Friday, September 18, 2009

DOH! Tension Problems

I bought my current sewing machine about 2-1/2 years ago. My old Singer functioned just fine for plain sewing (which I never did, so I hauled it out about once a year to make a repair), but I wanted to be able to FMQ, so after looking at a Husqvarna Viking (and its price tag) and protesting that I didn’t NEED a new machine, my sweetie insisted I buy it.

Ever since, I’ve been really unhappy with the machine, solely because I could never get the tension right. Sometimes it was fine, and other times it was a mess. I’ve spent hours adjusting the upper tension wheel, rethreading the machine, changing out needles, and turning the thread spool in every conceivable direction, all in an effort to get even thread tension. On the best of days, I was able to get stitching that looked like the bottom tension was slightly tight (or the top tension slightly loose).

I had finally decided it was time to take the machine in to have a pro assess the problem. In the meantime, I was going through my usual routine this morning in an effort to get something at least resembling good tension, but all I could manage was this:


Then, as I sat looking at the machine, I had a thought. When I thread it, I’ve always run the thread behind the tension disk or the tension plate or whatever it’s called:

tension_machine copy

But, I thought, what if I ran the thread in front of the disk? I gave it a shot, and here are the results:


Wow! Finally, decent tension! I’m a little annoyed that it took me this long to figure this out. I could blame the saleswoman at the sewing machine store, who had me thread the machine to make sure I could do it, but who obviously didn’t realize I wasn’t doing it correctly. I could blame myself for not carefully reading the manual and/or taking it in so someone could figure out that I was threading it wrong. On the bright side, I’m almost as happy as if I had a new machine!

I’m off to FMQ with my “new” machine.


Christine Thresh said...

That's a funny story. Congratulations on your "new" machine.

Cynthia Wenslow said...

Now I don't feel quite so dumb about my new Janome that kept dropping the thread from the take-up lever (because I didn't have the thread seated properly).

Thanks, Michele! :)

Sue said...

I've had similar moments with my machine over the years - doh! I'm just rubbish at reading instructions. Congrats on your new machine and hope you really enjoy FMQ from now on. Happy stitching....Sue.

Michele at Sweet Leaf said...

Eureka! It takes a while to get used to a new machine, and to learn to use it well. That's why the fancy new Viking I inherited still sits in it's case. And I'm using the old machine I'm familiar with. Here's to getting to know your new Viking!

TextileTraveler said...

Thanks for all your comments! I'm happy to know I'm not the only one in the world who doesn't know how to operate her machine :-)

I DID finally drag out the manual, and I've discovered how to move my needle to the right to create that perfect 1/4" stitch! Hurray!