Tuesday, 20 September 2011

###%*&^@@#$) (or words to that effect)

Last thursday I was entrusted with someone elses quilt top and asked to quilt it on the long arm - the quilt top has rocket ship appliques, as well as planets and aliens and is asymetrically pieced - it's fabulous (I forgot to get permission to take a photo so I can't show you) - and after some discussion, it was agreed the simple, organic 'straight' lines with variegated thread was in order.  We also agreed it'd be ready tomorrow (wednesday).

Fast forward to today - time to load the quilt and get cracking.  I was thinking to myself this will take a couple of hours, go to whoa, easy peasy japanesey, then lunch, then maybe a bit of my sewing.....so, quilt was duly loaded and because it was a quilting commission, I changed the needle and threaded up.....and then noticed the light on the machine wasn't working - oh well, I can get around that until I can buy a new bulb, or whatever it has....

The first couple of rows were ok - these stabilise the quilt and are necessarily slowly worked - and then it was time to start the organic lines - so switched to 'regulated' and off I went. About 2 seconds into the first line, the top thread broke - so checked the threading, rethreaded the needle and off I went again.  About 7 seconds later, the top thread broke again - did the usual checks, rethreaded and off I went again......and you guessed it, the top thread broke again.....what the????

Took the bobbin out - gave it a super clean, put it back - took all thread out of the top and rethreaded from scratch, rechecked the tension and then started a little sewing off the quilt to check - now I was getting skipped stitches and more broken threads - starting to get very frustrated now, and swearing.  My organic quilted lines were now starting to resemble something with a nasty growth...

I took the commission quilt off the machine and loaded my practice piece (thank goodness for zippered leaders), located my instruction manual for the machine and went through their check list - same result....and I'm hoping it's not a timing issue because resolution of that is a great big pain in your posterial end. 

I was thinking I'd have to quilt this quilt with my domestic machine and I wasn't looking forward to it.

In the end, I phoned the company I bought the machine from - and the wonderful Rick of Elizabeth Machines suggested a few more reasons why the thread kept breaking - including the dreaded timing issue - and I was to try with different thread, check to see there wasn't a piece of broken needle in the hook which was shearing the thread and failing that, check the timing.  While I was on the phone, I ordered a few supplies and mentioned I needed a new light bulb - Rick asked me to check whether it was a fluoro or an LED - it was LED - so he said, "might sound like a dumb question, but have you switched the light on??"  Switched the light on???  I didn't know there was a seperate switch for the light...........and lo and behold, I flicked the switch and the light came on.......hallelujah.......and that's when I noticed the needle I had so professionally changed at the beginning, wasn't in straight (the long-arm needles don't have a flat back like domestic sewing machine needles, they're round all the way round, so you have to be careful that they're exactly aligned front-on, or you get skipped stitches and your top thread breaks.....).

Funnily enough, once I fixed that, the stitching behaved beautifully.........so, unloaded the practice quilt, reloaded the commission quilt (after spending an hour removing all the previously stitched lines) and  an hour later, I had one, very nicely quilted quilt - and the only time it stopped was when the bobbin thread ran out. 

I had plans to make a couple of farmers wife blocks this afternoon but after my quilting adventures, I've decided a glass of wine and a veg in front of the telly is much more beneficial to my mental health!


  1. Hate days like this because I always feel like it was something I should have known already even if it wasn't. So pleased it only took a phone call to sort it out. And where would be all be without a glass of wine and crap telly?! Some days it is just necessary.

  2. Maybe a hot bath will help :):) When all else fails, I take a hot bath with bubbles :):) I'm good at ignoring my problems. Sadly they always there when I dry off :(:( Sooo, maybe never mind! I'm glad it worked out for after all. Sandie

  3. LOL that's brilliant - don't you love those questions 'is it switched on?' .... of course it is ..... oh perhaps not LOL Yep glass of wine and veg on the sofa was def. the only way to end that day. xx

  4. You poor thing......how frustrating! There's nothing like technical difficulties to get right up your nose and muck up your plans. When you're on a mission, you need your tools to work! So glad you worked it out :)

  5. Yikes! What a story. I can't imagine the stress of sewing on someone else's quilt, but I don't think a thing about it when I take it to my quilter. I thought the light part sounded like something that might happen to me, and I'm so glad you got it all worked out in the end. I agree with Sandra Kaye--a hot bath!

    Elizabeth E.


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