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Re: threading reel to reel
Depending on which brand of recorder you have, most do have a general threading scheme. As you are facing the unit, the supply (full) reel would be on the your left and the take-up (empty) would be to the right. Position the supply reel so that the leader end of the tape will be on the outside. Pull the tape end around the shut off sensor lever so that it moves freely. Now pull the tape leader between the rubber pinch roller and capstan (in the case the unit has dual capstans). If it has a single roller on the right side, pull the tape between the heads and then between the roller/capstan. If unit has dual shut off sensor levers, pull tape around this sensor as you did the first, making sure it moves freely. Then thread the tape leader into the take-up reel slot. Press play. Both reels should turn counter clockwise.
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It sounds like you have no tension on the bottom bobbin reel. Did you check your tension on the bobbin reel. The tension must be right on both sides. When pulling on the cotton when the reel is in its bobbin case you need to feel a little resistance. Adjust the tiny srew on the bobbin case to tighten the reel to avoid it to turn in the casing.
This sounds like something is catching the top thread somewhere rather than the tension dial being the problem.
So start by check the threading up path from thread reel to needle, some thread reels have a little cut to hold the thread tail when storing but it could catch the thread during use too. If this is the case, turn reel up the other way or use a mushroom cap over it to assist the thread to flow off smoothly.
Check that thread is going through the take up lever, and not catching on a threading loop, or wrapped around something. It may be caught on something at the back of the machine that you can't see, so just visually check the whole threading path from start to finish, and hopefully this will identify the issue.
1. Do you mean that there are knots in the bobbin thread?
2. Is the bottom thread in your stitching looping and knotting.
If yes to 1. you need to rewind your bobbin fresh, and keep slight tension on the thread reel that you are winding it from. Put the handle of your scissors into the top of the reel to apply a gentle pressure while winding. Keep your eye on the bobbin as it winds and give it a nudge with a finger tip to ensure it winds the bobbin evenly top, middle and bottom.
If yes to 2, then you need to check your bobbin threading, is the thread even under tension. Is the bobbin tension set correctly. Break out your manual and revisit this to ensure it is set correctly.
My guess is that it is the thread spooling off the reel that is the problem. Some of those specialty quilting cottons come on reels with plastic ends that have rough spots particularly knicks where you are supposed to "park" the thread end when you are done sewing. Run your fingers around the rim at each end of the reel and choose the smoother one to be the one closest to the threading mechanism. If neither end is suitable, flip the spool holder upwards so it is standing at a right angle to the machine, make sure the large spool holder is on then put the thread on - you won't need the smaller spool holder on top. Let the thread feed off from the right-hand side i.e. "under" the thread spool, across to the tension disks etc. Also be sure that the thread is not jumping out of that first thread tension slot.
From the reel pin take the thread to the left and over the top thread guide above the takeup lever, make sure the takeup lever is up and and make sure the presser foot is up, take the thread straight down and round the right hand side of the tension unit and back up the left hand side to the takeup lever, thread the takeup lever right to left and take the thread down any guides to the needle, if the bobbin case goes in the front thread the needle front to back, if the bobbin case goes in the side thread the needle left to right.