Monday, June 24, 2019

Nolting 23XL Stitch Problems...

On Friday I dropped off three finished quilts to my customer.  I had them a little over six months and was wondering if I was still her favorite longarmer...  I was.  She gave me two more quilts to longarm for her.  I dropped our son off at church camp on Sunday and came home and got busy on the first quilt. 

I was quilting along using my Circle Lord giant template board called Clam Shell.  The quilt was looking fabulous.  I found it odd what if I quilted west to east (right to left from the backside of the longarm) that it would make a beautiful line of stitches all the way across the quilt.  When I quilted east to west the thread would break about every four swoops of clam shells.  (I believe this green board design has been retired.)

I thought to myself, hmmm let's troubleshoot.  If I called my Nolting dealer he would ask me what has changed since I quilted the last quilt nicely?

1.  At the end of the last quilt I broke a needle and didn't know why the old needle broke.

2.  I changed thread, but I believe this tread is the same brand and weight of the last thread.  Only the color is different.

3.  This quilt is of all cotton fabric with a piece of sheet here and there as a scrap.  Hmmm.

I wasn't a tension issue.  The stitches were beautiful.  But I did find a thread stuck in the bobbin area.

It was a pesky little thread.  I'm pointing at it with my stitch ripper.

Hooray!  I got it out in one piece!

My husband arrives to the scene about 8pm.  He's always interested in anything mechanical -- ANYTHING -- as long as they don't have to do with my computer, phone,  tv set-up or cameras.  The bigger the piece of equipment, the better.  He is always intrigued by my Nolting 23XL longarm but not my sewing machine.

I explain in detail what it is doing.  I demonstrate a few rows that I can perfectly stitch from west to east (it's always best to talk in the most possible technical terms with him and use part names vs. "thingy" or "dohicky".  I show him the tread breaking when I stitch east to west.  My longarm (unlike my truck) was predictable and the thread broke every fourth clam shell!

My husband thinks that I need to change the needle again.  I told him that I thought maybe the thread was not aligning properly in the needle and that I had already tried positioning the needle again.  I got out another brand new needle from the manufacture package and put that one in.  Same results.

Then he takes this apart.  He thinks the needle is hitting something and bending.  Hmmm.  I know that there is supposed to be a little flex in the needle to make the hook in the thread, but I left him go.  My husband has adjusted the timing on my longarm previously.

Next he takes everything apart.  I think at this point he is fascinated by the amount of my own tools I have.  He's going through my tool box saying, "Hmmm.  Hmmm.  Hmmm."  Tools are his thing.  He does not recognize any of the tools in the box as his and is slightly impressed that I went to a store and got my own set of tools that I needed such as Allen wrenches, mini screw drivers, screw drivers, flashlights, and pliers.  Later I showed him the set of tools that I inherited from his mom in her sewing things.  His mom and I had very similar interests.

You can also see in the customer quilt pic below that the quilt stitches an seams aren't perfect on her quilts.  I always think this gives her quilts personality.  She loves to sew and quilt.  She uses fabrics that she has.  She cuts everything with scissors and does not like to use a rotary cutter.  She wants to make a quilt for every one of her grandchildren.  I think there are about 15 of them.

An hour later hours later...  Still working on it.

He's super cute!  He is one of the most patient people I know!

The manual, the internet on my phone, and a YouTube video and two hours later he was still working on it.  It's almost back into time, but there is a skipped stitch here and there.  Because it was skipping stitches I did not try the east to west thread breaking problem.  It has to be in time before I test that.  We went to bed a little after 11pm.  Tomorrow is another day to work on it.  Instead of longarming my customer quilts and getting them done lickety split, I guess I'll have to work on a few other things today.

To be continued...


  1. When my machine (APQS Millennium) was doing that, it was a burr on that plate that your husband removed from your machine. A little work with the emery string fixed it right up!

  2. My Nolting NV has been breaking threads all in the same general place on the frame. I have tried everything I could think of.

  3. I have two regular sewing machines and every now and then something crops up out of the blue and I have to spend a block of time trouble shooting. My hubby is a retired engineer and it is all about the details with him. I smiled when I read your comment about using precise language instead of thingie. Just like me with my hubby. And he loves tools and trying to fix things too.

  4. My thread was breaking also on a regular basis - no burr, new needle, correct needle (lol!), etc., Mike was watching me quilt and noticed that I had the roller that was in the throat of my machine too high - needed to be dropped back down to a snug finger fit between the roller/quilt and the bottom of the throat of the machine - wow what a difference that made!