Sweet, Sweet Tension!

When I purchased my APQS Millennium eight years ago, Jim and I took the camper up to Iowa and toured the APQS factory and took the maintenance workshop so we could both do any repairs needed over the years.

I am not mechanically inclined, which is why Jim also took the class. Being a mechanical engineer, they loved him! Mechanical things make my brain curl and squeal, much like math does. Give this girl a computer!

The tension on my Millennium has been getting harder and harder to make a consistent stitch, and I knew the issue had to be something failing, as achieving perfect tension has never been an issue for me, but where the problem was just wasn’t clicking!

In desperation, I was watching videos on YouTube, and the eye opening moment happened when I realized that my check spring on my tensioner was no longer moving while sewing.

Tensioner
Tensioner

That little wire that the thread runs through is the check spring, and it bobs up and down while sewing. Or it should anyway! I guessed mine had probably worn out.

I vaguely remembered working on one in class, but was rather dismayed when I pulled out my maintenance manual and saw that I had to completely remove it from the machine to work on it.

That meant dismounting my laser light bracket, a small cover, and sliding the circuit board out… without breaking it!

Circuit Board
Circuit Board

I was prepared to replace the check spring, or the entire tension assembly, but after taking it apart, cleaning it and installing it properly, it was fine. The check spring had somehow hopped out of the retaining groove in the sleeve.

Beautiful stitch definition, and a light cornflower blue thread on top, with a dark navy blue in the bobbin. I haven’t been able to do that in sometime without the thread from either the top or the bobbin showing in the corners.

Quilting Tension Great Again!
Quilting Tension Great Again!

I had to do quite a bit of tweaking to get my tensions balanced again. A nifty little method I use to do this when I already have a quilt loaded, is to cut a mini quilt sandwich, about twelve inches wide, and long enough to pin to the take up leader and drape over the belly bar in front.

Test Sandwich
Test Sandwich

I then “attach” it to the front by leaning up against it with my body.

Secure Test Sandwich with Body
Secure Test Sandwich with Body

This leaves the sandwich “free” to flip over and easily see how the stitches look on the underside.

I was so excited to see beautiful stitches again that I finished quilting my Quilt of Valor! It’s been trimmed, the label embroidered, and the binding sewn to the front. I will get pictures this morning and post them later.

CJ Tinkle

Your feedback is always welcome! If you have a question, I will respond to it here.

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