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Help is Just a Photo Away


Recently, I installed the cutwork upgrade on my Brother Entrepreneur. This isn’t something you pop into the side of the machine, select an icon and say OK.  No, this is a bit more involved because there’s the machine upgrade, the installation of the cutwork knives (needles) and the PE-Design NEXT upgrade. The upgrade kit comes with excellent instructions so I felt confident I could pull it off. And I did, or so I thought.

Once the machine was upgraded, I placed the included spacer under the needle plate which involved taking the plate off, inserting the spacer and reattaching the needle plate.  Now I was off to digitize my design. I followed the manual’s instructions and stitched color 1, an outline of the cutwork shape. Once the trimmer was activated, a harrowing sound belched out of the machine and an error appeared on the screen: Trimming error. Uh? The machine was locked, I couldn’t do anything. So, I called my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno. Surely, she would know what to do. She has three of these machines and runs them 5 days a week. Are you ready for this? She HAS NEVER encountered this problem. I almost hung up on her. You know how sisters are – you often think your sister’s life is way better than your own and this was just one more example of how flawlessly she lives. Oh wait, this blog isn’t about sister rivalry. Sorry – back to the upgrade – I was desperate…deadlines looming ahead, I was starting to freak out.

I Googled the problem and found a quick video explaining it’s probably just a thread wrapped around the cutter.  So I took off the needle plate, looked deep into the bobbin area, and found nothing. Clean as a whistle! Now what? Marie calls back, she still doesn’t have an answer but she does have a suggestion. She says; call our buddy Scott Goodman aka Great Scott.


I hesitated. I hate to bother busy people with technical questions. But really, I was in a jam. Scotty quickly listened to my dilemma and said to text him a photo of the needle plate area. He would in return send me a photo of a properly-working needle plate area. We did, and compared notes.  



It seems when I installed the cutwork spacer, I loosened a screw that I never should have touched. The lesson here people!

With Scott’s close-up photo on my phone (oh my, how amazing is that?), I stood at my machine and saw the cutter – the blade on the right – was out of position.  I just loosened the screw, set the blade in the right position, and tightened the screw and Voila! It worked!  Three lessons I learned:

  1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions verbatim.
  2. Cameras on cell phones are worth every penny.
  3. Having a problem past regular business hours in your town can be overcome if you have a friend in another time zone – like Pacific Time!  Even though I was struggling at 6:00 PM in Dallas, my friend Scotty in Los Angeles hadn’t quite finished his working day!

By the way, I learned quite a bit about cutwork which I’ll share with you in the upcoming weeks. Fashion_1-0001


Here’s your assignment this week:

Oh the stories we could tell! Leave us a comment on your oddball embroidery problem and solution if you found one. One comment will win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website. Thank you for visiting Eileen’s blog.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Summer is almost here! Leave us a comment about your plans for summer vacation and tell us if they involve embroidery. One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons written by Eileen Roche! Eileen demystifies embroidery machines and tools, designs, placement, hooping, stitching and finishing in easy to understand segments. It’s a great book for beginners or seasoned embroiderers alike. Good luck and thank you for reading!

And the winner is…“For my vacation I plan to spend a long four day weekend hold up in my sewing room mastering the beginner steps of machine embroidery! I am terrified of trying a project on my own. I have tried two workshops but I felt I was out of my league and was totally lost. I had a hard time keeping up with everyone. So, I will work with myself! Good Luck me….” – Rita R.

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  • Roberta

    My oddball problem is with my embroidery software. I have Viking 4D embroidery extra that works fine to put the designs on a stick to transfer to the machine. But the machine won’t link up to my computer with the usb cord, and no updates can be done because it won’t recognize the machine. I have tried all kinds of fixes recomended from various websites, but nothing seems to work so far. I guess I just need to carve out a couple hours to work with someone over the phone at Viking.

    • Mary Haggenmaker

      What about your dealer where you bought the mschine? Possibly if you are using a laptop that communicates you could just send it to your machine from that.

      • Casie Williams

        Have you tried the Husqvarna Viking Yahoo groups? There’s one for Viking Designer Gems (Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds, etc.) and others for older machines. They have wonderful step by step instructions in their databases that will solve just about any problem you’re having with your machine.

    • Cindy S

      I had the same problem not once but twice. In total I spent over 4 hours on the phone with VSM. Know I have it down pat and fix it myself. If you call them (phone on VSM website) they’ll help you or give me a shot.

  • Leora B

    I love taking things apart, and think I can fix anything. This time I was lucky, it just needed cleaning.
    My top thead was breaking alot, and I decided to pull the top cover off of my babylock ellisimo… what an intricate pieace of machinery..(wow)lots of lint and dust inside, while putting it back together I forgot a screw and had to take it all apart again and try to remember where the screw went that I forgot.. luckly everything turned out ok and my top thread stopped breaking..

  • Karin

    My beloved Babylock came to me used, and it had the annoying and disturbing trait of turning itself off, no matter if I was done or not. It didn’t actually turn itself OFF, it just stopped sewing, and none of the button features worked. No auto-thread, no thread cutting, no presser foot up or down..nuthin. Turning it off and back on didn’t reset anything either. And it was intermittent, no less.

    After a couple of different repair techs looked at it (to the tune of a few hundred dollars and 4 weeks total), I finally figured out the possible causes. The foot pedal, the foot pedal cord, the foot pedal receiving plug, or possibly, whatever smart board controlled the foot pedal.

    We took a chance and purchased a brand new foot pedal. Of course, it had to be ordered and took an agonizing 4 weeks to arrive….but once I plugged that puppy in, my machine’s been singing ever since. Sure wish I hadn’t waited 2 years to take that gamble!

  • Karon L. Gregory

    Well i’m on my first project of the spring/summer season. It has bikini’s and flip flops in my project. It is a quilt that i will be making purely just for novelty. With machine embroidery ,buttons and beeds. I just had my machine serviced. It need a little tune-up, and away i go.I have been sewing all my life. Bought my first embroidery machine Designer 1 in 02 and have been putting embriodery on a lot of things.

  • Martha Weingard

    This is very funny but have replaced thread pressure bar, I know a new meaning to a picture is worth 1000 words. Especially when your support is on the opposite coast!,

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    I had a problem with frayed and breaking thread on my Deigner Diamond. I took the item I was trying to emboider on to my dealership. This was a design that I had digitized. He sat down on at a Diamond that is used in a class and had the same problem. He worked with different backings and needles and finally solved my problem. I needed 2 layers of bavking and a 120 needle. He said the design was definitely not the problem and I breathed a sigh of relief.

  • Virginia

    Most of the oddball problems with our machines are just user error. We all panic when we are first learning and think it is more of a problem then what it is. All of us learn by our experiences.

  • Beth R

    I sometimes have problems with thread nests when trying to do FSL – very annoying, but I’ve found that if I clean my machine after each project, I don’t get the jams. Gotta remember!

  • Sherrie Lilly

    I am finishing up an Anita Goodesign Tree of Life Quilt, A San Francisco Stithing Mystery project, and just started the Hoopsisters Summer Mystery Quilt. It is tough trying to keep the materials and threads for all of the different projects straight but I will figure it out.

  • Frances Powell

    I have only had my 6 needle for about a month, so luckily I have not had any problems with my machine (knock on wood). I have, however, managed to sew a sundress together that I was embroidering my granddaughter’s name on. Luckily, I was able to buy another one just like it. Operator error always seems to be what gives me trouble. Lol.

  • Donna G.

    My problems usually begin when I’m in too much of a hurry. Not threading the machine properly, not using the correct stabilizer and catching fabric under the hoop have taught me to slow down and enjoy what I’m doing!

  • Terrie Underwood

    I was working with a friend on her 10 needle machine. She phoned me in a panic. Her machine would not recognize her design, and would only show one tiny hoop to be used. After checking the design for any outlying stitches, recalibrating the machine, centering everything, and finally turning it off and back on, the problem still existed. Just for grins I asked her to reach back and tighten the large screws that hold the embroidery hoop arm on. One screw was not tight, thus the hoop was not being recognized. Next time I’ll look at that first!

  • Jenn

    My oddball embroidery problem – really probably something everyone experiences – too much work work work and not enough time to play play play with my embroidery machine. The solution? – Sometime in the future retirement! :).

  • Wanda Leffingwell

    My Problem was resigning Applique, Well I thought my software would know if it was an applique, well after giving it so much trial work, I figured out it only resized the first layer placement, It was larger than the tack down and sating stitch! So I decided to skip the placement and go right on with tack down! Could have been a mess had I ot figured this out on my own!

  • le floch, anne

    Will get all my embroidery done before hand, and will do the sewing/stuffing of my summmer project on site, as I will have ‘only’ a sewing machine on hand!

  • Laurene Shewan

    My machine seems to prefer specific brands of thread. Otherwise, it does nasty things. I once embroidered a tote bag (for a gift) and halfway through, had a traffic jam. I removed it from the machine, clipped the threads and told her it was a “free form” design (not the bird inside a heart like it was suppose to be! Be flexible!

  • Nancy Weber

    Lately an issue has developed with the cutter on my Designer Diamond. The thread keeps getting caught underneath whenever the cutter is employed. This all started when I moved the cutter to clean out any leftover threads. Guess the fix is not to move the cutter by hand! Hugs.

  • Kim H

    I made the mistake of walking away from my machine one day while it was embroidering a lace design. I didn’t go far and was within earshot of the familiar humming as it sewed away. The machine never missed a beat so I assumed everything was okay. When I walked back to the machine, I discovered that the needle had popped out and was sticking up in the middle of the work. It was stuck in one position–halfway into the throat plate and half way into the work. The machine kept working away because the needle was still threaded! The machine pounded away over and over into the same spot hitting the orphaned needle at every beat and it ripped a giant hole in the middle of the lace work. Lessons learned, tighten the needle screw a pinch before starting a new project.

  • judy williamson

    One of the main errors I encounter is when I use my 1 needle machine for sewing then go back to embroidery,I forget to reset my pressure foot. In changing the feet on my machine, I have to manually raise and lower the pressure foot. I always leave it in the wrong position and when I begin to embroider, my machine won’t work. Of course, I panic! After checking everything, I remember to check the pressure foot and low and behold, that is the problem.

  • Carol Seavitt

    Your story made me LOL because I have all the ‘stuff’ for cutwork but not sure I want to tackle this new project yet. Glad you resolved the problem Eileen. With me it was the thread breaking on the Diamond and all I did was call my stitching mom! She told me to take the thread off the pedestal; set it by the machine’s screen — and thread as usual thru the pedestal and as the instructions indicate. Viola’ — problem solved with having to take the machine into the dealer:)

  • Karen R.

    My problem was with my 6 needle BMP9. I could never put the bobbin in correctly. I purchased the magna-glide magnetic core bobbins and now I know that the magnet tip goes into the bobbin case. No more problems!
    P.S. Eileen, I had so much fun at the Stitching Sisters event at Moore’s. I really learned a lot! Can’t wait to get a class from you on Craftsy.

  • Joanne Banko

    Thanks for sharing the story Eileen! A great sister and a good friend . . . what more could you ask for?!?!? And yes, we all have a few screws loose from time to time:-) Can’t wait to see your creative cutwork results.

  • Clem

    I was making a quilt and I did not really get good 1/4inch seams. I bought a 1/4 inch foot. Then I moved across country. (Washington to Ohio) I did some embroidery work for a friend. I went back to the quilt and it skipped so many stitches… Oh My!! Found a local dealer. They asked for a regular foot, plug, sample of problem, etc. They could not duplicate the problem. They even embroidered a bunch of design…. all perfect. Brought it home, fixed a girl’s homecoming dress and all was well. Went back to working on my quilt…. AGAIN problem!! very frustrating. took it back… they could not find anything wrong!!! ARRRGGG. Then it hit me. The 1/4 inch foot. Really? Could it be? I bought a new one without the flange. IT Worked!!! I could not believe it!!! The foot was flawed!. Now all is good. The bad news? I have not had time to get back to the quilt!!!. Oh well! Soon, very soon… lol 😉

  • Greta Kanegae

    So far my biggest problem was trying to figure out how to thread the Entrepreneur! Up until I bought it, I only had a one thread machine which was relatively easy to thread. It took me about 2 hours to get it done which included trying to do a sew-out and getting error after error… finally figured out how to thread it correctly by getting my magnifying glass out and studying the pictures… Bessie has sewn like a dream ever since

  • Nancy

    I was having thread breakage on one specific needle on my BabyLock BMP 6-needle machine. I tried rethreading, changing thread, changing needles, everything. No change. Every time I restarted the design, when it got to that needle, the thread would break. I finally changed the position of that color to a different needle to finish the project. After the pressure of the project was off my shoulders, I could think more clearly!
    Then I decided on a hunch to “floss” the tension discs for that needle. It worked! No more thread breakage.

  • Tamra Botkin

    I’ve at times thought I know more than the directions…like not test embroider on sample fabric and not print the motif to center properly. Why do I need to be humbled over and over?

  • carol

    Talk about being humbled! I had just taken my new pride and joy home and decided to give it a whirl as I was very well accounted with that brand of sewing machine (this one had more features on it than my old friend). I pluged it in and was ready to sew but discovered it to be making a strange whirling noise. I called my husband and ask his opinion as to what this noise could be. Since we could not figure out what it was I immediately called my dealer and ask just what the problem could be. The first response from the dealer was is the bobbin winder running? Well it was!!! Talk about being embarrassed and humbled!!!!!!

  • Kim M Harrington

    I had a strange problem when I got my first embroidery machine. I was always having trouble with the tension and thread looping either at the top or at the bottom. Playing with the tension didn’t help at all. I decided to try using a thread stand when I did any embroidery and go figure, all the problems went away! Weird or what!!

  • Phylis Wright

    My machine kept breaking thread and then when it did sew it formed some strange loops on the bottom. To the shop we went,it worked perfectly up there. Got home the same problem, finally made a bird’s nest in the bobbin area. Took the needle plate off and discovered that my needle plate had a large crack/break between the spaces for feed dogs. A new needle plate corrected the problem.

  • Ada Hale

    How about those “Angels”…I embroider the Chriswell angels for a friend who uses them for get well cards. I do a package full and mail them off, but while my machine was humming away I looked at the angel appearing in the hoop and it looked kind of skinny, so stopped the machine and discovered that my thread had shreaded for over a yard…Pulled the hoop, changed the needle, restarted the pattern way back, and it did sew out fairly well, but not as pleasing…SO, packed up my machine and took it into my Moores sewing shop…Have it back home now, and ready to sew, but can’t set it up, as after the counter was empty, it mysteriously became piled up with other sewiing stuff…”No Pictures Of This Mess”…
    The Angel cards are waiting for their Angels, so must get to the cleaning and sewing…My summer is all laid out for me…Angels, and UFO to finish…

  • Colleen Gnehm

    just purchased a new sewing table, so the summer is going to be spent setting up and organizing my sewing room. Can’t wait to have everything put back in order so I can find it.

  • Karen Roop

    Hi Eileen,
    I was so excited to see that I won the $25 gift certificate! Can you email me and tell me how I can redeem it?
    Thank’s a bunch.
    Karen Roop

  • denise

    I am so excited to find this! I have this exact problem. I took it off and cleaned it. I didn’t know how it was suppose to look. It looks just like your bad photo! I am off to fix it now! You don’t know how much I appreciate this. Thank you, Denise

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  • Sandi

    I have a babylock enterprise and bought the cutwork upgrade. I have Floriani and 6D software. I digitized my design incorporating cutwork. But, when I save the design in .pes v9, and then put the design in the machine, it doesn’t recognize the cutwork steps so it skips my cutwork needles 1 – 4 and goes directly to needles 5 through 10. Any suggestions?

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