I love that this machine is called a Slant-O-Matic. It could only be better if it was a Slant-O-Matic Rocketeer. Yes, that actually exists. Anyway. In case any of you are trying to befriend a sewing machine and win it over to your free motion quilting ways, I thought I would write down the changes I made that turned my thread shredding beast into a free motion kitten.
- I rethreaded my machine. The basic reboot of the misbehaving sewing machine. Did not help.
- I considered lowering my top tension but alas, it was already about as low as it could go.
- I inspected the thread path for places the thread could be getting snagged. I did not find any, which is good because I'm not sure how I would have solved that problem anyway.
- I made sure the weight of the thread in the top and the bottom was about the same (the bobbin thread may have been a heavier weight before). Did not help.
- I changed the needle plate to the straight stitch plate. This plate has a tiny hole in the plate instead of the wide slot in the standard plate. I'm going to try super duper extra hard to remember to change the needle plate back when I'm done free motion quilting so I don't end up zig zagging right into the plate someday in the future. I thought I was on to something with this change but alas, not much help. Maybe I should just change the plate back now.
- I replaced my new 90/14 quilting needle with a new 90/14 topstitch needle which, despite being the same size needle, actually has a larger eye. Helped immensely! I went from breaking the thread every minute to quilting for over an hour straight with no breakage.
Problem solved! Which just emphasizes how important the right needle is when you are free motion quilting. It really is worth spending $5-10 on a pack or two of new needles! If the topstitch needle hadn't solved the problem I was prepared to try denim needles and stretch needles, both of which appear to have solved the thread breaking problems for some quilters. Have you ever dealt with problems with thread breakage while free motion quilting? How did you solve it?