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Tension Problems after oiling

edited February 2014 in Ask An HQ Expert
Hi! I have had my HQ Avante 18 for over a year now and just love it. However, I have continually run into this problem. I clean and oil my bobbin case (with a drop of oil) after every two bobbins, but after each time that I oil it, I have tension issues with birdnesting underneath and it always takes some time to get the tension correct again. I have not touched the top tension, so I don't understand why this happens. When I ask others about this they don't seem to have this issue. Any suggestions?


  • Jeshauprich,

    I am sorry that you are having problems with your tension.

    When you put in a new bobbin make sure you test the tension using either the drop test or a tension gauge. Make sure that your bobbin is rotating in a clockwise direction as you pull the thread out.

    It sounds like your thread is coming out of the tension disks. Make sure that you floss it before you test your tension. You can pull your thread as it comes out of the thread up-take arm and see how your tension feels. This way you can have an idea of how tight or loose your top tension is before you start testing your tension.

    We recommend that you keep a quilt sandwich on the side of your quilt or you can place a piece of fabric on the extra batting at the side of your quilt so you can test your tension each time you change to a different bobbin.

    Also, we recommend that you oil your machine after each full bobbin.

    Good luck,

    Cheryl Duncan
    Handi Quilter Studio Educator

  • I've started having this issue too. I've made sure the thread is flossed properly and pull on it to double check. After I monkey with the upper tension a bit, it's fine but the same thing happens after each bobbin change. This has just started to occur lately. I'm wondering if there could be some other cause.
  • You say to test your tension on the side of the quilt? Is that enough room? When my machine was set up, I was shown to just have a stack of small sandwiches to use when testing tension. I have had an aweful time trying to hold the sandwich with one hand and move the machine with the other. Maybe that is why it took me half a bobbin of thread to get the tension right the other day. Also, the extra bobbins I was sold were not slotted Handiquilter bobbins. That made a big difference! Now I have a bunch of bobbins that do not work well. Everything I learned at setup seems to be wrong info, I need to watch the videos again. I have one quilt I finished, but am struggling to get this second quilt.
  • Johanna,

    I am sorry that you are having problems with your tension. Both types of bobbins, the ones with the slots and the ones that do not have the slots should work just fine with your machine as along as they are from Handi Quilter and are the "M" class bobbin.

    When you are setting your tension you will set your bobbin first and each time you change to a new bobbin re-check your tension. After the bobbin tension is set your adjustments will be on the top.

    There are some very good videos under the Education tab on the Handi Quilter website on adjusting your tension.

    We recommend that the back of your quilt be 4-6 inches larger than the top. This way you can test your tension on the side of your quilt. Cut a piece of fabric and lay it on the edge of the batting. You only need to do a couple of loops before you check your tension. Make the necessary changes to your tension and do a couple more loops.

    If you use a quilt sandwich on the side of your quilt make sure that it is out of the same type of fabric as your quilt. If you make it long enough you can pin it around the idler pole and then put it over front pole and hold it with your hip as you test your tension.

    Good luck getting your second quilt done.

    Thank you,

    Cheryl Duncan
    Handi Quilter Studio Educator

  • I'm thinking the bobbins that I have are not Handi Quilter bobbins, they were in a plain zippered bag. I assumed they were real since I bought them from a dealer. I also have four more bobbins from another dealer that are even more different too (they even look different). For whatever reason, the slotted ones that came with my machine seem to work wonderfully. I'm going to set the other ones aside for now, and work with the slotted ones only. Hopefully, I can get more of those some time. I am sick of not knowing what I am truly buying right now and wasting money. Thanks for your help. I can't wait to be more comfortable with this machine. I'm getting there, but it seems like such a long road!
  • Johanna,

    You can always order bobbins directly from Handi Quilter. You can order them on line or call our Customer Service at 1-877-697-8458, M-F, 8-5 MST. They will be glad to help you.

    Good luck,

    Cheryl Duncan
    Handi Quilter Studio Educator
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