Well, this is just driving me nuts.  I am shocked at what I was told from an employee at a Sew and Vac store where I sent my Janome 4120 for repair.  I have been quilting (STD) my daughter's lap quilt and once I changed the color of the thread for the top of the quilt I started getting thread up on top from the bobbin.  It was sewing beautifully when I was in the darker shades, and I was using Sulky on top.

I changed to Gutterman for a lavender color and bingo - small amounts of thread (red) are visible on the top.  When I spoke with this woman, she told me that was inevitable and once I washed the quilt the fabric would shrink a little and you wouldn't see the red.  She also told me that I needed a light weight thread on top - I'm just a little confused.  I did everything to try to correct this, and when I couldn't I sent it to the repair department.  She said there probably isn't anything wrong with it.

So - what type of thread do you all use, top and bottom.  I can't believe she told me seeing the bobbin thread was normal.  What do you think? 

Thanks, Marcia

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the supirior thread website has lots of information re: threads, needles etc ..how and when to use. was reading there the other day. i don't use their thread, friend does & won't use anything else. what you are discussing is a common issue w using one color on top, another on bottom. i looked at and tried out a long arm machine at a show few years ago. the main selling point was the fact that regardless of needle or thread or thread type/size, there would be no "salt & pepper" effect. & there wasn't. had intended to finally take the plung and purchase a long arm system...then reality set in...there is not a room in my house, not even the basement that would allow me and the machine in at the same time. so... but try some research at


there is good info here.

Hi - thanks so much for your reply - what an interesting table of threads, usage and needle sizes. But what did you do with your long arm system?  buy another house or return it?

Merry Christmas, Marcia

i wanted to get it...but didn't after coming home and comaparing what i have for space and how big the set-up i tested out at the quilt show. and it only had the medium rails...i would want the larger also...so...and all the work i have into this house...not selling it till i have had time to finish everything and enjoy it for a while...then sell...& RENT!!! lollollol

glad you found that all interesting. afraid i don't get into it that much. the only thing i have changed over the years is to use reg wt thread in the bobbin and the 30 wt top. does help a bit w the two color thing you don't like. i don't like the look either. but i have to say i agree w the clerk, it is not your machine, or your technique. i also adjust the bobbin tension so that it is looser..flows better and the top doesn't seem to show on back as readily. i don't know about the part about problem dissappears after washing. i also tried mono, but don't like the way it catches the light. so don't use it. i also just use a reg sz 14 quilters meedle. my machine guru says doesn't make a diff...any sz14 or 16 needle will work fine. but - i read an article few years ago in a q mag about needles for diff things and it said that the quilting needles have a "channel" from point up the needle shaft that allows for freer thread movement and less fraying as it feeds. so...i use quilting needles for machine quilting. good luck...and this is a great discussion topic..i hope you let us know what you try...what works..what doesn't. the wonderful part about this site is all the tips, ideas..leads like the video idea fr patbruck..

I'm glad you posted again - thanks for the info.  Now get this.  I took my machine to the repair dept. where I bought it (have had it 9 mo.s).  They had it for 4 days, cleaned everything, reset all the settings to factory specs etc.  When I got it back, they had a piece of fabric in the machine with stitches showing 2 different tension settings.  Geez - they both had the red eyelashes from the bobbin thread.  So I decided I would try invisible thread - it works much better but is a nightmare to get used to.  It has wrapped around the screw for my needle, has wrapped on the thread spool holder.  I sure have myself in a bind trying to get this quilt finished by Christmas.  Oh well, I'll just wrap it up, and take it back after my daughter sees it.  I thank all of you for your information - and I will just poke along.

Marcia,you shouldn't have any eyelashes,don't understand what's going on.Tell me a little bit more as I am going to my sew and vac tomorrow and will ask them what they think.I too have a Janome 9500.Is your machine Janome 4120 or Janome QDC?


Hi Pat:  I have the Janome 4120QDC, purchased last spring.  I am using red bobbin thread (Gutterman) and had Sulky on top.  All went well for the about 1/3rd of the quilt and then whammo - red started coming up on the top.  I did everything I could think of, to no avail, and then the repair department checked it out - see my story about that in my post to Rogue Quilter.  I have now switched to Sulky invisible thread on top and the red is still there, but not as bad as with regular thread.  They just basically said you need the same color of thread top and bottom.  And I am using my walking foot - however, this is even happening with utility foot and straight stitching for piecing.  I sure thought you could use different colored threads at the same time with no problem.  Just wondering too if the 4120 isn't that good of a machine - will be really upset if I find that out, don't see any gals using that machine on the Janome Forum.  Thanks for your questions Pat.

I just went out and tried moving the tension on my top thread.MY regular sewing is set at 4,is that what yours is? When I quilt I lengthen my stitch to 3.5. Sewing stitches were good,I then increased the tension and the eyelashes started show up.Just try to loosen your top tension to 3 and see what happens,I have never messed with my bobbin.

My normal setting is 4 and the bobbin tension is 6 - I now have the top tension at 2 and the bobbin at 5 and I still get a little red, but not as badly as with regular thread - using the invisible by Sulky.  It also made no difference if I used a Sulky 40 wt. on top, as was suggested by one of the employees.  Will be interesting to see what you are told today at your store. Also, when I tried the experiment with the bobbin, holding it in my hand, as was shown in the video - the bobbin case is so big that I couldn't keep the thread in it when trying to do the lifting test. Interesting.

Hi Marcia,just got back from sew and vac and told them about your problem,you're not going to like what I tell you they said.First you need to use the same thread in bottom and top,can be different colors,but same weight.They have had a problem with this Janome4120QDC.The problem is with the bobbin.They recommend you contact Janome and tell them what's going on.Also they do not recommend using Sulky thread,they have discontinued selling it.Not good stuff.Sorry I don't have better news for you but now that you know what's going on maybe you can have it fixed.I have a long-arm I was having problems with and after 3 trips to sew and vac to have it fixed,and by the way the guy that works on machines is very good,but he couldn't fix it,I called Janome and they had me send my machine back to them,got it back and now it works great.That's probably what you will have to do,send your machine to them.

Ah, geez - thanks Pat for the information.  I tried the same thread top and bottom, but no luck with that either. So, I called the store with the info you sent and they said that since it was under warranty the repair dept.  would have to be the one to contact Janome directly.  The gal on the phone couldn't believe that they had previously said I had to use the same color in bobbin as on top -she said "they told you that?"  I just have a gut feeling this is going to turn into a big run around for me, will keep you posted.  Thanks for all your help and interest in my problem.  Marcia

Hi Pat - since you also have a Janome, perhaps you can help me with this.

What setting do you use for a 1/4" inch seam and a scant 1/4. The gal that gave me a lesson on it told me the setting at 4.5 is a scant and guess 4 is regular.  She also told me the factory setting of 3.5 is supposed to be the quarter inch seam, but it is too wide.  Just curious.  Machine is fine, but when I did the letters for the label, I stopped filling in the "o" letter.  Don't know what is up with that.  Marcia

Hi Marcia,My Janome 9500 and I also have an Elna which is a Janome made machine,my Elna is set up at 3.5 but your teacher is right when she says to set it at 4.5,this is a scant less than 1/4 inch.Sometimes I will use my walking foot instead on 1/4 foot and for this I set it at 6.0,just put the right edge of foot on edge of material.The best thing to do is do a sample using the settings,I make a line with marker then sew and then take ruler and see how wide your sean us.I hope you're not getting any eyelashes on your quilt now,the last you posted I believe you said there was a little,if that's the case I would not accept what they told you,should  not be getting eyelash at all.


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