Monday, August 20, 2012

Head banging kind of day

When I arrived at my sister's house yesterday I discovered that I had never made the back for one of the quilts I wanted to put on the long arm.  I had plenty of fabric and thought it would be a piece of cake.  An hour and a half later the back was finished.  Good grief!  Thank goodness it loaded easily and after a short tension test I started quilting.  I wanted my borders to have loops - large and small - to give the feel of twisted fishing line.  Over the body of quilt I wanted wavy lines to represent the flow of water in a stream.  It took much longer to quilt than I anticipated because the quilting is fairly dense.  The quilt is called "Catch and Release" and is for an avid fly fisher.

By the time I was finished my knee and back were aching and I was getting very tired.  I was,  however, bound and determined to get "Spring on SW 185th Street" loaded.  It is a narrow quilt that is only 40" wide so it fits within a single cut of baking fabric.  Yahoo!  All I had to do was press and load.  That process went very quickly and I thought maybe I wasn't as tired as I thought so I would try, at the very least, to get the quilting started.

This is when I got totally frustrated.  All I did was change thread color, top and bobbin.  I used the exact same brand of thread (So Fine on top and SuperBob Bottom Line in the bobbin), did my test patch and could not believe the tension issues.  The bobbin was so tight that I thought I must have had just a bad bobbin and pulled out another.  Exactly the same problem..  Rather than drive myself crazy with the bobbin I just tightened the top thread until I had a balance.  Someone at Superior Threads is going to have to explain to me why there is such a deviation from one bobbin to the other.  The ONLY difference is that the beige bobbins I used for the first quilt were wound on cardboard with a glossy coating.  The gray for my second quilt were on plain, non-glossy cardboard.  This actually is not the first time we have had issues with pre-wound bobbins.  I don't know what the batch failure rate is but two in a row seems significant to me.  Because I am doing a fairly thread intensive echoed raindrop quilting design, I wanted to use pre-wound as there is so much more thread on the bobbin than you get when you wind your own.  At any rate, that quilt is still on the frame.  I decided it would be a good idea to work on it when I was in a better frame of mind.

I drafted an email to Superior Threads but decided to wait to send.  I will probably change the wording just a bit.  I was pretty annoyed when I wrote my first draft!  Has anyone else had these kinds of issues with SuperBobs?  I hate to give up convenience but I am also not happy about the idea of spending money for something that I simply cannot use.


  1. It's the most difficult thing about long arm quilting, figuring out why the tension goes wonky from one to the next. Or even in the midst of the same quilt, all of a sudden. Crazy and sanity challenging.

  2. It is amazing how a small change can really change how a machine operates.... sort of like a man :o)

  3. Don't knwo the brand, etc. but I had one package where it was hard as heck to find the begining tail! That is irritating too.

  4. Sorry for your tension issues, so frustrating....

  5. I don't use pre-wounds for my HQ - NEVER, EVER! Just don't want the hassle. Hope you got it worked out.

  6. Are they older bobbins? I know that Superior changed the way the bobbins were wound a few years ago and that caused problems. The only prewound bobbins I use with success are Glide bobbins; everything else I wind myself. The quilt looks great; I love that pattern.


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