Thursday, October 24, 2013

Persnickety Stitching!

I set up my sweet baby last evening all ready for a few hours of quiet hotel room stitching ---

I hadn't taken this painted lady out for a while ---

The last time I ran her, she did just fine, but then….I wasn't sewing through PAPER!

Would paper make a big difference? I wouldn't have thought so…..

But I had been pulling my hair out over her all last evening…..and let me tell you, when you are in fairly rural South Carolina, you don’t want to have to find a Walmart around 8 to 10 miles away after 9:30 at night just to see if by chance they do still carry machine needles.

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See this lovely seam?  This is what she does when simply sewing through two layers of fabric.

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Add a layer of paper…and this is what you get!
((This is the back side, paper is on the top!))

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I checked websites –some said to scootch the needle down just a hair, and perhaps rotate it to make better contact with the hook.  THIS is what I got.  ARGH!

I checked for lint in the bobbin case.  I made sure the thread was coming off the bobbin counter-clock wise….I reset the needle ----

Therein lies my problem.  I forgot my regular “grab and go” sewing box that has things like spare needles of various sizes and rotary blades and lint brush and – well, you know…STUFF. At home.

I read on one forum to change the SIZE of the needle…and make sure the size of thread you are using is not too large or too small for the needle size you have ---which is what I was going to do until I realized in my zeal to solve this problem that it was already past 9:30pm and even if I did scrounge up needles at this hour at some 24 hour Walmart 10 miles away, by the time I got back to the hotel I would be too tired to sew anyway ---

So I persevered.  I messed with the pressure on the presser foot by turning the knob at the top of the machine.  Things got a bit better……mostly.  And I got this:

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Only one skipping in the middle…..*sigh*

See, it isn’t even skpping at regular intervals….it’s so very random!
And ONLY when paper piecing…weird.

I knew it was time to stop when:

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Uhoh!  We have a problem!
((And see a couple skipped stitches in the seam??))

Today I’m teaching an Oklahoma Backroads class for the Loose Threads Guild in Clinton, South Carolina.  Tonight I have a lecture – but I am hoping in between the two that I can pick up some various sizes of needles and see if I can nail this problem down.

It’s NOT a timing issue as it stitches just fine with two layers of fabric and NO paper…but add the paper, skip to m’lou my darling!

If I can’t find needles today --- I can tomorrow on my way to Columbia when I head over to the Greater Columbia Quilters.

Oh.  And I get lunch with my son, Jason – who happens to have Friday off from work!  Maybe I can even get him to help me unload the van and set up?  We will see!

Happy Thursday, Everyone!

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Eileen said...

My featherweight did the same thing and I think I did as you did , turned the knob on the top. Wasn't PP either. Good Luck with it today

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I hate sewing machines problems - I am really bad about trying to "fix" it and it takes me forever. good luck I hope you don't have too much trouble with it.

Bj said...

also try a drop of oil, it always does wonder for my machine, it's a $99 Walmart machine but they all like oil :) Best of Luck!

Kristy said...

Bonnie ~ did you take the throat plate off for any reason? You may know this,but if the bobbin is not in the right position when you put the plate back on it will skip like that.

mascanlon said...

I'd have given up a lot quicker and started surfing...lol

wendy bradley said...

Hopefully some of the ladies at your lecture will have seen your blog and bring some extra needles for you. Good luck. I"m still puzzled about the mystery quilt, it will be my first one. The colors are so different to what I'm used to. Have a fantastic day!!!!

Miss Carol said...

I know how aggravating it is when you try everything you can and it still isn't right. Hope you get it fixed quick! I am sure Jason will help if you buy lunch! OH the life of a Mom! Have a wonderful visit.

pineneedles4 said...

I know this sounds crazy but my featherweight was skipping stitches and I tightened the belt a tad and it stitched perfectly. Apparently the pressure of sewing through paper needed the extra pressure and my belt must have just been a tiny bit loose, but enough to make a difference.

Regina said...

First, I'd replace the needle and make sure it is flat side to the left. If that didn't work, I'd go back to the the bobbin case base and look for piece of thread, paper or lint. You might have a bit caught behind the base and have to remove it to get to it.
Check this website: http://www.featherweight221.com/fwrx/blog/blog.php?id=646585853155721159

ria vogelzang said...

Like Bj, I also immediately thought of a drop of oil.........
Hope it is soon solved!!
Have a great time!
Love, Ria.
(the Netherlands).

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

I encountered the same thing when paper piecing my storm at sea (80 9" blocks). Ugh!

Julie Vee said...

Do you think it might have something to do with the feed dogs not being as able to grip paper that well? Tried various length stitches? Please let us know, when you resolve this issue, what it was doing.
Smiles, JulieinTN

Tamara Hampton said...

mine does this once in a while! I have tried everything... eventually it stops... i dont know why!!!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I have one machine that is just for paper piecing. When I change to just fabric, it has problems and I have to seriously adjust the tension on it. Oh well, I guess that's why I have 4 machines in my sewing room that keep getting changed out for different projects all the time.

Judymc said...

My Featherweight was skipping stitches and I figured out that the wiring was bad between the machine plug and the foot pedal. I also had skipped stitches with my second Featherweight when I was using Masterpiece thread. I use Universal needles and either Mettler or Coats & Clark thread for best results. I paper piece with tissue paper, too.

Cathy Smith said...

I was fighting with this exact same problem last night on my "new to me" White machine. It sounds bad to say, but I'm glad you had the issue too as I'm getting a ton of advice on solving the problem. But I'm leaning toward Judymc's comment because the motor also sounded like it was getting power surges. :( Hope you're problem is fixed with the needle change.

Ivani said...

Usually when the needle is blind it skipped stitches. Hope you can figure out what is the problem.

crazy quilter said...

Good grief Charlie Brown what is going on... ???? I hate it when this happens and I cannot figure out what the cause is. Too strange it works fine on two layers of fabric and not with one tiny layer of paper.... I do hope you find the answer. in the mean time I will do some research and see if I see a cure... and send your way.

crazy quilter said...

I found this Skipping Stitches
Needle not correctly or accurately set into the needle bar, blunt, or bent.
Needle too small for the thread used.
You probably looked here already and if it works fine with 2 pieces of fabric how can this be the issue? What about the needle, not bent is it?
And this too? It is very important to use good threads such as Gutermann, Mettler or Signature. This is especially true for skipping and broken thread problems.You are probably using my favorite Auriful, which works fine in my featherweight but not the 301 it likes heaver thread... and breaks the aurafil often...

Arvella Gatlin said...

Sure fire fix for this-----CHOCOLATE!!

Fran Russell said...

I have this problem on my Featherweight when I use different weights of thread in the top and bottom, ie fine bobbin thread on the bottom and another thread on top. If I use the same weight thread both places everything works fine.

Mary said...

Not all paper is created equally. Perhaps the selection for this project is part of the problem?

Val said...

Bonnie, this is exactly what my Featherweight does when sewing through paper..no matter what I do with needles and threads, its always the same problem