One of the most frustrating things in quilting is most definitely tension issues. It can cause the most patient person to loose their sh*t! So what causes the issues? The list is a little long! Thread, needle, fabric, batting, tension on the quilt top, the full moon, the half moon… 😂 ok well, maybe not the moon but sometimes it feels like it.
So let’s talk a moment about the stitch…. basically your top and bottom thread interlock and hopefully it is within the batting. Many times you will get something called the railroad… this is when the stitches lay on either the top or bottom of the quilt. If you are worried about your stitches on the back of the quilt, run your fingernail over the stitches… if it feels bumpy… you have a problem and you’ll need your seam ripper.
What to do when your tension is off.
- Adjust your tension disk.
- Rethread your machine.
- Double check your bobbin tension, clean out your bobbin.
- Loosen the tension on the quilt backing.
- Put in a new needle (consider changing the size needle)
If these things don’t work… here are some things to consider.
- What type of fabric are you using? Batik – consider using a ball point needle. Is it that white on white fabric? Sometimes you can use a silicone spray but your best bet… don’t use this fabric.
- What type of batting are you using? If it is really thin… there is not a lot of room for the stitches to interlock. Is it a high quality batting… sometimes using the cheaper batting can cause tension issues or even thread breakage.
- What type of thread are you using? Using high quality thread can reduce tension issues. Sometimes old thread can cause issues as well.
When all else fails… walk away. There have been times when I had tension issues… after spending way too much time trying to fix it, I decided to stop for the day. Came back the next day expecting the same issues… but alas, I believe a little helper came in the middle of the night and fixed it. Now that doesn’t happen all the time but sometimes walking away gives you some clarity.