Often, I have very large and complex projects to design, digitize, test, photograph and write the instructions. These tasks are intense, highly-technical and deadline-oriented. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I’ve been doing it for a long time, a realllllly llllllong time. So I know what I’m doing. And I relish digging into a big project. Recently, I set aside a whole day to work at home (way less interruptions!) to tackle this new project.
I was pumped because I was at the testing stage. All designs were digitized and critiqued in software. It was time to stitch the designs on fabric before moving to the actual project – a full size quilt. I’m never satisfied until I actually stitch the design on fabric. I see results during the stitch out that I never catch in software. So I grabbed a quilt sandwich for testing and popped it into a Snap Hoop Monster. And pressed Start. Thirty stitches later and I see skipped stitches. And again, and again.
Then the thread breaks. I rethread. Same result.
I check the bobbin and reinsert it. Same result.
I change the needle. Same result.
I put the thread on a vertical thread stand. Same result.
I call my sister Marie and complain. She listens and laughs. I’m not laughing, good thing she’s 1200 miles away.
I start the machine again. Same result.
I change the bobbin. Same result.
I change the thread. Same result.
I CHANGE DESIGNS. Same result. By now, you can imagine, I am F U R I O U S.
I exhale, several times. And then I call Scott Goodman, author of the Great Scott column in Designs, and explain the situation. Scott is like a good therapist; he listens intently and asks thought-provoking questions. But this time, none of his questions provide the answer I need – how to make the machine work! So he gently suggests that I have my dealer take a look at the machine. That’s the kiss of death. Now I love dealers and totally respect all technician’s abilities but I DON’T HAVE TIME TO GO TO THE DEALER today. So I thank Scotty and just when we are about to hang up, he says, “Well, flagging can cause that.” I said, “Flagging?”
He responded, “Flagging, when the fabric is not secure in the hoop, the needle can lift the fabric off the bed and the needle and bobbin threads do not connect to make the stitch.”
I turned 10 shades of pink. I was so glad Scott wasn’t actually in my sewing room because I know what flagging is and what causes it. You see, in my haste, I grabbed a quilt sandwich that did not FILL the hoop. And I know that the fabric should fill the hoop but I did it anyway. Then when disaster struck I didn’t connect my mistake with the skipped stitches. I blamed every variable except the user.
Shame on me! Scott and I had a good chuckle over that. The fix was so easy – I hooped another quilt sandwich – larger than the hoop – and it stitched perfectly!
I’m grateful for Scott’s long-distance diagnosis – he’s a gem. Connect with him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GreatScottSews/
I’d love to know if you’ve ever had an experience like this. What do you do when you ‘hit the wall’ with an embroidery project?