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Message Board > Quilters' Corner > Tension and Stitch Length ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Tension and Stitch Length
does tension effect stitch length?
Honeybee
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Date: 11/6/12 11:56 PM

Well my jean quilt has caused me to ask everyone another question. As some of you know, I had troubles with very tiny quilt stitches (including various stitch sizes) and the suggestions given, really helped!

Well this time, for the other side of my quilt, I figured out that I should have had the tension higher (due to skipped stitches and seeing the top thread on the back side), so I raised the tension and SITD just like with the previous quilt side. Well this time, there are MANY MANY tiny stitches and I did all the suggestions that worked before and no such luck!

Both quilts are of equal thickness---or at least have the same blue jean blocks in both quilt sides. So the only thing I can think of is if the increased tension caused the stitch length to decrease. Does anyone know if the two are related or if this can happen?

Sharon1952
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In reply to Honeybee <<


Date: 11/7/12 6:20 AM

Generally speaking tension does not change stitch length unless the fabric is bunching up under the needle. Have you reduced the pressure on your feed dogs? I wonder if it's your machine. When was the last time it was serviced?

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skae
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In reply to Honeybee <<


Date: 11/7/12 7:50 AM

I have to agree with sharon. pressure to the sewing foot if you can adjust it to be a little less pressure on it. The tension to the thread and the bobbin shouldn't change.
So what kind of a machine do you have?
Most newer machine have the auto tension adjustment.
If you have a older machine some have dials on the inside and some have push down on top.
But it looks like it your pressure foot tension.
hope this helps

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Galatians 5:22-23 The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these

Honeybee
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Date: 11/7/12 9:15 AM

Thank you Sharon1952 and skae for your suggestions!

I too was thinking about the foot pressure when it first started occurring. I cannot change the foot pressure on my machine though. I have a Pfaff 2134, which has the IDT and I had it engaged, but still had those tiny stitches. I had the machine serviced I think 3 years ago and have only used it occasionally in the past 3 years (but lots more use lately with sewing this jean quilt).

I've been sm shopping lately and have wondered how one uses the adjustable foot pressure that I see on the new sm----now I know! yeah!

The only things I can think of to help compensate for not having adjustable foot pressure, is to add more pins along the "ditch" that I am stitching in. I used more pins along the stitching line on the other quilt side, so I will try that today and see if it helps. Also, I think I increased the tension way too far for what is needed, so I'm going to lower that too to give a try.

Well at least I am getting some ideas to try out on those new sewing machines when I test drive them!

AminaHijabi
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Date: 11/7/12 11:04 AM

are you supporting your quilt properly? It's a very heavy quilt and if it's not supported well on all sides and is dragging around the machine, it will be more difficult for the machine to feed it. Are you allowing the machine to do the work or do you find yourself pushing and pulling the quilt often?

Honeybee
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In reply to AminaHijabi <<


Date: 11/7/12 11:46 AM

I'm supporting the bulk of the quilt with a box---not ideal, but it did help with the other side of the quilt, but this side it's not helping as much (unless it would be THAT much worse! lol!)

I would like to get that sew-adjustable table you suggested to me in my other thread that I first asked about this problem. It looks so nice to use for quilting!!

I do think that I am still pushing the quilt through the throat, b/c my elbow on my right arm hurts by the time I sew across the ditch.

SOmetimes I just want to put the quilt aside and wait until I find my next sm b/c I am starting to think that this machine isn't made for quilting----or isn't made for quilting through denim at least...

PattiAnnJ
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Date: 11/7/12 5:35 PM

I doubt if it is the tension that causes the tiny stitches.

This is usually because the item is not feeding under the presser foot as it should for the selected stitch length.

A walking foot will help, but it cannot not function properly if the weight and largeness of the item is such that it is pulling away from the presser foot action.

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SouthernStitch
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Date: 11/7/12 6:46 PM

Yup - have to agree with Patti and Anima. I was recently sitiching in the ditch, no FMQ involved. It was a smallish quilt project 50x50, and I was amazed at how much it could start to pull and tug if I wasn't constantly repositioning the quilt. And this was on a flatbed surface! I was zig zagging, and at times they were too close together due to it not feeding properly. I finally got the hang of what I needed to be doing halfway through. Practice is the key, and having plenty of support!

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Cat n Bull
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Date: 11/7/12 6:57 PM

I agree completely with having the quilt supported.

I also found sewing in slow motion helps me when I am having a tough time with really thick layers.

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Cathryn

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