Friday, August 19, 2011

For What It's Worth . . .

I have another little quilting/sewing tip--or maybe two--tonight. First, in the block below, see how the seems aren't pressed very flat? Particularly that one seam? It's not THAT big a deal to have the occasional seam going the wrong way or not laying completely flat, but you should be aware that if your seams are pressed flat to one side or another, the seam line will be straighter. Of course, we all mis-press a seam or get one caught in another seam going the wrong way occasionally, but when it happens more often than not, chances are the look of the front of the quilt will suffer too. Paying attention to details really does make a difference in the quality of the finished quilt.


What I really wanted to talk about here, though, is tension. See the wavy line of the bobbin thread in some seams? I think you can especially see the loops in the seam on the right side of the photo where a blue square meets a blue and gold half square triangle, right? I've had that same thing happen with my Bernina, and no matter how I adjust the tension, it still isn't right. I probably should take it in to be cleaned and checked out, but I've been procrastinating.

Berninas, however, are pretty well known for that type of tension problem, and there's a simple solution that I've never heard from any "official" source, but it's been passed on to me by other Bernina owners. If you have a Bernina and have had wonky tension--and if you don't already know about this--maybe this will help.

All you have to do is run the bobbin thread through that little hole in the doo-hickey, like this:


Here's another look from a different angle.


After running the thread through the hole, just pop the bobbin into the case and sew as you normally would.

I don't know if there are similar tricks for other machine brands, do you? If so, please share in the comments.

11 comments:

Patty said...

Kim, I don't own a bernina but my commercial embroidery machines have that type of bobbin holder and I was instructed to put the bobbin thread throught tha hole. It will not sew properly without that step in the threading process.

Pat said...

Wow. I'll have to try that! Sometimes those tension problems are due to the combination of threads, the needle size and the fabric, but I'll have to give your little trick a shot. I've also tried those little bobbin washers to remedy the bobbin thread snarls on the underside of my quilt when I am machine quilting. They work.

Nancy said...

I thread my bobbin thread through that hole when I machine quilt. It helps with the tension then, but I have a 440 and never have had tension problems...and never with my other two prior machines...

Marla said...

I have a Bernina 440 too and don't have tension problems but I will try threading thru that doo-hickey to see if it gets even better. I always wondered about that as have never done it. You know...if it ain't broke...

Gran - Knot-y Embroidery Lady said...

Doo-hickey eh!? When I get up from my morning tea I will go and see if my old machine (not a fancy-dancy one like yours) and see if the bobbin case has a doo-hickey. I have had on occasion the same problem with tension and thought that it was operator error ... You suggestion is worth a try if I have a doo-hickey on my bobbin case.

Now, more important how are you feeling today? I am worried because you did not come to party with me at my Fabric Garden last night. We had fun. Kept looking for you.

Hugs

Miss Jean said...

I have a 1090 and a 440 and I haven't had any problem in the past with the bottom tension. I'll certainly give it a try, though, to see if it improves my stitches.

Thanks for always looking out for us and giving us great advice!

Nicole said...

Great tip Kim!! Thanks.

debbie said...

Glad you're feeling well enough to be bloging again.
I've learned that it is very quick (and I don't do anything quickly) to pop a few stitches out, flip that wayward seam over and restitch about a half inch before and after that area. It really makes a difference in how blocks lay, and fit together.
I have a newer Bernina that has self adjusting tension. It can also be manually adjusted. It is very picky when it comes to thread, and lint. It drives me crazy sometimes...so I just have to pull out Vic, my huskvarna viiking. It will sew through anything and never gives me a tension problem. I like the way the Bernina pieces, but often do my quiling on Vic.
Thanks for the hints :o)

debstokes said...

Kim, I have a Bernina and I don't have tension issues with piecing. I don't put the bobbin thread through that hole. But with I use my stitch regulator to FMQ I do always put the bobbin thread through the hole. Then I don't have to change my tension. The instructor where I bought my machine showed us that trick. About half the folks in the room got better FMQ using the hole and the other half didn't need it? Kind of odd but what ever makes the smoothest stitches I'm all for!! Deborah

Angie said...

Well, huh, I haven't had any problems with my tension (knock on wood!), but I'm going to thread it through there anyway. An ounce of prevention and all that, right? :D Thanks bunches for the tip.

Busy Little Quilter said...

Hi, Kim!
I have a Bernina 1030 and a 1530. The only time I use that little hole is when I am machine appliqueing.

Let's say that I have a wallhanging. Instead of appliqueing it before I quilt it, I applique it after I get all the layers together. That way I can use the applique as the quilting.

So, say the back of my quilt is pink, but the applique I am doing is green. I will put the pink thread in the bobbin, put it through that little hole, and when I'm appliqueing the green on top, the pink doesn't pull through. I'm sure that has to do with tension, as well, but I have never used it for that reason.

If I am having bobbin problems, I take the bobbin holder out of the machine. I then hold it up by the thread. If it drops really fast then I know it's too loose, so I tighten the screw. If it seems a little tight, then I loosen the screw. (Righty tighty; leftly loosey)

You mention your stitch being a little wavy...it could be the needle you are using, too. You wouldn't think a needle size or type would make that much difference, but it does.