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Thread: Tin Lizzie 18 - Still having stitching issues. HELP!

  1. #1
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    Sep 2009

    Tin Lizzie 18 - Still having stitching issues. HELP!

    I have had my TL 18 for 10 months and it's still not working right. My dealer came out a few months ago and replaced one of the encoders (the other one was replaced right out of the box).

    What the machine was doing was having issues when it stitched. What would happen is I would take a group of stitches. They look beautiful on the top. I would look underneath and the bobbin stitches looked fine. But there would be a huge mess of thread from the top thread where it was just an excessive amount of top thread on the bottom (does that make sense?). After I got the new encoder, rather than having 2" of this mess, I would only get 1 stitch with a huge mess every foot or so.

    My rep just replaced the tension assembly or something like that, and I just tried using it. I also just replaced the needle. Now I'm getting 2-3 stitches with a moderate mess on the bottom (that's improvement, right?).

    When the rep was here, he showed me (for the first time, mind you) how to set the tension. He told me that when the foot is down, you should have to really forcefully tug on the (top) thread, bending the needle back, to get the thread to advance. Which I had never set it that tight, I just used a test patch and adjusted until the stitches looked "right".

    Another issue I'm still having is when I make a curve, the bobbin thread shows on the top. The top thread makes a nice curve, but then the bobbin thread has little dots slightly outside of the curve. Which makes me think it's a tension
    issue (top tension too high), so I lowered it 2 total turns and it's still showing the bobbin thread on the curves. I can keep turning it down, but that seems like a lot with minimal improvement, and I'm running out of test area on
    my quilt top.

    Any ideas or suggestions would be helpful. I'm going to call the rep again, but I have very little faith in them. I'm beyond frustrated with this and just want my machine to work right! Any help is appreciated. I did post on the TL Yahoo group. Thanks!
    Nothing's a mistake. It's a learning experience. Some experiences, you learn more than others.

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
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    you should never turn your tension dial 2 whole turns at once! you should go about a 1/4 turn at a time & test---you are making HUGE changes at once---and making it very difficult for yourself to find a balance.
    the pokies coming through the top on curves is because you are speeding up as you go around the curve---it's normal- to (swoop)- once you get yourself moving at the same speed as the machine that will get much better.
    it sounds as if you are trying too much at once-
    is there any way you could go to your dealer's for the free (owners classes)? most dealers offer classes to teach you to use your machine- it can make a huge difference in your success.
    if you are getting thread nests on the bottom of your quilt your top tension is way too loose---(from turning the dial 2 whole turns!) also----are you using the same thread in the top & bobbin? and the correct size needle for the thread you are using? this can also make a difference-
    if you are unsure about thread weights/needle sizes visit Superior Threads web site- they have free charts you can print off telling you the difference in threads and what needle to use with each. it is a great resource.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
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    I also have a Tin Lizzie. This link helped me get my tension right. It's a step-by-step.
    I agree with ckcowl on the pokies on the curve. Even with a stitch regulator you need to make sure that you're not going too fast. My machine is very un fussy about thread, and once I figured out how to set the tension, very little adjustment was needed.

    Usually when you have a mass of top thread on the bottom, the top tension is way too low OR the presser foot isn't lowered.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  4. #4
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Upland CA
    I have the viking 18x8 which is the same machine as the tin lizzy TL18. There is a great video on you tube which show alot about the machine that is not explained in our manuel. On our machine it is necessary to give the upper tension tension a good full twist. I had problems that sound alot like what you are having, it was that I did
    not have the bobbin in correctly. Watch the video it might give you some good insite it sure did me. Hope this helps!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member AudreyB's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Wichita Falls, TX
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    I was having a lot of problems with the loopies on the bottom of the quilt. I found that if I thread the bobbin thread through the pig tail thing on the bobbin then the tension holds better. It might be worth a try.
    Those who sleep under quilts are covered with love.

  6. #6
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Small town south of Ottawa, Ontario
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    Is there anyone that lives close to you that has a Tin Lizzie, or another Rep anywhere close by. I would have the tension settings set back to manufacturer's default settings and start over. You should not be having that many problems with her. I know there are a few that say it doesn't matter which way the bobbin goes in the racer...yes it does, the thread tail should follow the path easily. Second, I had dropped my bobbin racer a couple of times and bent it, my DH bent it back into shape and with alittle bit of practise, all is well. I had to become faithful to the startup ritual to avoid minor problems which are: 1/ Remove all dust bunnies in the bobbin area and on your rails. 2/ Oil her faithfully. 3/ Do the bobbin & bobbin racer yo-yo test. Load the racer and give a gentle tug on the thread, holding it like a yo-yo. If the tension is right, the thread will advance quite easily, if not and the tension is either too tight or too loose then you either get no thread or too much thread released.
    I wish you luck, because when you finally get the kinks out...you are going to love your Tin Lizzie.
    Quilting is my PASSION not my pass time.
    If Your DREAMS don"t Scare You...Then They Are NOT Big Enough!!!Dare to DREAM!


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