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I am a wife, mama and grandmama getting through life by hanging on to a needle and thread.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tension Headaches

When you were a little girl and learning to sew, did your mother ever tell you never, ever, no matter what, NEVER touch the tension dial on the sewing machine? Mine did and after all these years I still find it very hard to turn the tension dial. As I reach for the dial I break out in a cold sweat, my hands shake and I start to hyperventilate, but this time I had to work through my fear and just do it! I had just finished ripping out three rows of horrible "loopy on the back" quilting and something had to be done to fix it. I did a little research and found that yes, those tension dials are meant to be turned! Who knew? After breathing into a brown paper bag for a minute or two, I made a few adjustments to the top and bottom tensions and started quilting. It turned out perfectly! I don't think I'll ever hesitate to adjust the tension again!

17 comments:

andsewon said...

ATTA-A-GAL Susan!!!
Yes those knobs are on there for a reason!!
I have learned to do a practice piece the hard way...so will use same fabrics batting backing etc till I get it just right.
I hear there is a machine that can auto adjust tension now for all fabs and threads...OH MY GOODNESS!!!
Oh well like a new car price on it I am sure!! Out of my league!!
Pretty quilt too!
Hugs,
Lola

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

oooo I've always stayed away from the tension knobs. I think the older machines were much harder to find the right tensions, and once you found it, you left it alone!! Even the repair man would tell me not to touch that dial :-)

Anya said...

Why have tension dials if you're not supposed to use them?

I'm glad to hear that your tension headache is a thing of the past!

Laurie said...

OMGosh - I remember that too! DO NOT touch the tension once it is set - you'll ruin the machine!! Once I started trying free motion, the dial became my friend - I hate the loopy loops on the back! You go girl!!
Laurie

Needled Mom said...

I think that our mothers told us that so we wouldn't mess up their machines!

I don't mind the tension buttons, but adjusting the tension on the bobbin scares me to death. I have a spare to play with, but it still gives me the shakes.

Kathie said...

glad it all worked out for you!
yeah another quilt done!
Kathie

Marie said...

Ohh, I can totally understand your hesitance in touching it. I was told to never touch it either and to this day I haven't. Thankfully I haven't needed to!

Diane said...

Yep on my old domestic machine I used to sweat. But on my HQ16, you're suppose to check the tension every time you put in a fresh bobbin-- at first I was so scared but I got used to it. I don't even think about it now and it does make a difference. (I guess that's why you're suppose to check it!):)
My new pfaff 4.0 has "automatic tension adjusting"...hope I never have the need to adj. cuz there is no knob!

julia said...

I play with mine way too often.

Jackie said...

I remember it too...my mom didn't sew much but she didn't want her tension touched!

Ripping out quilting though...that is a cure for it! UGH! Sorry you have to go through that.

Anonymous said...

And I thought it was only my Mom who said that every time I touched the tension we had to take the Singer to the repairman.

Good for you to have conquered the tension but I am still reluctant since I hear my Mother's voice still.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Isn't it amazing how many of us still hear our mother's voices telling us to "do" or "not do" something?!?!

I hope I haven't done that to my grown sons . . .

Barb said...

Makes me smile to read these comments...yep me too and I probably even said it a time or two. But now I know better...there is a reason for the dial...even if it is just the slightest of adjustment!

Linda said...

Oooo I was getting tense just reading about your tension button. Most of the time, mine stays on 3. Guess I need to start playing a bit. Thanks for giving me permission to try. Linda

Melanie said...

Oh well done. I come from the "don't mess with that button" school of thought too. It's silly when you think about it- if you use different thicknesses of fabric, it makes sense to touch THAT button.

Rose said...

Yes, my mom would have had a fit if we ever touched either tension. However, I have never been afraid to touch either top or bottom. That is what they are there for.

However, I go very, very slow when touching the bottom tension. And I keep up with how much I turn it.

日月神教-向左使 said...
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