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Multi-Needle Monday | The Dreaded Error Message

Stitching grinds to a halt and the dreaded error message appears. Check upper and bobbin thread error message

Here’s my method for unearthing the problem. First, check the needle thread and make sure the needle is still threaded. Checking that needle is still threaded

Then take a look at the upper thread path and make sure the thread did not pop out of a tension disc or thread guide. If all is well above the needle, look below the fabric and open the bobbin case. Often, my problem is solved at this moment – the bobbin is empty! That’s a simple fix with a fresh bobbin. Bobbin

If the bobbin is not empty, then look at the bobbin case a bit more closely. Remove the bobbin and then brush the inside of the case. Empty bobbin case

Once it’s clean, take a business card or thin – VERY THIN – piece of plastic (no thicker than a standard business card) and slide it under the tension adjusting spring. Bobbin5


Often, lint or fibers get caught in the spring and it effects the tension on the bobbin thread. In fact, it’s a good idea to clean the tension adjusting spring every time you change bobbins.

Once it’s clean, reinsert the bobbin and check the stitches under the needle. Touch the needle advance key and go back to the last stitch that was laid down prior to the break. And believe it or not – those steps solve the problem – almost every time! These multi-needle machines are amazing.






  • Belinda Germain

    If those things do not work you should check under the needle plate for bits of thread in and around the knife and the bobbin area.

  • eileenroche

    Great tip, thank you Belinda.

  • Karen

    Be sure you DO NOT anything larger than a business card to clean the bobbin case…..when they go phooey it’s expensive and may take awhile if you have to order it. I use a dollar bill if I cannot find a suitable card or paper. He did touch lightly on the thread jumping from the tension area….has happened to me a couple times and it’s so time consuming to narrow it down.

  • Clarice

    Those “fixes” almost always work for me. Thank you, Clarice

  • Cathy

    Good tips – Hopefully it is just an empty bobbin.

  • Royce Zook

    These are very good tips and likely should be exercised on a regular basis. It may not keep you “safe” from having the experience but may reduce the frequency.

  • Shelly Christensen

    these have always helped me except on one of my needles #4 is very tempermental, what else I can check after these don’t stop it? I have rethreaded the needle, used different thread and sometimes it helps for a while but then starts up again…. I am puzzled!!!!

    • Royce Zook

      It may not be the answer but try replacing the #4 needle with a new one. Sometimes the needle is responsible for more problems than imagined.

  • Carolyn morgan

    I also suggest you purchase an extra bobbin case. I dropped mine and didn’t realize it was no longer round. I got the error message every time I loaded a new bobbin. The service tech at my dealer diagnosed my problem over the phone. I thought I had warped per-wound bobbins because they would drag when I pulled the thread at the start.! DUH!

    • joyce lockyer

      Good advice! I do not live near my dealer or service center so ordering a second bobbin case is a great idea.

      Thank you,

  • Eileen M

    I look at the last stitch to see if the bobbin thread has pulled to the top, a sure sign of an empty bobbin. Then I follow the above steps.

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