Question about Elna Quilter's Dream 6003Q

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When I am free motion quilting, the top thread will periodically get stuck in the first slot where the top thread is threaded down and when I get it out it has what looks like a grease stain on it. Is it possible that there are some sort of tensioning discs there that the thread is hanging up on? I have to cut my thread, lift the presser foot and pull the thread out backward to get it out. Once I rethread the machine it stitches beautifully for a while, then seems to get "stuck" again.

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  • 1,125 Answers

Yes, there should be tension discs which control the tension on the top thread. If it is jamming up and marking the thread as you describe then I'd suggest that the tension discs need cleaning.

Most thread, especially darker colours, will shed fibres and also dye particles, as the thread runs through the tension device, add a bit of dust in the environment and the discs can get pretty gunked up.

On my Janome, I just turn the dial to zero, then get a selvage edge of fabric scrap in between the discs and saw it back and forward to give it a good clean - the dirt on the fabric I get out is amazing. I would do this once a month on my main machine, and whenever I get out another machine I always clean and oil it fully before use.

However, in your model the tension device may not be so easy to access as the old dial styles. I would suggest that you take your machine to an Elna dealer/repair shop and pay for a service/clean.

Just as you have your car serviced, getting your machine serviced at least every 2 years is worth the money as they can give it a good clean and service internally as well as sort out any issues.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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How to Free motion quilting on Janome 1600P QC


Be sure to use a darning foot (or free motion quilting foot).
Use a brand new sharp needle, ie top stitch, embroidery, or microtex work well.
Check that the thread, needle, and fabric are compatible--Caution, the needle eye should be the right size for the thread weight.
AVOID old or bargain bin thread!
Be sure to drop or cover the feed dogs.
If your machine has it, use the needle down feature.
You may need to adjust the tension for FMQ--I have to tighten the bobbin tension a little to keep the bobbin thread below the quilt surface (so I bought a special bobbin case and set the tension for FMQ and that's all I use it for.)

Lots of web sites that talk about how to free motion quilt. Then, it's PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! I use a portable white board and draw free motion designs on it (while watching TV, etc.). The idea is to get it fluid without jerking, jumping, speeding up or slowing down, etc. When your hand and brain are able to work smoothly, then you can probably do free motion quilting. Practice on scraps of fabric and batting (preferably the same kind you will be working on). Cut up some 14 inch squares of fabric and batting and draw designs on them and see if you can stitch them. Some advice: don't watch the needle...look at where you are going in front of the needle. Don't expect perfection to happen overnight. Many quilters have been FMQing for years and still make mistakes. (I've made a few quilts and my stuff still looks less than professional, but it's all mine!)

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Sounds like the upper tension needs to be tightened, or the bobbin thread needs to be loosened. At any rate, the tension is correct when the two threads meet in the middle of the fabric for general sewing.

For free motion quilting, the tension should be adjusted so that the bobbin thread does not show on the top of the fabric, however, it should not lay in a straight line like it sounds like it may appear currently. What you are currently producing is a gathering stitch where the bobbin thread can be easily pulled.

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I have a Janome 6500 Memory Craft and I'm having problems with the thread tension while free motion quilting. No matter what the setting, the bobbin thread keeps popping up on the quilt top! I've only had...


Check this in your manual. I think when you do free motion you have the feed dogs (toothed things the rise up and pull the fabric under the presser foot) locked down but you still have to have the presser foot lowered. When the presser foot is locked in the up position, the tension on the bobbin thread is released.

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I am trying to sew in free motion, but the bobbin is not feeding problem and I have loose stitches and drag. I have adjusted tensions but this does not seem to improve the problem.


Turn your machine off, then turn it on again to re-set everything back to "normal". Now, go into the SET menu (second page, I think) and turn on Q-Sensor Foot and Free Motion. Go back to the Menu and choose the V Menu, Stitch 1. Lower your feed dogs (personally, I don't do this but all instructions always say to do it). Make sure your upper thread and your bobbin thread are a similar thickness i.e. don't use a 35wt top thread and regular sewing thread in the bobbin - it will be too hard to get a balanced stitch with this combination. Use a new sharp needle that has an eye big enough for your chosen thread. When you load the bobbin, be sure to feel and hear the thread "click" into the tension slot. Use one of the free motion feet - my favourite is the spring loaded metal horseshoe shaped one, but there are several and they will all work. (If you are not using the spring loaded nor the Q foot, go back and turn Q Sensor Foot off in the Set menu.) Make sure ALL the weight of your quilt is supported on your table - any tiny bit hanging over the edge will create drag and make it much harder for you to free motion quilt. Most free motion instructions say to lay your hands on the quilt and glide it around. That has never worked for me. I grab the quilt either side of the bit under the needle and steer it that way. So long as the quilt is well basted, it won't cause puckering. Now, the hardest bit - relax! Remember you are only ever quilting a pot holder - the 6" or so square bit that is actually under the needle. Do that little pot holder and move the quilt and your hands on to the next bit. Sure you may come back to an unfinished bit in order to complete your design, but you are only ever focussing on that small area at the needle. Try to watch where you are going, not where you are presently sewing. Believe me, it works!
If you are still having tension issues, you may need to adjust either the top or the bobbin tension. Do this in small increments only and make a note of where you started from. I try not to alter my bobbin because it has been set by my technician at the best place for regular sewing and embroidery, therefore I have a spare bobbin case that I can fiddle with to my heart's content. If you are going to do a lot of FM quilting this is a very worthwhile investment. Most recently I quilted with King Tut 40wt in the top, Signature 40wt in the bobbin. I had my machine set as above, the bobbin tension was a LITTLE lighter than "normal" and it sewed perfectly. You also need the needle down turned on. Good luck!

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