Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Tension Is a Source Of Tension

I've been having so much fun this week working simultaneously on three different quilts. But suddenly I'm having a tension problem with my machine. At least, I think it's a tension problem. For all of these quilts I am sewing strips together, and I've noticed that after I've ironed them open, one edge curves a bit. And I can't accurately subcut the two patch units if both sides of the joined strips aren't parallel.

The reason I think that it may be a tension problem is that I've also noticed tiny bumps or loops on the underside of my stitching. (I don't think it's an ironing problem because I'm always very careful to use a dry iron and to press up and down rather than from side to side.

I guess I need to pull out my sewing machine manual to figure out what sort of adjustment I need to make. It's so unusual for my Bernina to have any sort of tension problem that I can't remember whether bumps on the bottom indicate a problem with the thread tension or the bobbin tension.

(And yes, I changed the needle.)


Chl said...

Yes it does sound like a tension issue. So on that note, I would do a routine cleaning. It could be that you have a little bit too much lint in between your tension disks and/or down with your feed dogs and bobbin case.

This is what I do:

Unthread your machine, and start this by cutting your thread on top and pulling your thread through the tension disks. Loosen the top tension to zero. If you have canned air, blow it thru the disks. Do the routine cleaning of the lint with the feed dogs and bobbin case, don't forget to oil. Put everything back together, rethread and DON'T forget to put the tension back to normal and give it a test drive...

Hope that this all works out.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Thanks. I did just clean and oil the bobbin area, but I didn't think to clean the tension disks or remove the thread. And I'll double check for fuzz under the feed dogs.

Chl said...

Hows the machine?

tich said...

If you are sewing strips together, the strips will curve slightly, if you always sew the strips the same way from the top of the strips to the bottom. You have to sew the first two strips from top to bottom, add a strip and sew this bottom to top. This stops it warping. As for the bumps of thread on the bottom - do you use leaders and enders? This helps stop birds' nests underneath. Hope this helps.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...


Actually, I'm just sewing two strips together and then subcutting them into two-patches. I'm trying to get them to not curve at all because I won't get an accurately cut two-patch if the joined strips are curved.


The machine is better. Details in my next post.