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Needle position / Thread shredding HQ18

edited January 2013 in Ask An HQ Expert
After struggling for several days with thread shredding, I noticed that the needle plate on my machine had a nick in one side. I filed down the nick and while replacing the needle plate I noticed that the needle is positioned very close to the right side of the needle plate rather than being centered. I believe the position of the needle may very well be causing thread to shred. I also noticed a very slight tink when the needle goes down as tho it is hitting the bobbin. Am I correct in assuming that the position of the needle is the causing thread to shred?


  • Yes, the needle being too close to the needle plate could cause the thread to shred and break, often a burr or nick in the needle plate like you described can also cause these things. However, the nick is also a symptom that is often caused by the needle strike on the needle plate, which can cause further problems such as your timing being thrown off, or needle bar alignment being changed. If you are hearing "a very slight tink" It suggests that you do in fact have something that is out of adjustment and anything from your alignment, needle height, or timing can cause shredding as well (all of which can also be changed from a needle strike occurring). I would suggest having your local rep. take a look at the machine check the needle alignment and timing.

    Ty Weedop
    Handi Quilter Tech. Advisor
  • I have the Avante 18, and still haven't been able to quilt anything without some kind of problem with the tension or the bobbin or the needle, which about covers all the main parts. It was perfect at one time until I changed the COLOR of the thread!! Since then, it's all been down hill.

    How do I take off the needle plate without damaging the machine? It seems as though the screws are cemented into the plate. Also, how does one adjust the timing of the machine, or is that an electrical issue? There is no HQ dealer nearby, of course, so I may check with the Babylock Jewel dealer in case I don't get an answer from this forum.
  • Thank you for the information, Cheryl. I spoke with Tye, and he pointed out where I was confused about the needle. When I watched a video presentation about LAM needles, the presenter said, "when threading the needle, slide it along the groove and into the eye of the needle." To me, a 'groove' would mean an 'indentation' or 'depression' in the needle. But, in HQ language, the indentation in the needle is called the 'scarf' and that faces the back of the LAM. So, HQ's 'groove' is the long shaft of the needle and should be facing the front of the LAM. To make a long story short, I had the needle placed backwards which was fouling up everything. The strange thing is, during one of my practice sessions with the needle facing backwards, it worked fine for at least 15 minutes. Go figure.

    Anyway, I corrected the needle where the 'groove' is facing front, and my practice run went fine. I wonder if anyone else has made this same mistake with confusing 'groove', 'scarf', and 'shaft' of the needle. One of my majors is in English, so definitions are a big thing with me. Thanks to Tye, I realized my grave error. Now, if I can just get the tension accurate with each quilt, I should be fine. And, I hope you never hear from me again. :)
  • Just a follow-up in case anyone else confused the groove with the scarf of the needle, this website:
    gives a little more information on the needle, as well as tension and thread. Check it out; only about 9 minutes.
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