Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Machine Woes

Ever have times when it seems machinery hates you? I've been that way this week.

I started quilting my recent mystery quilt, and all was going OK until on Monday afternoon the bobbin ran out. I wound a new bobbin, but the winder didn't stop automatically the way it should, and there was too much thread on the bobbin before I stopped it.  I removed what I thought was enough thread, but actually wasn't. When I pushed the bobbin into its case (little hint there - if it doesn't just drop in, that's a sign of a problem!) it wouldn't rotate properly. And then I couldn't get it out of the case.

Eventually I managed to lever it out with the help of a screw-driver. But that put little nicks in the bobbin. So in my attempt to not waste too much thread, I destroyed a bobbin. Cost so far: $5 (plus a bit of thread).

On Tuesday I had other stuff to do, so couldn't get back to the problem until today. First I wound the thread off the wrecked bobbin onto a new one. Most of it, anyway. This time the bobbin winder stopped correctly. Then I did some quilting on a practice piece, but couldn't get the tension adjusted correctly. It would sew OK for a short distance, then jam up with the bobbin thread too tight to feed. And when I removed the bobbin case from the machine, there was an extra loop of thread out of the edge of the case that shouldn't have been there. This happened a couple of times. Perhaps the bobbin case was also damaged? (Cost of new bobbin case, $119.)  I rang the dealer in Geelong and spoke to their service department, who suggested I take the whole machine in for them to look at. So after lunch, I packed the machine up, popped it in the car, and drove the 75km to Geelong.

Of course the machine worked fine for him. No jams, no tension problems. I don't need a new bobbin case. But he did make one adjustment:

He moved the pre-tensioning bit so that instead of pointing straight down, it is at this angle. He said not to use the little hook between the pre-tensioner and the tension disks. According to him, this way the thread will flow through the machine better.

He also said my bobbin tension was too low, which may have happened when I was messing around trying to get the jammed bobbin out, or may have always been too low. He cast doubt on the needle I was using, even though it was a new one I put in before starting this quilt on Sunday. He showed me a different place to oil the machine from what the manual says. It started to feel like everything I'd been doing with the machine was completely wrong.

Anyway, the machine is back home. I have booked it in for a service in about a month (the first time they had available). I hope it behaves itself until then.


  1. Must have been a full moon your way, I would rather have machine problems than the computer woes I am having at the moment.

  2. I don't like putting my machine in for a service as it is away for a week. It is like having my arm cut off!

  3. Yikes, you go in for one issue and come out with the plague!? Hope your machine is behaving itself now?

  4. I have also been told to have a tighter bobbin tension. So it is not you, the standards have changed. Make sure you talk nicely in the machine's hearing, you don't want to be on its wrong side.

  5. I feel so sorry for you with these annoying tension and bobbin woes. Even though I live in a major city, help is a bit scarce on the ground here for my brand of sewing machine. I use YouTube instead. The correct solution is not always there, but the entertainment soothes my nerves a bit. Sometimes the correct solution has been posted by a bloke in another country who loves to tinker with machinery. Now, if only I could find the solution to my frilly binding ... ho hum oh dear.