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In this Discussion

Thread tension
  • I have had the sweet sixteen a couple weeks and can't seem to get the tension right. I am actually in the middle of quilting a quilt, but when I had to put in a new bobbin and then later change the top thread, each time I've had to adjust the tension. It took me a long time to get an acceptable tension on the bottom -- is this normal? I hoped that if I was using the same thread I wouldn't have to keep adjusting. It's very frustrating -- I spend more time quilting samples to get the tension right than I am spending quilting.
  • I'm having the same problem with my Avante. Hopefully someone can help us.
  • Hey sounds like we are having the same problem. I am thinking of calling their tech center to see what the problem is. My bobbin seems to be having problems staying in the correct tension even with the same bobbin.
  • Jill, I am having the same trouble. Seems everytime I change a thread it is a major project to set up the thread again. I use up a lot of thread too. I like the King Tut thread and I wish I could get it set in the bobbin to work, cause I like to use the same color on top and bottom. I feel your frustration. I just found this site, so if you came up with a solution, please let me know
  • If your putting King Tut thread thru your bobbin case I'm sure you'll have to loosen your bobbin tension quite a bit. Are you doing the bobbin test by holding it in your hand and letting it drop? It should drop like on a spider web and king tut is a heavier thread so don't be afraid to loosen the bobbin tension. hope this helps..
  • Thanks saydee, I think you also helped me on one of the other sites on here too. I think you are feeling my frustration, and I so thank you for the help. Yeah, I figured that the King Tut was probably too heavy. I just hate messing with the bobbin so much and trying for hours to get it set right. I think I will stick to the Bottom line and get me some more colors so I am more prepared. I love how the King Tut works on the top, so just was hoping that it worked in the bobbin too. Again, thanks
  • Edna, I can certainly relate. I am finding that the thread also on top makes a big difference. I was using a thread that caused a lot of lint and fuse and so I screwed the tension knob almost all the way out and cleaned it with my brush. I am learning so much by being in a group of long arm quilters. If you can, try to get a group of ladies to gether and solve some of those problems. A new thread on the market is Omni. Almost no lint. And King Tut works great on the top. I just wish they had more videos on the site for setting the tension and what it looks like with different problems. Wouldnt that be great!! Keep trying Edna. I almost quit too, but I think we are just missing somthing. And once you know it really helps
  • Just wanted to add that if you gals like a thinner thread on top sometimes because of alot of back tracking like on some feather designs, superiors So Fine #50 is also a great thread to use. They also have a heavier thread #30 too. Try them also. There no Lint and they are polyester but have a cotton look.
  • I've just spent the better part of the morning trying to adjust bobbin tension and the frustration level is pretty high right now. I bought a bobbin tension guide, but I haven't seen much benefit up to now. Maybe I just don't know how to use it properly. I have no problem getting a beautiful stitch on top with any type of thread, but the bobbin is my nightmare. I'm trying to use Bottom Line by Superior and I'm just not sure my machine likes it very much. I'm a fairly new owner of the HQSS and I desperately want to bond with her, but right now, I'm not so sure it's not just easier to stuff a quilt through that small throat space on my Bernina. Anybody got any suggestions?
  • I am having some of the same issues written about here. My top thread keeps breaking and the machine un threads itself. It is like I am passing myself. I know this makes no sense but that is the only way I know to discribe .... I seem to be able to stitch beautifully for about 10 inches and then the needle unthreads itself and breaks the top thread. I have tried about everything. This seems to happen everytime I try a different thread. I am so disgusted.
  • I'm so sorry to hear all girls having this tension problem. I got my sweet sixteen s.s. back in november 2011 and I don't seem to have these issues. I do alot of quilts for a bernina store (display quilts) in my area. Isn't there a Handi quilter dealer in your area that can show you how to adjust tension? If your top thread is breaking than the top tension might be too tight. Try looseining the bobbin tension and then the top also.W hat your trying to achieve is a Balanced stitch with lesser tension so your thread won't break. I really wish I could help you all. I 'm loving this machine and I know their not cheap. Don't give up on this issue.I think once you learn the adjusting concept, you''ll love it too.
  • Saydee is right, dont get frustrated. I had to face the fact that is was me not the machine. One thing I did was to get on the Superior Threads site and watch there videos on thread. The guy teaching this, his name is Bob. Didnt know there was so much to learn about thread.
    I am learning that if I use the same brand of thread in my bobbin that I am getting better results. I do not have to hardly change the tension on it. But the top thread is the one thread we all change with every project, so that tension will be changed more often. But if you can only use the Omni or King Tut, it doesnt have to change much. But I find that I do need to unscrew the tension once in awhile and use a thread to floss the area. Seems sometimes I am getting a lint ball in that area.
    I have learned over the years with my domectic machine that sometimes the thread problem just needs to be solved by redoing everything. Change the needle, clean of dust and lint, rethread both bobbin and top, and oil, and maybe even take a break and have a cup of tea or coffee and a bite of chocolate!
    Keep at it, it will come together!
  • I am so excited it is just not me. I have had my Avante for about a year and a half. Bobbin casing broke and had to be replaced. Tension problems on every quilt to some degree. Last quilt turned out great, now the quilt I am working on is a nightmare. Eyelashing, thread breaking, needle holes, etc. I have adjusted and ripped out until I am weary. This is the worst since I did my first quilt. I think it may be the thread or needle size, but I could not find any info in the manual to give me guidance. I used only King Tut for awhile, but picked up some varigated (thought it was King Tut but now doubt it) which I will probably never use again. Any recommendations on thread vs. needle size?
  • It might help you if you go to www.Superiorthreads.com and click the education tab. They have lots of free videos to watch on needles and thread tensions. This might help.
  • I'm getting eyelashes on top of my quilts, is this tension usually or speed related? I'm new to this and can't figure it out. I'm using Aurifil (orange cone) 50 wt mako, a 16 needle and the same bobbin thread. Back stitches look lovely, go figure. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • eyelashes on top, means your top tension is to tight. It's pulling your bobbin thread to the top. Loosen the top. Hope this helps.
  • I too have a Sweet Sixteen and was so frustrated by the tension. I tried the bobbin going down the spiderweb. What I finally ended up doing was tighten the bobbin tension to the point where I could lay the bobbin in the palm of my hand and grasping the thread lifting the the bobbin out of my hand onto its side but not out of my hand and the thread just barely sliding out. At this point I tightened the bobbin a hair and I mean a hair. Once this was done I then started to adjust the top thread until I could no longer see either thread in the stitch line on either side. At this point even if you change threads you should need very little adjustment
  • One more comment. I use Superior Thread Omni and So Fine. I love these threads and have beautiful results. I do a lot of Freehand Stitching with feathers etc. They are great to work with.
  • I just got my SS sitdown the first of July. I am having tension issues. I can't seem to use bottom line in the bobbin and then use king tut or rainbows in the top. No matter how I adjust the tension. I really want to be able to quilt and also thread paint with this machine. I, too, am concerned that I spent a lot of money to find that I can not do what I had hoped.
  • I have now gotten the tensions to work better. I have found that when I use a pre- wound bobbin it works fine. When using one bobbin that I wound on the bobbin winder provided with my new machine, the bobbin case pops out of the machine and breaks the thread. I just got off the phone with my dealer and we found that the bobbin has been "chewed up." When that bobbin is inserted into the case, one side completely show above the case. After much checking that bobbin is quite a bit wider than the other bobbins. All my bobbins came from the factory with my machine. When I used another one that was wound with bottom line, it worked fine. I compared the rest of the bobbins and they are not as thick as the bad one. Some wobble when set on the table and some are slightly higher. Is there a problem with the bobbins?
  • I have purchased an Avante 3 months ago and have yet to quilt anything. I cannot get the tension correct. It would appear the top tension is too loose. I have it tightened as far as I can and still getting eye lashes on the bottom of the fabric. I have Bottom line thread in the bobbin, and King Tut in the top with a 18 size needle. It sews a bit (12 inches), not correctly though, and then the bobbin rattles and makes noises and then it appears to be stuck in one spot. I am about ready to cry. Does anyone know the return policy on this machine and if they have been successful in returning it after three months?
  • I have purchased an Avante 3 months ago and have yet to quilt anything. I cannot get the tension correct. It would appear the top tension is too loose. I have it tightened as far as I can and still getting eye lashes on the bottom of the fabric. I have Bottom line thread in the bobbin, and King Tut in the top with a 18 size needle. It sews a bit (12 inches), not correctly though, and then the bobbin rattles and makes noises and then it appears to be stuck in one spot. I am about ready to cry. Does anyone know the return policy on this machine and if they have been successful in returning it after three months?
  • I have purchased an Avante 3 months ago and have yet to quilt anything. I cannot get the tension correct. It would appear the top tension is too loose. I have it tightened as far as I can and still getting eye lashes on the bottom of the fabric. I have Bottom line thread in the bobbin, and King Tut in the top with a 18 size needle. It sews a bit (12 inches), not correctly though, and then the bobbin rattles and makes noises and then it appears to be stuck in one spot. I am about ready to cry. Does anyone know the return policy on this machine and if they have been successful in returning it after three months?
  • Hello Ladies,
    Have you tried the Bobbin Genie - small discs you place under your bobbin. It is trully magical...no more birds nests. From beginning to end the bobbin runs smoothly. These can be purchasedd through Sharon Schamber on her site. I bought them from my Quilting shop near where I live, but do give them a try, as they are also made for DMS.
  • Hello Ladies,
    I have been having massive problems with my Sweet Sixteen and have racked up over 5 and a half million stitches on the machine and still am not happy with the tension issues. I have wated videos on Superior site and HQ regarding tension, bought Towa and thread gauges and all the needles and still have major tension problems. My problem is when I put So Fine full bobbin in the machine at the correct tension on the gauge and use a poly thread Art Studio/Rainbows or whatever in the top at the correct tension initially the tension will be perfect no thread showing on top or underneath. Then after stitching for about half to one hour, it is very insidious you notice a gradual deterioration in the upper tension and realise that the upper tension has obviously gotten too tight as the thread instead of creating a perfect stitch as it should is now laying on the quilt top. When I say laying I mean it is showing as a too tight stitch and I have to spend hours and hour unpicking it, as it was a gradual deterioration you don't realise it immediately which is worse as you have to spend so long unpicking it. When I pull out the bobbin it will have dropped from 180 in the tension gauge to 140 which is a massive drop and why the upper thread is now so tight. Why does this keep happening. I don't consider myself a newbie quilter anymore. Last year I gave up and ended up quilting my competition quilt on my Bernina 440 for my State quilt show (won Amateur Best in Show, Best Domestic Quilter, and Bernina Amateur Award) so I can quilt, but what's wrong with the HQSS. It does the same with all the thread I try, have ordered a new bobbin case if that does not help I am going to get rid of the machine as I am wasting too many hours unpicking.
  • Wow! I wish I knew about this forum before I purchased my Avante 18, in November 2012. It's now February, and I'm still having some of the same problems already described above. I understand how to adjust the bobbin--stand it up in your palm, pick it up by the thread and let it fall back down slowly. If you have the bobbin 'right', the top tension is the only thing that needs to be adjusted (so they say). I'm using Superior's So Fine in the bobbin, and was using Superior's Highlights in the top. The combination was finally working great on my practice quilt sandwich, so I proceeded to try the same combination, but with a different color thread to use on my quilt. The only thing I changed was the COLOR of the Highlights thread!! Then all kinds of problems started. The needle wouldn't pick up the bobbin thread, the top thread began shredding, then breaking.

    So, I'm back trying out all the combinations again after cleaning out the bobbin case and area, rethreading the top, changing needles, and trying to get ahold of a technician. I'm beginning to think that I have a $10K piece of junk in my quilt studio. Fortunately, my Babylock Espire is fantastic and I've made over 300 quilts since I've started in 2005. I thought the LAM would be good for my large quilts, but I'm beginning to think that struggling with the Espire is not so bad after all. Tomorrow I will try adjusting things again, and I do have Omni and King Tut threads, so with over a 1000 spools of thread in my studio, surely one of them will work in the Avante.

    By the way, Superior's website does have a LAM thread chart that shows the size of needles that go with thread weights. Check it out.

    Good luck with your LAMs folks; I'll be back.