Each week, we here at Pine Needles share things with you that we are very passionate about or find near and dear to our lives. We open up and bring apart of us or our hobbies to life as we see them or experience them. Our passions become your passions if only for a minute. This week I hope to do just that, make my passion for machines and machine issues, (or trouble shooting if you will,) become your passion (or at least I hope I can peak your interest in it) if only for a minute!
I have been fixing machine off and on since 1997 and over those years ALOT has changed in how they run and how they operate, but one thing has stayed the same, good care makes for good running machine. I take many calls and emails each week trying to diagnose issues with machine that usually are something most people with a small amount of knowledge could have fixed themselves. Simple retreading, or threading with the foot down, new needle, better thread, hook in the correct way, and needle not installed correctly are the most commonly issues, but look like the most complex mess when done or done incorrectly.
Most people look at there thread tension and see a glob of thread on the bottom of the stitching and think it’s their bobbin causing the problem.
No so, bottom tension is a top thread problem, as well as a top tension issue is a bottom bobbin issue. Just think of it as opposites attract. If looping appears on the bottom, raise the presser foot, unthread the machine, remove the needle, replace if needed, making sure that it is pushed all the way back up in place, thread the machine making sure to go slow and deliberate to get the thread in all the correct tension discs, and try again. This simple yet tried and true method fixes almost 85% of the calls I take each week. When the foot is down, the tension disc is closed not allowing it to thread correctly, most people don’t realize that.
Next, if the top has lots of bobbin thread or has the top thread looking like a straight line, not a stitch, it’s the bobbin causing the troubles.
If you have a drop in hook from a Babylock, Singer, Elna, Brother,or Bernette, just to name a few, take your needle plate off, remove the hook, check for any needle strikes, or holes, replace with the tensioner next to the retaining spring,
replace the needle plate, carefully, so not to hit the hook out of possession, then put the bobbin in so it spins counterclockwise, hooking in the tension hook and replace top guide.
If it’s a front load hook on an older machine, remove bobbin, check for any lint or debris that may be in the hook area, replace the bobbin so it spins clockwise with the thread pulling out with tension, but not to hard, and snap it back in.
A new hook system like on the Bernina 3,4,5, and 7 series, remove the bobbin, then remove the silver hook.
Check for any threads or lint, and replace so that the dot on the back of your hook drive lines up with your hook circle, or the dot in the center.
If you look and see black, you will get a Main drive error #1010 or #2010 which simple means your hook is in a bind and needs to be installed correctly and your machine restarted. Then load the bobbin shine side in, hook the thread in tensioner latch and install in Machine being careful not to press on the spring latch while installing. If you are pressing the release spring while installing you may find your bobbin stuck in your hook and unable to be freeded without a visit to me.
That should solve the basic tension issues top and bottom for most all machines.
Other issues are my thread breaks a lot, first question I ask is how old is your needle and how old is your thread. Needles tips wear out and wear flat spots that fray thread with each stitch, a dull needle can cause damage to your fabric and tear your thread with each and every step it takes.
In the same breath thread has a life span as well. Thread breaks down and rots. It gets weak and breaks easier as it ages. Many people admit to using there grandmother or mothers thread and wonder why they are having isssues. I would never recommend they throw that thread out, but I would recommend they use it to decorate with not sew with. The thread goes threw the eye of a needle roughly 120 times before making a single stitch, a good tough, new thread is a must! Pair it with a fresh new needle and you can have a headache free, hassle free day of enjoyment!
Be sure to watch for more tips and Tricks from us here at Pine Needles on your machine Care and Maintenance and know we take each of your questions to heart and love each of your machines as our own, and as most of you know I truly LOVE MY MACHINES!
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