Sunday, October 11, 2009

Next question!

I have decided to go with either a pale green or a soft lavender for the quilting on my purple/yellow flowery quilt, but I am NOT keen on having my stitches show since I suck, so I'd like to do a dark purple on the back, to match the backing. I'll use the same color to do to the borders, which will (I hope) have some sort of pattern and will not just be stippling like the rest of the quilt.

But I'm having a problem, and perhaps you have some insight into this as well?

No matter what I do, the top thread shows through the bottom of the quilt. Now, the manual says that this is because of the thread tension, but changing the thread tension doesn't help or creates the opposite problem. There appears to be no balance. So I did some reading and concluded that perhaps it is the tension of the bobbin thread, which I am told is adjusted using a small screw on the side of the bobbin case. Now, I can barely get that screw to move at all, and what little I did move it made no discernible difference. I changed to a finer needle, and that seemed to help a wee bit, but the problem remains.

What do you do to achieve thread parity on your sewing machine? Please note that I am not into voodoo or any other kind of spooky ritual and will not sacrifice a goat, but I am willing to consider explosives and the judicious use of baseball bats.


Vicki W said...

I don't understand why it's difficult to change your bobbin tension. Maybe you have a bad bobbin case. I change the tension on my bobbin all the time. Some people advocate NEVER changing bobbin tension but once you get into free-motion quilting or specialty threads you need to be able to be able to adjsut everything. If you are concerned about losing the "right" tension, use a Sharpie to mark hash marks on the screw and case so you know where you started. But I'd keep playing with that bobbin tension if I were you.

Barbara said...

Could be a multitude of things. Needle, thread or tension. Some threads just don't work well together without a lot of ajustments in both the top tension and the bottom tension. Try different weight thread for the bottom. Try even a different size needle (I always check the Superior Thread website on what size needle for certain weights of thread and go from there.) If all else fails, use the same thread color and all for both the top and bottom and it won't be an issue.
As far as your bobbin, maybe you should turn it the other way. When you hang a thread from your bobbin case it shouldn't roll out unless you "bounce" and then it shouldn't that much. Hard to describe in words. But, I'm kind of lazy and if I have to go through so much trouble, I just change the threads that I know play well together. Good luck.

Brenda said...

I am totally lazy and just use a print on the back so my quilting doesn't show much and use the same thread for the top and the bottom. Good luck to you!

Andi said...

Longarmers struggle with this ALL the time, so I rarely use different colors of thread. I heard an explanation that it's not really a tension issue, but the fact that the thread will almost always be thinner than the hole made by the needle, so you are actually seeing the thread that is in between the layers of your fabric. Find a tension you can live with and just go for it.

Leah Day said...

I agree with what everyone else has said - it may be a tension issue, but it may also be the alignment of the planets and your astrological sign. Since adjusting your tension didn't work, it's probably the latter.

Your machine just likes you better when you use the same thread in the top and the bobbin.

Changing brands, weights, and even color can make my Juki have fits. Don't fight your machine or your quilt, you won't win.

Good luck!

Leah Day

2ndAvenueStudio-Rachel said...

If this is a quilt your going to use some of this will "wash out" meaning when you wash it it will fluff and cover. But there is no way to prevent dark purple dots showing on your yellow(so skip those small areas). Thread choice is so tough to master. Try a medium purple on the back as light as you dare to better match the front.

I have to admit I am with Brenda on this. Having a quilt back that is the same level of color saturation and in a print is the secret. imoho.

Liz Schaffner said... NOT touch the screw on you bobbin case!!! Unless you have another one with the original setting! Once you start messing with trying to adjust the bobbin tension all you will do is a lot of swearing! Trust me on this one!! LOL
Most of the experts use the same thread on top and bottom to avoid this trouble. I use a fabric on the back side of the quilt (busy designs help) that matches the thread that I wish to use on the front. In your case a fabric that the pale green or lavender would disappear into so that if your quilting isn't perfect (whose is?) then you wouldn't be so noticeable.
Save yourself ALOT of frustration and use one thread color but if you really want to try adjusting your bobbin write me privately and I will try and explain it.
Good Luck!
P.S. Diane Gaudynski has a lot of good tips.( I love her quilting)

Liz Schaffner said...

I forgot to mention that if you really want to use 2 different thread colors ...use a very thick batting, it helps balance it out. Thin battings show the problem even more.

Pokey said...

again, funny! You have good advice, here. And it is true, moving the bobbin screw can give trouble, you only want to move it a hair's width turn. Solution? Seriously, printed backgrounds cover a multitude of sins! pokey

Lisa said...

I have also struggled with this issue. Lots of good advice.