Happy 2017 Machine Maintenance!

HAPPY NEW YEAR my faithful blog readers!! It’s a NEW YEARย and I’ve got some new 2017 SQUAD GOALS!!!!

  • MORE BLOG POSTS!!! If you evveerrrr have a suggestion, please let me know! After all these years it’s hard to come up with new material. Jeff says he is going to help in this department as well. I would even welcome guest posts! Do you like embroidery related? What we are up to? What do you want to read?
  • With more blog posts I promise to actually read and approve and answer comments in a more timely fashion! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • MORE newsletters. I actually pay good money to send you newsletters, and some months I don’t even send them. Basically it’s like giving money to my newsletter provider for doing nothing. So, I hope to send out a newsletter a month with sale info, new design info, new blog posts, etc.
  • MORE designs. We get so busy and weeks fly by. We hope to do more designs and on a more regular basis.

I’m sure the list will grow! We’ve been doing this since 2009 and we want to stay strong and continue providing you with great simple and unique designs and help you out on the blog along the way!

On that note, it’s a NEW YEAR, and a great time to CLEAN YOUR MACHINE!! Now would be the perfect time to get your machine in shape for the new year, and also set a schedule to keep it clean and maintained. Set a reminder on your phone. Mark your calendar. Get on a schedule!! The schedule really depends on your machine usage, but you need to keep your machine clean and free of lint and junk and also CHANGE YOUR NEEDLES on a regular basis. Are you using more sticky stabilizer than usual? Are you doing more towels and linty stuff than usual? If so, you need to clean it more often! I did mine this morning…

Here are the tools needed. If you have a multi needle, they came with your machine. I also use alcohol and Q-tips to get the gunk! I’m a couple of needles short to change out my 6, so heading to Joann at some point today so I can change them all. I use Schmetz 75/11 Embroidery Needles.


Here is some of the gunk that came out of my bobbin case area. GROSS!


I use the brush as well as the alcohol+Q-tips to clean the bobbin case area really well. I also dust around where the needles are screwed in, and dust the top of the machine where the tension knobs are. You just need to make sure to get the dust away from the machine, and not blow it IN to your machine.


It’s amazing the amount of dust that can accumulate! I did my share of towels for Christmas, so keep in mind the projects you are working on. If you are doing a lot of towels, or using sticky stabilizer a lot, then you need to clean and change needles more often.


Take the plate off the bobbin case area to really get inside the bobbin case. When all clean, screw it back on tightly.


For a complete blog post on Multi Needle Machine Maintenance, check out my previous blog post by clickingย HERE. It has been shared and pinned a lot on Pinterest!

Happy 2017 to you and you’ll be hearing from me again soon!


Applique Cafe Logo_v2

Small Shirts and Multi Needle Machines

Happy Fall Friends! I can’t believe it’s almost November. Where do the time go y’all? We all know that time does not stand still (even though moms like to hash tag that on every.single.photo of their kids), and weeks turn in to months since my last post….

Anyway… The question was asked the other day by M. Jennings in a Facebook group I’m in (and I edited it slightly)… “Ok multineedle friends. I skipped the fast frames and plan to get magnetic {hoops} soon, but in the meantime, does anyone have any tricks for when doing little people’s shirts to keep the tail out of the way?” By tail she means the back bottom of the shirt.

Low and behold, I did 4 sz 2T shirts yesterday. As you can see below, I used my 5×7 hoop and everything looks normal. By the way…. I also get asked a lot about design size vs shirt size. For all of the 2T shirts I did (and I did not take a single picture of them), I used the 5×7 size design, BUT…. when I put the design on my machine, I shrunk the design down as much as my machine would allow. It seemed to be the perfect size after that. I did the Dog Truck, Tractor Patch, Frame Patch 2 and Basketball Patch – sorry no pictures. They were cute I promise! Most machines, if not all, have a re-size feature and will enlarge or shrink your design/monogram up or down 10-20%. You can also chose 4×4 and enlarge it as much as possible!


What she was asking is: how do you keep the bottom of the shirt {as seen below} from possibly getting caught up on top of the machine arm. As you can see there’s not a lot of room and it could get tangled up and your shirt could get sewn together. In the pic below, you can’t see the arm of the machine!


Before this post and discussion on Facebook, I’ve always held my hand there and kept the bottom/back of the shirt held down so there is no chance of it getting caught. Not a bad thing, but, M. Jackson threw out a suggestion for us and we were all pretty much blown away at the geniusness of her trick!


Her suggestion was to place a CD case, or a small thin children’s book, below the arm of the machine between the arm and the shirt. This keeps enough space between the shirt and the arm that no accidents are likely to happen! I used the sleeve of one of my Monogram Wizard Plus cd’s, but anything small, thin, lightweight and about that size will do. I DID kind of keep an eye on things to make sure the CD case didn’t shift or cause my machine to mess up or get caught on anything. However, it seemed to stay in place AND even when I took the shirt off the machine to trim applique fabric, it stayed in place. It really worked well for me AND I was hands-free to cut fabric and do other things.


Thank you thank you thank you M. Jennings for the question and M. Jackson for this suggestion!! I love a good trick! ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you have a great trick to share, please email me at rosemarygulledge@appliquecafe.com. I’m always looking for blog material!

These new designs will be listed soon at Applique Cafe, along with a SALE – you heard it here!

new designs

Multi-needle Error Message

Multi-needle users… how often do you get this error message? “Check upper and bobbin thread.” Sometimes this message is legitimate and you are out of bobbin thread or top thread. Sometimes you get it and realize one of your needles is not threaded correctly ~ you missed a guide or the thread has wandered around the wrong guide. Sometimes you get this message and everything appears to be FINE and you want to throw your machine out the window because it keeps happening every 7 stitches and you keep closing the error message and starting the machine again only to get the message again and again and again. Hypothetically. IMG_9337
I was having this issue with needle 1 and 6 on my machine recently and had my machine serviced a couple of months ago. I haven’t sewn a whole lot since I got it back, but noticed needle 6 was still giving me trouble. I emailed Steve at Sewingmachine.com last week about it and he sent me a GREAT list of “try this” for this error message issue. I took some pictures today to include and hopefully this will help if you are having the error message problem.

Please note: If you have this problem with needle 4, which has the shortest route from the spool of thread to the needle, wrap the thread around the tension disk twice! I did a short blog post on this – click HERE to read it! It worked for me!!

The following are suggestions from STEVE:

When your machine stops and says check upper and lower thread, it stopped because the machine did not “sense” the tension disc turning. The tension disc is the little (silver) wheel under your tension knob that you wrap the thread around 1-1/2 times when you thread up the machine.

Tension Disc:
6 needle disk 2

There are two reasons for your to be getting a “false thread break” error. The first reason, and it is very uncommon, is that the electronic sensors that sense the motion (turning) of your tension discs are bad. We very rarely see that as the problem. The other reason is that your tension discs are just not turning steadily.

The first thing you want to try is to wrap your thread around the tension a second time to see if this stops the error message. The tension assembly is supposed to looped around one time during your threading of the machine – try looping it twice. This is just a test to see if it helps stop the error message. If that works then we know that your tension discs are not turning properly and it is not a sensor. (I tried this FIRST and this WORKED FOR ME! However, you still need to troubleshoot the issue with the following steps. Double wrapping the thread will eventually fail you, but it’s an easy fix to get through a project. RG)

Next if you pull straight down on a thread at the needle on one that is not giving you any issues you will see that the tension disc spins smoothly. (pull slowly) Next pull on one of the threads that is giving you problems and watch – the disc will spin erratically. If the disc was turning smoothly and steadily we would have to check the electronic sensor, but ninety times out of a hundred the disc or the felts, or a threading issue are to blame. Cleaning can also help and I will go into detail on that in a moment.

Disc & Felts:
6 needle disk
Below pics are from a blog post I did on 6 needle maintenance (found HERE):

6 needle disk 1

Tension can be an issue if the tension knobs are twisted down too tight and not allowing the tension disc to turn steadily. Try loosening the tension a little to see if the discs spin more smoothly.

The most common threading issue is that the little clips (pretensions) at the back and front of the head are not threaded correctly. The thread will only be half way under the clip or not at all and that will cause an issue. These pretensions help to hold your thread taut so that the when you wrap the thread around the tension disc the thread will “grip” the disc and spin it. Incorrect threading of the machine will also cause the error message. If the tensions and threading are correct then it may require cleaning to solve the issue.

Pretension Clips:
IMG_9341 IMG_9340

Here are the instructions for cleaning your tensions:

At the back and front of the head are two metal clips you run the thread under, these are called pretensions. Start by cleaning out under them. The space is very small under the clip so what we do is to cut a long skinny strip of fabric and run that under the clips. Soaking the fabric in rubbing alcohol can help to clean out any waxes or oils or dust that is trapped under the pretensions.

Next move onto the tension assembly itself and screw the cap off. Take each component of the tension off and stack them in a row for reassembly. As you take off the tension wheel that you wrap the thread around look at the underside and you will see a round ridge, that is the magnet the machine sense is turning, so that it knows that your thread is feeding and not broken. Clean any lint off of the blue felt disks, take a Q-tip or a fabric strip and clean inside the groove of the tension wheel. Use rubbing alcohol again to clean the tension wheel as you cannot have your thread slipping on this wheel. Be sure that when you reassemble the tension wheel that you put the side with the magnet facing down. After reassembly pull on your thread down at the needle and watch the tension wheel to assure that it is spinning. Pull slowly and the wheel should spin smoothly and not start and stop. If it will do that then you are good to go!

Tension Assembly:
6 needle 1

The blue felts should be replaced every so often – and the tension discs too. But cleaning is a first step to try, if that fails then replace the felts and discs. make sure and clean under the pretensions though as if you do not have adequate pretensions even new parts will not help.

Blue Felts (again) and the one on the right has a piece of lint on it, which can cause issues:

6 needle disk 1

I hope that helps you with this bothersome error message.

Again, check out my blog post on 6 needle maintenance and see how lint can collect and cause problems with your embroidery!

Steve has tons of great videos on their website ~ www.sewingmachine.com! Click on VIDEOS.