Monday, July 25, 2016

Machine Misfortunes

Monday
I am tired of gummy needles, missed stitches, and broken thread.  I am tired of failure.  Do you ever feel that way?  I love my doggie portrait.  The fusing came out better than I dreamed, but the quilting is a disaster due to fusible adhesive glopping up the needle.  I called my Baby Lock dealer who is always helpful.  She suggested that maybe I didn't get the fusible ironed enough so that it was fully incorporated into the fabric.  She also suggested #12 denim or jeans needle.  If I couldn't get that needle, try #12 universal.  OK.  I drove to the valley and the closest store didn't have the right needle, although I picked up the #12 universal.  I went to the other store and they were closed for two days.  So....I came home, ironed down the fusible really well with a silicone press cloth and tried again.  No luck.  I talked to my daughter (professional longarmer) and she asked if I had used steam.  No I hadn't so I tried that, to no avail.  My only option is to look further for the #12 denim or jeans needle when I am down off the mountain on Wednesday.

Thank you for listening. I feel better now.  Here is a picture of my doggie before quilting.

Dixie fused, before attempting to quilt.
Tuesday
No luck in quilting no matter what I did so I moved on to another project, but my beloved sewing machine bunched up the stitches, ruffled the fabric and tore the foundation paper.  It was fully serviced one month ago!  I called my dealer and was told to bring the machine in.  Move over dark cloud.  I have had enough disruption.

Wednesday
I left the machine in the shop while I got a haircut, had a Japanese lunch with DH, and did some errands.  What a boost for sagging spirits!  On the way home I retrieved my presently persnickety
machine.

The diagnosis of my machine troubles:
1.  The fusible not only gummed up the needle, but left a crystalline, powdery residue in the bobbin case and surroundings.  The folks in the shop cleaned up the mess and recommended not using Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite with my machine.  That's easy.  I prefer Soft Fuse anyway.  I will just have to do the doggie over again. Fortunately my 3-year service contract paid for the work.

TIP:  Run a tester on your machine with Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite before investing time or money in it for a fusible project.

2.  In my new project (no fusible) I was using Superior's Bottom Line in both the top and bobbin, sewing seams on foundation paper.  It is a thin, polyester thread, and is relatively elastic.  This is fine for the bobbin as it will pull the top thread down slightly when it relaxes, but it is too stretchy for the top and causes bunching.  Being polyester, it also can get hot, which causes more stretching and therefore more bunching.

TIP:  Use Superior's "Bottom Line" thread in the bobbin, but not top AND bottom.

In spite of many, many years of sewing and quilting, I still find myself crawling up the learning curve.  There is always something new to learn in this business/hobby.  My brain loves to form new connections, which will hopefully keep me sane and avoid early onset dementia.

Friday:  Epilogue by Brain Dead
I set up the machine and sat down to sew again, but my fabric bunched up as before.  Rethread, change the needle, redo.  Still bunches.  No (scream and tear hair out).......this cannot be!  Change from my favorite foot to the standard foot.  Ah, it works great.  Pick up my favorite, but non-standard foot to put it away.  What is this sticky stuff on the bottom?  Oh no!  I told you about putting my foundation pattern together with surgical tape.  Well, my surgical tape had been in the band-aid drawer for decades and was feeling a bit gummy on the non-sticking side.  Apparently the top of the tape gummed up the underside of the foot so fabric could not flow under it.  My newly purchased roll of tape is not sticky on top and I can sew over it just fine with all feet.  I cleaned my favorite foot with alcohol and it is back on the machine and working beautifully.  Incidentally, I can easily pull the bad, old tape off the foundation pattern and replace it with the new.  All is working fine and progress has begun again.  May I hear a big HURRAY!!!!?

TIP:  If it is sticky, don't sew it!  Buy a new roll of surgical tape if you plan to use it.

I still have to do the doggie over from scratch, but at least I have the pattern in waiting mode.

Sew a Happy Seam this week.  I wish you no gummed needles or puckered fabric.




18 comments:

  1. I had the same issues with Steam a Seam 2 Lite on an appliqué quilt and gumming up my needle and machine. I finally took the appliqué off and am now struggling with getting the sticky stuff off my machine and my quilt top. Glad you got everything working well again. I love your doggie quilt. Maybe I'll tackle one of our doggie one of these days.

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  2. Wow. What a trial! Your doggie is adorable, but the quilting process sounds like a nightmare! What about wrapping and framing this little guy as is? if the fusible is strong enough to gum up needles and resist quilting, maybe it will stick around for a while if framed?

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    1. Framing is a terrific idea. I could take what I learned and do another one of her in a different pose. I like it!! Thanks.

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  3. What a frustrating experience!! Thank goodness the machine doctor was able to diagnose the problem, determine the source, and cure it. And thank you for sharing what you learned. I hope this week's sewing goes a lot more smoothly. P.S. Your dog portrait is beautiful. The turquoise background really brings out the copper/brown fur.

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  4. I dislike gummy needles also! I keep a box of wrapped alcohol swab singles by my machine and use them to swipe down the needle every so often. I find it helpful. I love your quilt. What a cute pup!!

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  5. I hate weeks like this when nothing seems to go right. but thinks for sharing your experience with Steam a Seam 2 Lite!

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  6. Oh my goodness! What a tale of misfortune - the more I read, the worse it got. Your perseverance is admirable! Maybe the original (if not too damaged by all the thread bunching), can be put under glass and in a frame? It would be sad to waste all of that work.

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  7. As I was reading your post, I noticed I was holding my breath. My shoulders tensed, and I was backing away from my screen! I can't imagine if it was really my own week. I'm so sorry you're going through such a crappy week, and all I can say is I hope it gets better. I LOVE your dog, and can't wait to see how the do-over works out. I'm going straight to my studio to mark the Steam-a-Seam II with a skull and crossbones sign. I didn't have much luck with it when I last used it, but thought it was me all that time. Let's hope you have the kinks worked out, and the next is smooth sailing.

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  8. Oh my goodness, you've had a week! You make my sorrows pale in comparison. Thanks for sharing your woes and fixes!!!

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  9. BTW..Your poochie picture/quilt is adorable!

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  10. That sounds like an incredibly frustrating week! Your dog quilt is absolutely stunning however, and the end product will be well worth the frustrations. I hope you have gotten all the frustrations out of the way and the rest of the quilting goes smoothly.

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  11. Oh, no! I feel your pain. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one that stupid things like this happen to.......at least we are in good company together, you and I.

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  12. Oh and if you want to not have to quilt the piece, try putting a layer of tulle over the top. I do this fairly often with my fiber pieces. Audition several colors, sometimes an odd color like a yellow will work the best for the piece.

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  13. I love him! Perfect fabrics. The framing idea is a good one. I've been fusing and quilting it for years and have never had any trouble but have never used steam a seam. I always use wonder under 805 gotten at Joanne's . I use a top stitch needle to FMQ . Bravo on Dixie! Just wonderful

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  14. What a hoot, if it weren't so painful. Yes, you would think that decades of quilting would mean that the learning curve had plateaued. Yet there is always something new to learn.

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  15. I hate days like that when you want to throw your machine out the window. I'm glad you got your problem resolved. I agree with the others, frame your adorable pup, he's much to nice to hide away.

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  16. That had to be so frustrating! I have been using Lara Buccella's crafted applique technique since being introduced to it and there is no gumming at all. You can get even the most detailed pieces with no fraying and no gumming.

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    1. I've ordered her book from Interlibrary Loan so I am eager to learn her method. However, I have used Soft Fuse numerous times with no problems. It was the Steam a Seam 2 Lite, which did the damage and it was the brand required for the class. Never again!!!! Thanks for the comment.

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