problem w/ double needle

talley_sue_nycJanuary 21, 2014

I can't get the left thread to catch the bobbin thread when I try to sew w/ a double needle.

I have an inexpensive Kenmore from the 1980s. It has zigzag, automatic buttonhole stitches. Not thousands of bells and whistles, but it wasn't the very bottom of the line, just close to there.

I was successful sewing with a very narrowly spaced double needle on woven fabric, many years ago.

But I want to hem knits, and bought a few different widths of needle, and I cannot get the left thread to catch the bobbin.

The right one catches just fine--and the left threads just sort of goes up and down and up and down.

Does anyone have any ideas? I was thinking at first that it was my machine that was the problem, but lots of the tutorials say stuff like "don't worry if your machine doesn't have instructions; mine didn't, and it works fine."

I tried setting it on the zigzag setting w/ a very narrow stitch width.

I've fiddled a little bit w/ the top tensions. Haven't fiddled w/ the bobbin tension yet (though I know how to).

I'm using a "stretch" double needle, even!

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an update:

I think I have a hint into the problem, and I got a solution.
I figured, Why not use the first double needle that had worked so many years ago?

It was a 2.5 (so, slim) and was apparently a universal (not labeled with any of those sorts of terms)by Schmetz , so I'd purchased a Klasse "stretch" needle in 2.5, 3, and 4. I had the same problem with them all, but today I was using the 2.5, thinking that my machine wouldn't work with the wider needle widths, and that the narrower width was the secret..

I'd tried all the sizes of Klasse, and they didn't work. (I think one of them was a universal--the 4.0, I think--it didn't work either.) On all of them, the left needle simply wouldn't catch the bobbin thread (today, w/ the 2.5), or when I tried this a few days ago w/ the wider ones, it would catch every 12th stitch.

When I switched to the Schmetz from years ago, it worked like a charm, first time.

I'm wondering if it's the length of the needles; one of the needles of a double needle is shorter than the other (maybe it's the left one?), and if it wasn't getting all the way down by the shuttle, it wouldn't catch the thread.
To the naked eye, I can't tell any difference between the length of the needles. If anything, the Klasse seems a tiny bit longer--but that could so easily be an optical illusion.

I thought of that, and tried remounting the Klasse needles a little lower, but that didn't work either. I caught a couple of stitches every now and then, instead of zero like before.

It could be the tip of the needle; we (DD and I) were only trying on knits. But I was using a stretch needle on fleece-backed knit and on T-shirt-weight knit. And, one of the needles that wouldn't work was labeled "universal."
The Schmetz that worked wasn't labeled at all--it may have been a sharp.

So, there's something about that Schmetz needle that works with my machine. Someday when I have a little time, I'll fiddle w/ the Klasse needles to see if mounting them lower will work.

And I may buy some more Schemtz needles in the other widths to see if they'll work too.

Anybody have any guesses what it is about the Schmetz that works? (or about the Klasse that doesn't?)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 12:43AM
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Hmmmm no idea Tally Sue....I often wondered why my serger needles where mounted at different heights/lengths. One is longer than the other so I suspect it has something to do with needle length...

I have yet to try my double needle but intend to correct that shortly. I've make a resolution to better utilize my machine.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:13AM
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More interesting info!

I got out all these double needles, and tried again with different *fabrics*.

And discovered that they all work fine on every fabric--including the sweatshirt material- *except* this one stretchy knit. (doesn't matter if it's a "stretch" needle or a universal) And on that stretchy knit, there was one needle that would work ona single layer but not a double.

I think we'd been only trying it on the stretchy fabric.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 9:29AM
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I wonder if you have tried with ball point needles...they are made for knits.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:18AM
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Aren't "stretch" needles used for knits? In fact, I'd have expected this very stretchy knit to be fine w/ the stretch needles.

I couldn't find any double needles labeled "ball point"--double needles don't come in the same range as other needles, plus there's the whole "how many does this particular store carry?" question.

A couple of the stores I went to only carried one double needle.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:08AM
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I've never heard of klasse needles!!One thing you can not do with a double needle is put your machine on zig zag.If you do you may hear a crunch,then it could throw your timing off.

With a double needle,you are correct in that one needle is longer than the other,and that's the way they are supposed to be.Just be sure when you put the double needle in that you push it up as far as it will go.Also,Do Not over tighten it.

If you are using a stretch/ballpoint needle,and everything is in the correct position,you shouldn't' t have a problem

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 1:36AM
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