grab a finger that is poked up from below. The quilt sandwich needs to be a little loose in the frame.

  7. #7
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    I can poke my finger up from the bottom and grab from below.
    I found that information some where.
    Let me ask you a question.
    I know that when the pressure foot is up the thread flows freely in the upper tension. And when the foot is down it is harder to pull. In my machine it is hard to pull the thread through the upper tension disks. Even after I have loosened the tension. My kenmore doesn't act like that. It is snug but not tight in my kenmore. Is it normal for it to be that hard to pull in the upper tension?
    Thank you for the info.
    Last edited by Kani; 11-02-2013 at 06:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    It doesn't sound normal to me. Are you sure the check spring in the upper tension is okay? I think you get that problem when the spring is broken (or worn out, so the spring doesn't have much "spring" left in it). I don't have a Juki so I can't test. The spring I am talking about is the wire located on the left side of the upper tension. Your thread goes around the tension discs and then through that wire.

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    I would also check the tension disc for lint or a piece of thread that is not supposed to be there.

    Just a thought.

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    Can you pull the thread easily from the spool to the tension. Sometimes they get tangled up there.

  11. #11
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    The thread pulls smoothly on everything until I put the presser foot down. Then it's hard to pull through.
    The spring seems okay.
    I thought the same thing Betty Sue.
    Guess the next step is to take the upper tension apart.
    If I find something there I will let you all know.
    Thank you all for your thoughts and help.
    You all are great.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If you have some unwaxed dental floss handy, try using that to "floss" between the tension discs (with the presser foot up). That might be enough to dislodge a piece of thread or lint.

  13. #13
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    My friend has a short arm machine on a Hinterberg frame, and when she first started she broke tons of needles. Found out she was trying to quilt too fast. The needle has to be able to flex as it moves in all directions through the fabric. If you move the machine too fast for it's speed, you will break the needle. Also, make sure your quilt sandwich is not drum tight on the frame. All the layers should be smooth and flat, but altogether it should be kind of loose in the frame.

  14. #14
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    This really sounds like it is more of a needle problem than a tension problem. Try running the machine with no thread, is it binding anywhere? Is the machine being moved too fast so it does not have time to make a complete stitch before moving to the next stitch, and catching somewhere causing the break? It could be any number of things happening, try different fixes one at a time. I hate that this is happening as we all just want to sew and have fun not problems.

  15. #15
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kani View Post
    Thank you for the link. I haven't seen it.
    I am using superior 50 wt. thread for quilting. The needle is a Juki 14. I also used a Organ 14. Went today and got bluejean wt. 16 needle. Not a Juki or organ. I can't remember the name of the brand but it is what Kathy Quilt sells on her site. It was the heaviest I could find at the fabric store.
    Where do you get a size 18?
    I do FMQ without the frame on a Kenmore. Thought it would be easier on a frame.

    Prism is right, size 14 is way to lightweight to take the speed...I use 18 also. My juki loves them and I don't break needles as much as thread LOL I get them at my local BenFranklin store but you can probably get them online.
    Retired and living in NE Michigan

  16. #16
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I agree with needle size I use 18 most of the time.

  17. #17
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    Sorry to hear about your troubles. I used to have my Juki on a Gracie frame and realized that I wasn't enjoying quilting because of all the tension/needle breakage issues. The Juki seems to arbitrarily change its tension. Here are some of the things that I did. I hope all the good ideas you got from everyone will help you. 1) have the machine professionally cleaned/serviced; 2) I had the most luck with size 18 needles; 3) regulate your speed as best you can. The Juki can sew really fast, but I don't think the needle and thread can keep up on a frame; 4) make sure your presser foot is up when you thread the machine; 5) make sure that the area where you are quilting is not lying on the machine, it needs to be raised up a little so there is no 'drag' when you are sewing. I found that a lot of my time when quilted was taken up adjusting the roller and moving them up. Conversely, the roller that is on the front of the frame can't be too far down, because then your fabric is on a hill. I hope that makes sense. Good luck!

  18. #18
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I have this combination one of the reasons my needles break is when I go mad in swirls and circles and go around too fast . This quick movement bends my needle and then it snaps. Try going slower on the swirls. Oh I have also tried a tip from here and tried with my feet up. It works it seems to slow the fabric down ven if you try. Moving it too fast.
    Sorry no answer as to what todo to the machine but this is the only reason mine have broken.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbielinks View Post
    This really sounds like it is more of a needle problem than a tension problem. Try running the machine with no thread, is it binding anywhere? Is the machine being moved too fast so it does not have time to make a complete stitch before moving to the next stitch, and catching somewhere causing the break? It could be any number of things happening, try different fixes one at a time. I hate that this is happening as we all just want to sew and have fun not problems.

    Made sense to me so I tried it without the thread. It did just fine. Even when I did swirls and circles. No problem.

    With thread just a straight line no swirls or anything fancy. Just a plain straight line. It would sew a little bit then snap it broke the needle.
    I have a speed regulator on the machine.

    I am going to take the machine off the frame either today or tomorrow and see what happens when I FMQ without the frame. If it breaks needles then I am going to see if I can get it serviced.
    I appreciate everyone's help. You all have some great ideas.
    Thanks again for the help.

  20. #20
    Member EvieD44's Avatar
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    I have a Grace frame with a Juki on it. The Juke used to be my best machine to sew on then I got the frame and
    put it on that. I had so much trouble trying to get it all going that I gave up! Hence....I still have it sitting in a
    spare room upstairs for over a year and a half! BUT...after reading what Michelleoc wrote it has inspired me to
    try again. I will also try all the things you said.....and good luck to Kani.......don't give up like I did!!
    Evie

  21. #21
    Junior Member rita222's Avatar
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    I have the same set up a Juki on a Gracie. I find that if you keep a finger width of space from under the quilt to the machine frame it sews better and no broken needles. I should say under the quilt to the machine foot. Hope you are able to grasp what I am trying to describe. It would be from top to bottom, machine foot, quilt ,space then machine base. Clear as mud right????
    Last edited by rita222; 11-04-2013 at 05:19 AM. Reason: comma omitted
    Rita

  22. #22
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noveltyjunkie View Post
    It's hard to think how tension relates to needle breakages, which I would associate more with hitting the throat plate... Sorry this has happened.
    I have only a Bernina but this makes sense. Good Luck !!! Feel your frustration !!
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  23. #23
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    Thank you ladies so so much. You have helped me more than you know.
    I took the bobbin out of the machine and did what Jamie Wallen suggested. (Thank you so much Prim 99 for the video.) When I pulled on the bobbin thread it was tight. Adjusted it so it did as Jamie said.
    I also looked at the upper tension. There is a little screw that holds the spring on my machine. I removed the screw and moved the little spring to make sure it was okay. Put the screw back in and adjusted the upper tension. I think it is on 2.5 or 3 will have to check that one.
    Oh before I forget I cleaned out the bobbin area and took thread (didn't have no wax floss) thru the discs in the upper tension.
    Made sure all setting were set as was told.
    Put the machine back on the frame. DD and I threaded the machine. I did a straight line showing her how to do it. Turned it over to DD and off she went. LOL She loves it. She even did a few little designs nothing fancy.
    I told her to hang on and not to get to froggy yet. I checked the bottom of the quilt and we had good stitches there too! Whahoo! Before we had eyelashes that was unreal. (I didn't know that until I took the machine off the frame).

    We do have one little problem yet but at least we aren't breaking needles now. I think I may need to tighten it in the frame just a little. We did really good on the first 4 rows. We rolled it on the take up rail. Stitching along and then the machine some how gets the thread twisted in the needle area (looks like it is double threaded but it's not) and then the thread will shred if we keep going.
    I don't know how else to explain it. If it does it again I'll take a pic and post it. I have had my regular machine do this. Haven't figured out why yet.
    I am happy as a lark now not to be breaking needles. When we get everything straightened out I will post a photo of our beginnings.
    Thank you all so much. If I could give you all a big hug I would ((((Hugs))). You all are WONDERFUL and so helpful.
    I am doing a happy dance.

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    Sorry didn't mean to write a book. Just excited.

  25. #25
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Wonderful news! Regarding the new issue, my bet is that you need to raise the takeup roller. After you roll a few times, the quilt on the takeup roller will be pressing too hard on the bed of the machine. Raising the takeup bar relieves that pressure. I think rita was trying to say that the Juki works best if you keep the quilt "floating" on the machine bed.

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