Monday, January 17, 2011

Problems with Quilting Stitch

I was free-motion quilting when I heard a little noise. After looking at my quilt I found this loop. You can see that the stitch is consistent and then the loop and then consistent again. (The thread did not break) Can't figure it out. I was using a new needle size 70, Bottom Line thread in the top with Artifil in the bobbin. Anyone have a suggestion?

After weeks of procrastinating, delaying, going into my studio and looking around and walking out again I finally started machine quilting on a piece that has been done for months. Quilting is by far the hardest part of my work. I have problems deciding the design that I'm going to do and I'm not comfortable with my ability to quilt it as I would like.

In general when I get started the design falls into place and works out well. The piece that I'm working on now has had me stumped for months because it is a new technique for me.

You will see that the large design is a blended photograph that I printed in banners and sewed into a large piece. In this photo I am over painting on parts that I want to recess into the background. I want to enhance the design, not cover it up, yet there are parts that I want to stand out.

Having the problem with the thread yesterday gave me another excuse not to work on the piece. I work in my studio everyday unless I am away from home so not wanting to go in there to work is a real new thing for me.

I'm hoping it's the weather, time of year and I get over this soon. I don't like it.


  1. If the needle is the only difference in all the things you are doing, my idea would be to try using your old favorite needle size for a while. Perhaps the thread is being grabbed by the fabric because the hole is too small.

  2. Hi Marilyn--Just listened to a program from Bob of Superior Threads and he said he always recommends a top stitch needle (the titaniuim-coated one from Superior, of course).

  3. I would also recommend switching needles - try a #80, which is also recommended by Superior for BL.

  4. I use a 90 embroidery needle. When I try to go smaller, I get the loops you are having. The 90 makes a little larger hole in the fabric but disappears when the fabric is pressed. I hope one of these answers smooths the way!

  5. I had a similar problem once and after trying all the needle changes etc. and nothing helped, I took it to my LQS (that is also a Pfaff dealer and service place), and it turned out to be a small machine timing problem - something I couldn't remedy in any way. Just an idea if nothing else helps, but I hope you solve it fast - nothing more frustrating than this!

  6. Marilyn - try the following:

    1. Insert a different new needle (sometimes new needles have a flaw from the factory).
    2. Clean any loose thread from your bobbin case and lower machine area.
    3. Rethread both the top and bobbin area. Check your take-up arm and upper tension area for loose thread particles.

    Anytime I've had problems like this with my domestic machine these are the steps that I take first. If the problems do not resolve after that then try using a different thread combination. After that if I can't fix it I give up and hit the chocolate!
    Hope this helps.

  7. Thank you all for your comments on my problem. I asked the Art Digest members the same question and am posted on the results. For the time being my problem is solved, can't really say what the different is because I tried a lot of suggestions at once. The thing that really puzzles me is that my machine will sew for a lot time without a problem and then all of a sudden a loop will occur.

    Margie I love your idea.