Saturday, 6 June 2009

Big Bertha............... NOT behaving herself today.

Husband set up the frame this morning and I gleefully got Big Bertha out. (For those of you who have not yet met her, Big Bertha is my 17" throat long-arm machine.) I gave her a good clean, oil to drink, and a nice shiny new needle. Was she grateful? Was she heck!

As she hadn't been used for a couple of months, I decided to do a trial run before I put a quilt on. I am sooo glad I made that decision. At first the tension was so bad that the top thread was just lying on the top fabric, then I started to get loops of bobbin thread showing on the top. Fiddle with tension, try again, and again, and again. Some improvement, but not enough. I was trying to use So Fine on the top as well as the bobbin, which I had never done before. I was also using prewound bobbins, which I usually use. OK, I thought, I'll go back to using my usual, King Tut on the top. Exactly the same problem as before. Change the tension, and again, and again. I just can't get a decent stitch top and bottom. The top stitches seem to be loose somehow and there are almost loops of top thread on the top. Got fed up. put her to bed for the night and walked away. If anyone has any suggestions as to what to try I would be very grateful to hear them. Please? Anyone?........


  1. I don't know anything about this type of machine, but maybe your bobbin thread isn't going through its tension place properly. Or maybe the top thread is too tight / caught up somewhere (though usually it snaps when this happens). Is the machine fussy about which way in the bobbin goes? That's about all I can think of, assuming you're happy you put the right needle in (topstitch 90 for King Tut).

    Better luck tomorrow!

  2. I know nothing about your machine but can well understand your frustration. There must be something out of whack somewhere. Something loose or not threading through properly. Usually for me, it is something with the bobbin.

  3. Funny you both suggest a problem with the bobbin. During the night I decided to try 2 things this morning. 1, try a different prewound bobbin in case I've got a funny one somehow and 2, to take the tension thingy apart completely and "rebuild" it, in case something's got stuck in there somewhere. If neither of those work then I'll try 3, stamping my foot and crying.

  4. 1. use a different bobbin
    2. check you've threaded Bertha correctly (sounds basic but trust me - we've all done it!)
    3. do you have rollers tensions too tight
    4. what are the different components of the sandwich - does the backing fabric have a very tight weave, is it a batting you've not tried before, is the quilt top full of batik, is the backing batik?
    5. is the humidity of the room very different from usual
    6. clean hook assembly area very thoroughly, even the smallest bit of linty build up can throw things off
    7. change needle
    8. sit down with a nice cold drink
    9. phone me if necessary to discuss all the things I've forgotten to suggest

  5. Thanks Bilbo, I'm about to work through the list, but please could I start with no 8?

  6. I love your longarm...It is wonderful. I just found your blog, and I enjoyed it so much!


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