Quilting Warm Fuzzy Feelings #4

Mmmm....Quilting!When your machine is having issues, but you know exactly what to do to fix the problem.

It’s a great WFF (and a relief!) when you are able to troubleshoot effectively to fix any minor problems you may be having with your machine during a quilting session. Keep the following things in mind to be able to solve pesky machine issues and maximize your quilting time.

  • Use the manual. Keep the manual for your machine handy, and break it out often when you run into a problem. Most manuals have a troubleshooting section, and this should be your first stop.
  • Check your settings. Check the settings on the machine. If you’ve accidentally hit a button, you may have changed a setting inadvertently. Alternatively, you may not be setting the machine properly to do the task at hand. Check the feed dogs (are they up or down?), the presser foot (did you remember to lower it?) and the thread tension (is it properly adjusted?). Read the manual to be sure you know how to set the machine to do the task at hand.
  • Reset it. Turn the machine off and back on. Today’s computerized machines sometimes benefit from a restart, just like the computer on your desktop.
  • Rethread and reload. Rethreading the top and bobbin threads can often solve the problem, since threads can become tangled during high speed sewing, or even for no apparent reason. Sometimes, it’s just not threaded right to start with.
  • Change the needle. Load a new needle or a different size or type. A rough spot on the needle or a slight bend in the shaft can wreak havoc, and you won’t even know it’s there. You may need a different size or type of needle for the type of thread you’re using or the task at hand. If you’re experiencing thread breakage or skipped stitches, try a larger size needle, or a specialty needle for machine quilting or metallic threads, if that’s what you’re doing. A new or different kind of needle can be a quick fix.
  • Critique the thread. Check the thread spool for any rough spots that may hang up the top thread. I’ve had endless trouble with certain brands of thread (most notably YLI Machine Quilting!) because the thread spools are just terrible. They have rough spots on both ends, and no matter which way I load the spool on the machine, the thread will hang up on it’s own spool. I’ve even tried a separate free-standing thread holder, to no avail. Some things are just stubborn, so if moving the thread spool around doesn’t fix the problem, you may have to just use different thread altogether and chuck the offender.
  • Take a break. If you’ve gotten this far and are still experiencing problems, you may need a break. Get up and walk away, and come back to it later. One of two things will happen: when you come back, you may find that it was something simple that you just overlooked in your mounting frustration, or, you’ll be able to see that it really is a problem that you can’t fix yourself, and you should take it in to your service center for repairs.

Using the above steps to troubleshoot any machine issues you may run into will provide more hours of frustration free quilting, and more WFF’s!