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Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

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    Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

    Hi, I'm new to the forum. I can't seem to find anyone else who has experienced the same problem I'm having. I finished fusing a Laura Heine fabric collage sea turtle quilt and started FMQuilting it using a watery meandering quilt design. All is fine when I'm quilting the fabric quilt sandwich where there is no fusible, but when I get to the parts where the fused fabric is my stitches start to skip and the thread breaks. I'm using LH's recommended SAS 2 (not Lite) as well as her recommended 90/14 needle and 100% cotton Aurifil thread. I'm not having issues with the needle gumming up (that I could deal with) but not the breaking thread and skipped stitches every 2-3 stitch!! I know FMQ can be done on fused fabric collages because I've seen pictures of it on them on the internet. Surely I'm not the only one who has had this issue. Anyone else out there experienced it and found a solution or have any ideas??

    #2
    Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

    What weight thread are you using?

    I had this problem years ago and it turned out the thread was not strong enough.

    Also, maybe try a needle that is used to sew denim.
    Vonnie

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      #3
      Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

      I’m using 50 weight Aurifil 100 percent cotton thread. Do you think I should use something heavier? I’ll definitely try out a denim needle. Thanks for your ideas Vonnie!!

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        #4
        Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

        I had this problem and I found that using Sewers Aid, I have purchased at JoAnns, solved the problem. It's in a small bottle with a tip that dispenses it. I just occasionally put a drop of it on my needle and let it run down. I keeps the fusible from sticking to the needle.
        A day patched with quilting Seldom unravels Sharon

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          #5
          Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

          I FMQ on fusible all the top. It can be done. Do you see any pattern to the thread breaks and skipped stitches?

          For example does it always happen when you are going in a specific direction (only backwards at a specific angle, or always at the same part of a curve) or only happen when you are crossing multiple layers of the SAS2?

          Is it possible that one of your previous thread breaks has left a piece of thread gumming up your thread path somewhere? Get a good flashlight and check underneath the bobbin area and also check the entire top thread path. Floss your tension discs with unwaxed dental floss.

          Are you using a hopping FMQ foot or one adjusted to float just above the surface? Possibly you need to adjust the height a little higher for the SAS2

          Possible solutions:
          1. Take your iron and gently reheat the SAS2 for 5-8 seconds right before you FMQ.
          2. If you have a straight stitch only machine give it some oil.
          3. Switch to a stronger thread. Either a 40 wt cotton or a polyester.
          Stash Treasure Acquisitions Beyond Life Expectancy. My stash keeps me STABLE, oh yeah.... and dark chocolate.

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            #6
            Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

            Thanks Cv quilter and DeniseSm! I appreciate the suggestions. I’ll say that my issue isn’t the needle sticking to the fusible but I’m willing to try the sewer’s aid regardless. There definitely isn’t a pattern to the skipped stitches— it happens instantly as soon as my stitching hits the SAS. My foot floats above the surface. I’m definitely going to try the stronger thread and make some sample pieces to practice different things on so I doubt ruin any more of my beautiful turtle! This may be the last time I FMQ a collage quilt!! I am so frustrated!!

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              #7
              Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

              The strength of the Aurifil 50 wt. is not the problem. It's plenty for this application, and stronger thread, or even polyester, is going to have stitch quality issues even if it doesn't break. Time to explore the needle options.

              I'm guessing you're using a "Universal" needle. A "top-stitch," "denim," or "embroidery" needle will perform better in sticky situations. The difference in friction on the thread passing through the sandwich, between the un-fused and fused sections, is possibly the cause of your problems. The three needles types mentioned have a larger eye and a longer scarf which allows for more consistent "looping" of the top thread under the fabric, allowing time for the hook to do it's job. The points on these also do a better job of piercing the fabric, which is helpful in the fused sections since it doesn't move around as much as the other sections. A 90-14 is plenty big for the job.

              Schmetz makes a non-stick needle (which is Ti coated) or either Organ (and Superior) Ti needles do a better job of gliding through the adhesives. Both are available in the needle styles mentioned.

              As mentioned- be sure the bobbin area is clean and free from the little thread bits. A little Sewers Aid won't hurt either, but normally isn't required with the right needle.

              You said, "the issue isn't the needle sticking to the fusible," which may be true. But the friction on the thread causes issues. The needle style will help eliminate this.

              One last thing- "My foot floats above the surface." I understand why some do it, but on the up-stroke when the loop is formed, the fabric lifts slightly, affecting loop timing. This problem is magnified with fusibles. A hopping or a darning foot will help, but if you don't have them- lower that foot to the point you have trouble moving the fabric, then back off slightly. Of course, you have your feed dogs dropped? S-length to zero? And, if you can reduce the presser foot pressure, do it.
              You gots to risk it to gets the biscuit-

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                #8
                Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

                I'm pretty sure it is the SAS. I think my pattern of hers called for the lite version.
                pat.

                No rain....no rainbows!


                sigpic

                If you can't be nice.....BE QUIET!

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                  #9
                  Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

                  my solution was to make a cuppa
                  then ponder on how the stitch is made, quite an amazing action, when you think of the time the machines were first made ect.

                  adjust the variables
                  clean out the fluff from bobbin area
                  is the machine in need of lube / service, treadles work much better lube'd up and cause mischief when not haha of course your sewing machine will be more recent in age, but for me do easy first.

                  sometimes I forget to bring the bobbin thread through the project
                  sometimes the thread escapes the take up lever,
                  needle size a micro needle splits threads in free motion have tested this while darning, also remember 8 hours stitch time max unless free motioning the tip can blunt faster
                  is needle seated right way?
                  try a leather needle, if the jeans one doesn't work.
                  presser foot pressure height of foot during stitch, hard to believe but different free motion feet need different settings,
                  upper tension tweaking
                  check how much resistance the thread is coming off the reel make sure the bit of felt is on spool pin, it acts as a brake
                  speed of machine build up slowly,
                  bobbin thread route
                  speed of the project movement, and certain directions from needle also cause missed stitching
                  age of thread, sometimes thread quality causes headaches
                  (if all else fails bobbin tension it may be some fluff is in the tension spring all stitching with all feet will mess up with this issue )

                  setting the stitch length to 0 makes the feed dogs bob, some machines like the feed dogs up during free motion, whether or not your supposed to.
                  enjoy your cuppa

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                    #10
                    Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

                    Hi there, I've had the issue and use sewers aid but i put a drop or two one the thread spool. It really solved the issue for me now i always do this.
                    Hope it helps.
                    Gary,

                    "No regrets, only learning opportunities."

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                      #11
                      Re: Problems with FMQ a Laura Heine collage quilt - stiches skip and thread breaks on steam-a-seam

                      Thanks for all of the new hints. Oldmanquilts I really appreciate the info/suggestions regarding the needle types. I stopped by Joann Fabrics and wouldn’t you know it they were having a buy 3 get 3 free on needles so I got several different kinds and and going to make some practice sandwiches and see what works best. We shall see!! Again I appreciate everyone’s sharing of knowledge and experience. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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