Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some Answers to Quilting Problem

In my last post I asked for help with a problem I was having while free motion quilting. I would be sewing along smoothly with no problem and all at once I would get this little loop on top of my fabric.

I asked for help on Art Digest as well as my blog. There are several helpful comments on the last post as well as the ones I am publishing here. I was asked several times what brand machine I have. (Janome 6600)

1-Change needle, even if it's new (it was)

2-Rethread top and bobbin (I did)

3-Make sure the machine is clean, lint free, etc. (I had just cleaned it)

4-Check machine for burrs. Check the hook and the needle plate. I'm taking my machine to be serviced next week and will have this checked.

5-Even though you think your machine is clean; there still may be specks (thread) and lint (batting or fabric) jammed in places that are not easily seen.

6-Tension may need adjusting, top and bottom.

7-A larger needle, (this was the largest suggestion I received)

8-Try a tiny bit of silicone fluid along the side of the top thread spool, be sparse with the fluid and don't get it mixed in the oil used for machine's innards.

Note: My machine, Janome 6600 directions book does not show a place or instructions for oiling. I do not have a Janome dealer near me, I purchased my machine at a show. I assumed the machine did not need oiling. That will be one question I ask when I take my machine in next week.

9-I also received questions why I used Bottom Line in the top since it is a bobbin thread. I have used it in the past when I wanted the thread to take a light presence in my quilting, and had no difficulty with the thread.

10-On the other hand my friend and accomplished machine quilter, Diana Pickens says, "I do not have much luck with Bottom Line as the top thread. My theory is the thread is so thin that the tension plates have trouble keeping constant tension".

11-Diana also suggested that I do some experimental testing. I'm not good at that, but then again Diana is a good quilter and I'm not. I am going to post her suggestions as I think they are helpful and good advice.

(Step-1) I think the loop you see is a skipped stitch, where the top thread is looped around the bobbin case, but the bobbin thread is not grabbing it. I suggest you put the good quilt aside while you work on test pieces. Grab a couple fabrics similar in weight to your good piece and baste them with the same batting. Keep everything else the same and see if the problem is repeated.
(Step 2) Rethread top Bottom Line, keep bobbin the same. See if problem repeats.
(Step 3) Next rethread you bobbin, and try again. If you have another bobbin already spun, put that in. Restitch to see if you still have loops. Sometime just reseating the bobbin case may make a difference. (this was suggested a few times as well)
(Step 4) Try a new needle, Try regular cotton thread. Very important, TAKE NOTES.

I have put the quilt aside that I was working on and am now quilting a different piece. So far I'm not having any troubles. I changed my needle to #80, I also changed threads. I like Mettler, or maybe my machine likes Mettler, but I find it works well for me.

After I finish the piece I'm working on now I will start working on the piece I was having trouble with. Hopefully with the knowledge I received from everyone, along with having my machine serviced, I will be able to do a better job.

Thanks so much for your support, quilters are so generous.


  1. Marilyn, I also have the 6600 and at my free intro session the dealer showed me where to oil. I can send you a pic this evening if you like.

  2. Hi Mailyn
    I have a 6600 and my machine does not stitch well with Bottom line in the top or used as the bobbin thread. I think Bottom Line was developed to be used in Bernina's and when I have used it in that brand of machine it does great. My 6600 loves Isacord, top and bottom, but I have also set the bobbin tension to handle this thread( it says it is a 40wt polyester thread) but looks and stitches thinner. You could also see if you get that light touch look by using 60/2 weight Mettler's cotton embroidery weight thread instead of the Bottom line. I use 75/11 embroidery needles to quilt with and use Wam & Natural Batting. What batting are you using.
    The only place I put oil in my 6600 is a drop in the hole in the center where the bobbin case is. I do this when it looks dry and or after about 8 hours of machine use. Hope my thoughts helped some.

  3. Thanks for the info and Sharon I would love a photo. I am taking it in Fri. and will talk to the mechanic.

    Juanita, I use Mettler an it is my favorite thread on this machine. I couldn't use Bottom Line in my Pfaff 7550 but have more success with it in the Janome. Thanks for the advice

  4. I forgot to answer your question about batting. I normally use warm and natural, however, in this piece I am using heavy flannel because I need black and couldn't get warm and Natural in black in my area. Don't think that would make a difference but don't know.

  5. I have had a similar problem with my 6600 and am inclined to think the Bottom Line thread on top is the culprit. My machine sews like a dream with everything else. As for oil, my dealer showed me where to put a drop of oil in the bobbin case into the little circle that looks like it has felt in it. I was told the company suggests doing that only once or twice a year, but my dealer told me that since I am a "heavy user" I should do it between projects. I love this machine, but it is still a mystery to me why they don't mention anything about oil in the manual! I have two houses and two 6600s and both run like tops with the oiling I do.