The Free Motion Quilting Project: Longarm Tension Troubleshooting

Friday, September 21, 2018

Longarm Tension Troubleshooting

One of the biggest learning curves to switching to a longarm machine is tension. I'm not sure if it's because the machines are bigger or the speeds they can reach, but tension seems much more flexible on longarms than home machines. It's just one of those things that you have to get into the habit of checking, and check often.

So today I've shared a post all about troubleshooting tension issues! Click Here to find this tutorial.

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Now, back to tension!

No, I don't think having to check your tension more often is a deal breaker. It's just a new habit to build with this different type of machine. Now that I've been quilting on the Grace Qnique on a frame for almost a year, I don't even think about it.

Whenever I begin quilting for the day, I break thread and pull the machine over to the side and run through a tension test. If the stitches are looking great, I go back to where I was quilting and get started. That way I don't end up quilting a huge chunk of the quilt with terrible looking stitches!

Troubleshooting any issue on your machine does require patience. Please don't start fiddling with things when you're tired or upset.

Also I cannot stress enough - ONLY CHANGE ONE THING AT A TIME!

Make one change, test, make one more change, test again. If you change your needle, rethread the machine, lower the take up rail, and adjust the height of your foot - which one of those things was the culprit?

This is the #1 tip I've learned from teaching in person and online for the last 9 years. I can't count the number of emails I've received along the lines of "I've changed everything and nothing is working! HELP!"

To gain the most insight into your machine, only make one change at a time and you'll quickly be able to identify the issue and get back on track.

I hope this quilting tutorial is helpful! While it's never any fun to struggle with tension issues, it's great to know how to deal with them when they happen.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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