Sunday, 14 June 2009


Here's the next peek at my current WIP. The colour's not that good, because I took them photos under lights, without flash, to show the quilting. It's actually a pure white background!
I'm having my first serious attempt at McTavishing, and am actually pretty pleased with how it's comng along.But the frustration comes in because although this machine is much smoother to FMQ with than my old one (and I believe that, coupled with the extra space, is allowing me to quilt better), it keeps skipping stitches. After a bit of research, it seems I'm not the only one having this trouble with this machine. But the only suggested solutions I've come across relate to changing things which are working fine most of the time, and the changes I have tried have made no improvement.

I would consider myself a competent FMQer, but as I quilt, it will stitch along beautifully for a while, then seemingly randomly skip anything from one to maybe 15 stitches. I can see from the holes the needle has left that I have been moving the quilt at a consistent speed. It usually happens when I'm moving the quilt sandwich towards myself, so effectively when it's sewing 'backwards'. But I can also sew backwards without it happening, and sometimes it happens when I'm going in other directions as well. Speed appears irrelevant; it can occur anywhere from full speed to very slow stitching.

I'm using good quality thread, a new quilting needle, and have adjusted the pivot level as low as I can without hampering movement the quilt sandwich. I've tried a jeans needle with a larger eye, wiht no success. The embroidery needle (also with a larger eye) appears a little better in that there are fewer skipped stitches, but us that, the top thread has broken twice, so it's not entirely satisfactory, either. I've had the dealer look and confirmed I have it threaded correctly and am using the right settings. They also confirmed the timing is not out.

I'm really disappointed at this point; my new machine was supposed to be fun and make FMQing easier, and right now it's just a frustration. I don't want to have to go back to the old machine (though I'm more that happy I've kept it!) but I'm not happy with what I've currently got for the expense of a top-of-the-line machine, especially from a brand I (at least used to) trust.

I'd love to hear any tips from people who've overcome the problem. I'd also be interested to hear if there are any upcoming FMQ classes in Adelaide, or from a professional quilter who'd be willing to do a private lesson, in the hopes I could nut it out with some expert assistance.


Beena said...

Skipped stitches can often come from top thread tension problems. Without knowing more about your machine and how it's set up, I would recommend buying a spindle contraption that helps with this, and that holds the thread at the back of your machine while it feeds through your thread race. I have tried many tricks, and even taped open hole flat sequins to the back of my machine and fed it through those holes first before it goes through the thread regular race. Try increasing your top thread tension in a variety of ways.
This doesn't appear to be jerky movements on your part doing this. This really sounds like a classic top thread tension problem.

Cascade Lily said...

Emma that would be totally frustrating. Especially when you are doing such beautiful quilting. I clicked on the link, but am none the wise on what McTavishing actually is! LOL. But it is very effective.

Gina said...

Whenever my machine starts to skip it normally means that the bobbin area needs a very good clean out. Another reason could be if you are using different weight threads in your boobin to your top thread. some machines are more sensitive to this than others.

Love and hugs Gina xxx