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Stitch Regulator - thread breakage/skipping same areas on pantograph design

edited March 2013 in Ask An HQ Expert
My thread keeps breaking and skipping the same area on a pantograph design. I have changed the needle, set and reset the tension, changed thread, checked for burrs and cannot find anything wrong. Someone said my stitch regulator may not be working properly. What can I do to check the stitch regulator or what can cause issues with the stitch regulator? I have an Avante. I have quilted 25 quilts all with pantographs and this is the first time I have had this issue. I have used this same pantograph before - it came with my Avante machine - oak leaves.


  • Where is the encoder wheel? I cleaned the tracks, but I did notice a couple of the big metal wheels don't touch in a couple of areas when I move the machine. Would that make the stitch regulator not work properly?
  • The black encoder wheels are touching the tracks as it moves across the frame. I broke a needle on the quilt prior to this one about 1/4 way through the quilt. I was having problems with thread shredding and breaking on that quilt too, then the needle broke. I put in a new needle and changed from SoFine thread to Omin and it quilted beautifully the rest of the quilt. Then I loaded this quilt and had problems immediately. Flannel top and bottom, Quilter's Dream wool batting and Omni thread, #18 needle. I have changed needles 3 times and even tried a different spool of Omni thread. I cleaned all the tracks again and checked for thread in the wheels - none. No lint in the bobbin or the tension discs. Threaded correctly. Tried chaning the angle of the needle from 6:00 to 5:30 to 6:30. Nothing has helped. I practice on the side of the quilt backing and it seems fine, but when I start the pantograph I have problems. Frustrating.
  • BE AWARE!!! I took my Avante to my Handi Quilter serviceman. My thread breaking problem started with the needle. It went from thread shredding, thread breaking, breaking a needle and my machine ended up out of time all due to needles that appear to be correct by the packaging/numbering system. Be aware that there are some Gross Becker needles out there that have the same numbering system as what we need for our Avante machines, but the shaft of the needle has a hump rather than being straight. The hump in the needle caused all the problems. Apparently we need the "laser cut" Gross Becker needles. The reason I was able to complete the one quilt without any problems was because when I changed needles I happened to put in a needle from an original pack. I would recommend that HandiQuilter put out a notice to consumers about the needle issue. My serviceman said he got a memo about the needles and he only sells the correct ones. However, I don't live close to their shop, so I bought from an on-line vendor. You can visibly see the difference in the needle, but I wasn't looking for that since all the numbers on the package were the same. I just took it out of the package, felt for any burrs and then put it in. Gross Becker should not be able to package them as the same needle since they are NOT the same.
  • Hmmmm, I don't quite understand the problem. My GB needles have a long groove on one side and a smaller indentation on the other side (which may be the 'hump' you mentioned). I initially placed the indented (hump) side in front at six o'clock and all heck broke out in sewing. When I placed the needle with the long groove in front at six o'clock, everything sews just fine. I didn't realize at first that the 'groove' is different from the 'indentation' in the needle. None of my needles say 'laser cut' on them, but so far they are working properly depending upon how they are inserted in the machine.

    I'd like to know what the HQ educators say about the needles. I have too many to toss if they are not the right ones.
  • The needles that do not work have a little hump on the front side where the long groove is. You can visibly see the difference from the "correct" needle to the wrong needle. The correct needle has the long groove on the front and is also straight in the front- no hump. Both the good and the bad needle have the indentation on the back side. I wish I could post a picture to show the difference. They don't say laser cut, my Handiquilter serviceman said the good ones are laser cut, but there is nothing stating that. It is very confusing because the packaging looks the same. You have to open and inspect the needles. If your machine is sewing fine, then you must have the good needles. Mine sewed fine until I bought the new needles. I Immediately had problems.
  • Rhaigh,
    Maybe you are referring to the MR multi-directional needle shown in the following .pdf.

    Many HQ users use this needle without any problem. It has a deeper scarf to help with thread loop formation for easier pickup by the rotary hook point. It also has a geometry that reduces needle deflection when sewing in multiple directions. The numbers on the GB package look the same only there is a MR after the numbers. This needle will be helpful to some, not harmful to all. There could be problems with the rotary hook grabbing the needle if it is put in backwards since the scarf goes beyond the halfway point of the shaft. Always rotate the hand wheel by hand, listening for weird noises or feeling unusual resistances before sewing after a needle replacement (a good tip handed down to me by Mike Gilomen of Mike's Machine Shop). Let us know if this is the needle you were referring to.

  • Just checked my needles and the GB sizes19 and 20, do have the MR designation on them. However, the GB sizes 14, 16, and 18 do not.

    Thanks for that info, Kim; I will have to keep it in mind when I use the larger size needles in the future. I purchased those two sizes to accommodate thicker threads, but I haven't used them yet.
  • Yes, those are the needles that caused the problems on my Avante. Thank you so much for the explanation and details. Very helpful. So glad to know that there is a difference in the labeling on the packages of needles.
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