Twin Needle and Q-matic on BERNINA Longarm
The other day I was quilting along using Q-matic with my BERNINA Longarm and thought to myself, I could get this done twice as fast if I used a twin needle. So I loaded the frame with some fabric and decided to test it out.
First I looked for other information on twin needle quilting, and there were two great blog posts right here on WeAllSew using a twin needle for quilting on a domestic sewing machine. The first one is tips for quilting with a twin needle by Nancy Mahoney. It has great information about using the walking foot. The other post is free-motion quilting with a double needle by Diane Doran who used the twin (or double) needle with free-motion quilting. These posts had lots more good information, but I wanted to use the twin needle with the BERNINA Q-matic Longarm Quilting Automation System on the frame with my BERNINA Longarm.
After looking on the BERNINA site I followed the instructional video on how to thread the machine. I went to the tutorial section of the Longarm tab. Then I scrolled down to the “Threading for Twin Needle” video. It was great and had lots of information for using the Twin Needle on the BERNINA Q Series machines.
After threading the machine, I set the bobbin tension a little lower than normal—220 mN to 190 mN. I did this so I would get that nice zig zag on the back that you get with all twin needle stitching. I then inserted a BERNINA 130/705H ZWI 90/30 universal twin needle and used King Tut thread. I placed the Twin Needle Stitch Plate on my machine. I selected a standard design from the design library in Q-matic. With design “Basic_01” queued and ready to go, the machine stitched it out perfectly.
One thing to remember when you pull the bobbin thread to the top each time you start quilting on a frame, use only one of the threads coming from the needle to pull it up. Just remove one of the threads, then pull and the bobbin thread will come right up. Tie off if you want.
When you finish stitching you will want to do the same thing. Tie off first if you want to, then take a full stitch with the Securing function on the handles. Remove one thread, and then pull with the other thread so you can see the bobbin thread. Now just cut the threads or manage them however you wish.
I decided to test a bit more and changed the needle to a Schmetz 130/705H ZWI 2.5/80 Universal Twin Needle. It did not take long for the thread to break because it was too large for the needle.
I then changed the thread to a So Fine #50/3, and when I did you can see in the picture above that I had a few problems. It is clear when the weight of the thread changed. Then the skipped stitches showed very plainly. I re-threaded, checked the tension, and still there were problems.
I then changed out the needle with the same size and brand of needle that I had just used. After checking T, T&N all was good! TT&N stands for Thread, Tension and Needle. Any time you are having stitching problems, checking that these three things are correct will go a long way toward solving the problems.
This goes to show you that sometimes even when you think the needle is good, it may not be, even if it is brand new. I continued to stitch all of the rest out with this same twin needle and the So Fine #50/3 thread.
I also tried a floral block design, and I really liked it, too. I stitched out the default size and then I enlarged the same design. Both were great.
Try using a twin needle with your BERNINA Q-matic Longarm Quilting Automation System on the frame with your BERNINA Longarm machine. You will be amazed at the results!