Friday, 16 January 2015

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 And Skipped Stitches

I can see from my blog stats that people are searching for answers on the Pfaff QE 4.2 and skipped stitches.

The machine should not skip stitches during normal straight line stitching so I am assuming that this must be related to FMQ.

Yep, definitely also has happened to me and is a sign that something is not quite right. Here are some basic steps that you may want to try:

1. Change the needle. Even if you have just put a new needle in, it could be that the needle is somewhat faulty. Even brand new packets sometimes have faulty needles.
2. Consider whether you are using the wrong needle for your thread.  As a general rule, I use an 80/12 needle for 50/3 cotton thread. When using 50/2 cotton thread, and doing slow feather work, I generally use a 70/10 sharp needle.
2. Re-thread your machine
3. Clean out the bobbin case

If, after all this you still get skipped stitches check your settings
(it is amazing how many times I forget a few steps when setting up for FMQ)
- have you set your stitch length to zero?
- have you lowered your feed dogs ?
Although these first two steps should not really give you skipped stitches, I always go right back to the beginning of the set up. Then check:
- are you using the 6D Dynamic foot in the 6D Dynamic Freemotion mode?
- are you using an Open toe Springloaded foot in the Spring foot setting? Try using the Springloaded foot in the Dynamic setting because chances are the opening of the foot interferes with the machine grabbing the thread at the right time.
- if using the Open Sensormatic foot lower the pivot height in the settings menu.
- use Magic Genie Bobbin Washers. These are little teflon washers that you just put into the bobbin case. They will lift the bobbin just that fraction to address the timing issue.

- if all fails, take your machine for a service and ask the technician to adjust the timing of the machine

It just so happens that I am  doing some FMQ with the new Open Toe Springloaded foot. I am participating in the FMQ Challenge that Quiltshopgal is hosting. Check it out HERE if you have not already heard about it.  Lots of fun and lots of learning...but more on that at the end of the month when the link up will take place.                           


The new Open toe Springloaded foot requires you to take the shank off which gives great visibility all around. I quite like this foot.

New Open toe Springloaded foot

Settings that I used
As I already am aware that the Pfaff QE 4.2 is somewhat sensitive to the Open toe feet, I placed one of those Magic Genie bobbin washers into the bobbin. This worked fine for the most of it, however I did have about 2 skipped stitches...not a big deal you may think, but if you are in the middle of an amazing feather shape, that does spoil it a bit and is something that I personally find extraordinarily annoying. I then set the presser foot pivot height to -1 which makes the presser foot go down just that little bit lower onto the fabric as it lifts up and down with every stitch. Had no more problems for the rest of the feathers and was quite happy. However, I will mention this at my next service as I do think that needs an eeny-weeny adjustment. I then proceeded to do some other FMQ design in the surrounding area at a higher speed and again experienced a couple of skipped stitches...so now I am changing over to the Dynamic 6D foot for the faster designs, as I definitely did not have that problem with that foot.

Now I better get a move on that FMQ challenge piece as we are already half way through the month. Somehow the new year has just descended on me and I am blissfully disorganised...have not linked up to my usual linky hang outs as I keep missing the days or am doing something completely different. Hopefully by February I will be back into some sort of routine.

Until next time


Karin

2 comments:

  1. Really useful Karin. I am going to copy this out and stick it in my manual for easy reference. I've had many a slipped stitch and it is frustrating even when I'm doing my fairly clumsy attempts at FMQ versus your fine work. Being a novice I've only used the
    Sensormatic foot although I did buy the open toe version which in the main if I'm steady works well. But I've just bought the new foot you mentioned and it is on to do list for quilting to have a play and then do some more dense quilting on a Christmas runner. Yes you've read that correctly I'm thinking ahead!!!!

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  2. You'll never know how much I love you for your comprehensive discussion of this issue! I wonder how many of those search queries were me? :p I confess, I'm still having ups and downs with FMQ on my 4.2 - I was just trying to do some very simple free-motion hearts on a project this evening and it was a real exercise in frustration, so much so that I almost dug out mum's Huskystar to do it instead, though I did conquer them in the end (with the sensormatic foot, surprisingly). I'm just about to get some of those bobbin genie thingies and the new open-toe foot, see if they help me. I'm also seriously considering getting the straight-stitch plate - I suspect it'll help with piecing too, though frankly I already have squee-fits over how beautifully the 4.2 does piecing and straight-line quilting. After a little over a month of owning it, I still can't decide if the 4.2 is the best thing EVAR or a costly mistake! However, I'm still so new to its ways that I'm inclined to think that the issues are more with me than with the machine. With all that, I have no idea whether I'll manage QuiltShopGal's FMQ challenge by the end of the month, but I'm going to go admire your feathery heart now. :)

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