Designer SE help--tension problems (both me and machine!)

texashottieJune 1, 2007

I bought a new Designer SE last weekend. I start my classes on it next week but I have already dived into a project.

I'm quilting decorative stitches onto cotton fabric, both backside and top side, with regular quilt batting in between. My top stitches are pulling the bottom stitches through onto the top fabric---the stitches on the backside look better than the front side! I'm trying to adjust the tension of the top thread but it doesn't seem to help in any which direction that I'm adjusting.

Secondly, my bobbin keeps jamming and my feeders subsequently grab my quilt and I end up with a mess of threads underneath. Picking it out is ruining my project!

I find myself getting hot---heat from the machine, plus the quilt on my lap while I pick out the stitches, and my rising blood pressure.... I'm so frustrated that I feel like tossing this Husq-V out the window! (So I'm taking a break from it tonight and venting to you guys!)

I know I need to get those H-V ladies to help me but I work during the day and this happens to me in the evenings when i get home and they're closed.... Does anyone have any suggestions?? I'd so much appreciate it! :)

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I think that you should wait until your classes so that you will learn how to use the machine properly. You are only frustrating yourself trying to work on an unfamiliar machine. Colleen

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 7:59AM
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I have the viking Rose that dh got for me,and like you i was working full time at the time in retail,so my work hours were the same as theirs,and i couldn't take the classes either.I had been sewing for over 40 years at the time,so i thought how hard can this be?? It wasn't hard,but my machine gave me problems from day 1.It kept stopping and beeping and telling me i was out of thread.I lost track of how many times i took it back on my days off and they'd send it out for service and when i got it back the same thing.

They had this class scheduled for a saturday so i took the day off and went to take it.The stores owner was the teacher.I started sewing and right away it started beeping and didn't sound right for the few stitches it made.The teacher came over and said my machine didn't sound right,and i told her of all the problems i had been having with this machine.

She sat down at it and tried to sew,same problems,so she tried to calibrate it,no help there either.So she got on the phone with her son who runs the repair shop and he tried to walk her through another calibration,to no avail.So she told him she was putting it on the truck that night and she wanted him to make it top priority.I had it back in a few days and never had another problem with it.

So take it in,and if you aren't satisfied after they adjust it,don't mess around.Just tell them you want to talk to the owner,i'm sure they will get it fixed then.

Oh Yeah,and i did finally take classes on my machine after i retired.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 5:06PM
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Thanks you two!! I'm hanging it up until my class... ;)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 7:12PM
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I've been sewing professionally for pretty close to 30 years. I'm not a quilter, I'm not into embroidery, applique, etc.. But I have worked in many shops and have broad experience on countless, specialized industrial machines (some have had up to 12 needles and loopers), and fabric ranging from ultr-light nylons to heavy, double coated vinyls for truck tarps. I've seen it all.

What you are describing is a tension imbalance between the needle thread and the bobbin; too much thread on the top and it's gnarling up the bobbin.

There are 2 approaches to address the imbalance: tighten the needle thread tension incrementally and do a "stitch test" and see if that doesn't cure the problem. OR: loosen the bobbin tension incrementally and see if that doesn't help. I would have NO problem doing EITHER, personally, but I have a lot of experience/patience and am a pretty good mechanic. Too many home sewers think the bobbin tension is tantamount to crytonite. It's NOT, it's part of the mix and one more tool in your "bag". No more, no less.

My advice to you is to SIT TIGHT. Wait for your class to begin even though you want to "get going" right now. In the long run, you will gain more by WAITING and appearing at class with a "sample" of what you're trying to stitch so the instructor can personally assess the imbalance and describe it to you.

In my experience, the greater the "loft" on either the top or bottom side of the work will indicate which method of adjustment you should choose.

Typically, when I was teaching new stitchers to adjust their LOCKSTITCH machines (those are machines with needles and bobbins, the threads "lock" around each other as the needle goes up and down and the bobbin moves in the race mechanism; just like your's) I'd have them loosen the top tension and stitch through a single fabric layer ON THE BIAS. I'd have them gradually adjust the needle tension until the bias stitch test was even (the "lock" was evenly visible on the top and bottom of the sample) and survived a gentle "pull", this ensured the stitching wouldn't break on the bias under normal stress (undertand that the "lockstitch" by nature cannot provide the "give" of a chainstitch; it's characteristic is that it's "tighter").

Tension is really very easy. I wish you were here right now. In 5 minutes I could explain it and you would know EXACTLY how to adjust it and not be freaked out/frustrated by it. Wait for your class, and then reread this. I think it will help you. I hope it will!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 7:31PM
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did you post over on the quilting forum also?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 9:53PM
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Hi Chelone, everyone, thanks for your input! Chelone, I wish you could teach me a thing or two too---the whole tension-thing is a mystery to me.

My mistake started with my bobbin. I had the thread hooped around two spots when I needed to hoop it around 3 areas. So that was causing my jamming. Then I had some small thread particals beneath the plate. The H-V ladies got in there and took it all apart (and a section that I was forbidden to ever go!) and cleaned it all out. They said the slightest little thread or fuzz in there can sometimes cause the "grinding" sound I was getting when I was sewing.

Once everything was cleaned, it started stitching like magic. It seems this machine is really sensitive! but they assured me that I shouuldn't have to mess with the tension, that the machine should adjust automatically.

So---thanks for your help!!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 4:19PM
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And if the tension ever goes haywire again, you probably just need to take it in for a cleaning. They'll clean those places we Husqvarna owners can't / aren't allowed to reach. I have a H-V, too. About once a year it gets too much lint in the tension disks and I can't get a balanced seam no matter what. I take it in for a cleaning, and it comes back working just fine.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 8:36AM
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