Long Stitches OH MY!

Posted by on March 11, 2011

When I quilt  I am experiencing long stitches when in Lizzie Stitch Mode. What could this be?

If you are experiencing long stitches in either direction this tells us you may have an encoder or connection issue.  You will need to check the encoders to insure they are spinning freely and making contact with the track.   If the encoders are moving freely and spinning in both directions and you are still experiencing the long stitches while quilting. This could indicate  a lose connector on the encoder or a lose plug connection at the power box. Depending on the age of your machine you will have either a 6 pin plug or a RJ 12 connection. Insure all connections are mated properly.

If you are still experiencing an issue. A simple test to determine which encoder or connection is causing the issue, is to turn on stitch regulator and move the machine front to back ONLY, then Left to right ONLY. The direction the machine does not stitch is the problem encoder or connection. Quilting in any circle or curve is not a proper test. To determine whether it is an encoder or cable disconnect cables at the encoder and swap connections by plugging the opposite cable into the other encoder. You should now have both cables connected to the opposite encoder. Run the Simple test again. If the long stitches change direction it is a cable. If it does not change direction it is a most likely an encoder.

Do not hesitate to contact your servicing TinLizzie18 dealer to assist with any troubleshooting.

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  1. Marie Schovajsa says:

    Where is the nearest TinLizzie dealer in the Sugar Land, TX 77478 area?

  2. How do you clean the encoders mine have like a black mark in the center and the back one will not spring back it’s tight and I have tried everything I’ve been told to do and still nothing. It keeps having large stitches and breaking the thread HELP

    • Sondra Reierson says:

      Hi Scarlett, I am forwarding your encoder issue to our technician Greg (email: Greg@TinLizzie18.com). He can help you with further diagnosis of what to check concerning your encoder.

  3. Becky says:

    my tin lizzie keeps popping up a error: Stitch controller not present. What do I need to check?

    • Kelley Nemitz says:

      Hi Becky… please call our tech department at 888-QUILT-18. We need to troubleshoot your issue. Thanks!

  4. Elizabeth Blouir says:

    I have had all kinds of problems with my Ansley 26. I have done nothing but call about repairs!!!!!

    • Kelley Nemitz says:

      Hi Elizabeth… so sorry to hear that you are having issues. We would love to help you! But we do need more information in order to troubleshoot. Please call 888-Quilt-18 and ask for our Service department. We will help you get to the bottom of what is going on with your machine.

  5. Toni Reimer says:

    I purchased my machine in October of 2015 and I’ve had some issues with the encoders, I’ve loosened and tightened the encoders, switched the cables and I’m still having skipped stitches back and forth but not side to side. I’ve cleaned them and my table is leveled. I’ve been using the manual mode to avoid these skipped stitches but sometimes I’d like to use the lizzie stitch or edge stitch. Plz help.

  6. Jill says:

    My upper carriage encoder spins will suddenly stop and it causes the machine to stop stitching. I have adjusted over and again. It is as if it jumps away from the track periodically. Any suggestions? Thanks

    • kelleyn says:

      Jill… we are going to start requesting that rather than comment on the blog, our TL18 users request service by clicking this link: http://tinlizzie18.com/service-and-support/request-service/. This will be a much faster, direct line to our service department. We don’t always get to blog comments right away and we want to be sure we get you back up and running as soon as possible. You can call 888-QUILT-18 and ask for Brian as well. Hoping this helps!

  7. Kristine Timm says:

    I am constantly having to fiddle with the connector from the y cable into the machine. It is loose and won’t stay in place. what can I do to hold it in place better?

    • kelleyn says:

      I’m sorry your connector is loose. Which model TinLizzie18 do you have? If you have an LS and it is a 6pin connector you can adjust the metal ring around the connection sight. If you have the “phone jack” style we might need to replace it. Please contact me at 888-784-5818 ext. 650 or email me at serviceca@tinlizzie18.com and we can go over the steps for your type of machine.

      Brian Fredenburgh
      888-784-5818 ext. 650

  8. Jennifer says:

    I have a Empress longarm and my needle up and down button will not work

    • kelleyn says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      I’m sorry your needle up/down button isn’t functioning properly. Is your Empress on a frame or is it the sitdown model? There are a few items in the machine that control the needle up/down. If you contact me at 888-784-5818 ext. 650 or email me at serviceca@tinlizzie18.com we can go over your options.

      Brian Fredenburgh
      888-784-5818 ext. 650

  9. Phyllis With says:

    You have helped me in the past but now I can not get my Lizzie stitch to stay on. When it is in Lizzie stitch mode and i press the on Button , it immediately goes off. I works in Manual but I am getting long stitches. With your help I glued the broken encoder, could this still be the problem.

    • kelleyn says:

      Hi Phyllis,

      I’m sorry you’re having continued problems with your machine stitching properly. I was hoping gluing your encoder would work but it doesn’t sound like it did. I think we’ve come to the point where we need to replace it. There are a few other questions I’d like to ask so we can make 100% sure the encoder is the issue. Please contact me at 888-784-5818 ext. 650 or email me at serviceca@tinlizzie18.com and I will get that part ordered for you.

      Brian Fredenburgh
      888-784-5818 ext. 650

  10. Sue Kuhn says:

    I need new cables for my encodes

  11. Mildred says:

    My poles will have tighten up. I place the quilt on the poles and tighten the poles but they can still be pulled. Is there someway I can tighten the inner parts. They seem to have loosen up over time. I tighten all the knobs, etc. but the quilt still rolls on the poles.


  12. Dana says:

    I purchased a Tin Lizzie Star 26 inch machine yesterday. The DSL encoder cables were not connected and there are no instructions for connecting them in the manual. Help!

    Thank you!


    • kelleyn says:

      Hi Dana… What is a Star 26? Where did you purchase this? TinLizzie18 does not have a model called Star 26. Please help answer these questions and we can try to help guide you in the right direction. Thanks!

  13. Carol Williams says:

    OK just messing with the cables into the controls got the lizzie stitch working. The encoder cables are flawed. Especially the cable going to the right controller.

  14. Carol Williams says:

    I purchased my tin lizzie in 2009. I recently purchased the rear handle bars with different controls than my original controls. the controls work fine in manual mode but my lizzie mode is only good for one stitch and it shuts off. What’s up with this? I think it’s the encoder cables also.

  15. Pat says:

    How do I clean the wheels of the stitch regulator without damaging them? I can clean the metal pipes but the wheels seem to need cleaning also.

  16. Chance says:

    I have a RAM. I am having problems with two things. 1. sunlight showing thru all holes when you hold up the quilt. 2. A pulling design on top of the quilt for each stitch going in same direction (horizontal) which looks like it pulls the grain. (more noticable with longer stitching)
    Any thoughts?

    • kelleyn says:

      How often does the needle get changed? When putting the needle in is it in all the way and straight?

  17. Dawn McKee says:

    I am happy to say that after I received my new machine (had to be replaced) I have not had any problems for quite some time!! So happy tin Lizzie took care of it and replaced the machine…I am now having trouble with what I believe are the encoder cables..I have talked to several other tin Lizzie owners and they all seem to have had the same issues with the cables going bad…is this something that you are working on? How long should they last and why do they seem to go out for everyone? Thanks in advance! Dawn

    • kelleyn says:

      Hi Dawn,

      Thanks for the question! Which unit do you currently have? The LS, DLS, or ESP? The plugs are a little different on each unit.

  18. Bonnie says:

    I have just replaced an encoder. But it is still skipping stitches and the needle seems to be going up and down slowly. I don’t know what else to check

  19. Judy says:

    Just finished setting up my new Ram 18 on the phoenix frame and set the machine to lizzie stitch according to the instructions. Pressed start and began moving the machine but nothing happens in either direction. It acts like neither encoder is communicating. In constant stitch mode the machine works great. Have checked cables and both encoders are rolling. Any ideas?

    • sabrina says:

      Judy, Please Call our Retail center 888-Quilt 18 so we may be able to walk you through the simple solution.

  20. Marilyn says:

    Im new to long arm quilting I have the tin Lizzie Ram .Having some of the same problems with skipped stitches and thread breaking . help

    • sabrina says:

      Marilyn, Please call our toll free number 888-Quilt18 one o our Instructors from the Our Retail and learning centers wil lbe happy to walk through solutions.

  21. Melinda says:

    So, now that I have determined that it is the encoder,what do I do? Just purchased the machine in November.

    • sabrina says:

      Melinda, You will need to make contact with your dealer to be able to order a new encoder under warranty.

  22. Sandy Jarvis says:

    One of my encoders stops rolling in one direction occasionaly. Skipped stiches of course. Any suggestions?

  23. Jim says:

    Is there a tool to make adjustment on the needle to hook pick of the thread on the Tin Lizzie 18. Thanks Jim

  24. Anna says:

    My machine all of a sudden won’t move. All it does is make a long beep sound that won’t stop.
    I have a high loft batting on this.

  25. Nancy Burch says:

    Thank you for your help. I was having so many problems with skipped stitches and when I adjusted the hopping foot it made all the difference in the world! I have been having trouble with thread breaking–my needle plate has taken a couple of good hits–but did not even have the thread break on an entire quilt. I did have to raise my foot higher than a dime–all the way to 15 cents–because my hopping foot does not hop very high.

  26. Sandra McAllister says:

    I am wondering what most people are using as far as stitches per inch? It seems like my stitches are not all the same. What is the best rule of thumb on stitches per inch.

    • sabrina says:

      Sandra, The Stitches per inch really is a perference but you will find most quilters prefer 10 stitches per inch!

      • Sandra McAllister says:

        Thank you. I will try that. If you get different sizes of stitches could it be due to the pattern you are using with the Shirley Stitcher?

      • sabrina says:

        Sandra, The patetrn you are running should not affect the stitch sizes. If you make a smaller pattern you may want to try useing more stitches per inch . Check your encoders for lent and make sure they are rolling correctly.

  27. jule legere says:

    Hi I am having many skipped stitches in manual mode. Have re-threaded, adjusted tension, changed needle. still going on

    • sabrina says:

      I worked with somebody on Saturday with a similar problem the hopping foot was to high. Move machine to where there is no fabric put needle in down position and place a dime under foot and make sure foot rests on top of dime there should be no gap between the top of the dime and the bottom of the foot.

      • Vicki L says:

        Please clarify… move the foot to where there is NO fabric? Wouldn’t the pressure foot be too low once it’s put back on the fabric/quilt by doing that? I thought we’d check the heighth of the pressure foot with the dime while the machine is still on the quilt, to allow for thicker/thinner batting etc.

    • Jule legere,

      You’ve probably all ready worked out the problem (as it’s been nearly six months) however, I was just (as in a few minutes ago) having the same problem. When I did a test scrap on the batting and backing I worked out that, even though it felt like I wasn’t moving any faster, I was, in reality speeding up a touch and therefore causing the machine to skip stitches. I sped the manual mode up a bit and slowed down and am now no longer having issues.

      I hope this helps you and any others with the same problem.

      Kind regards,

      ~ h

  28. karen brennan says:

    what are encoders? connections? just got my machine long stitches/skipped stitches

  29. Dawn McKee says:

    I will try contacting customer service, to try to trouble shoot. I have also tried that in the past…each time I have been told that the X and Y cables need to be replaced but my dealer here seems to disagree and nothing seems to helpp. I even brought this machine to the quilt expo in Wisconsin(8 hrs from my home) so that Greg could take a look at it…He had it for several weeks and then shipped it back to me…it worked for about 2 quilt tops then right back to the same problems… 🙁

  30. Dawn McKee says:

    I was having this issue with my quilts also and finally someone told me to try cleaning the rails that the machine slides on with rubbing alcohol…this helped tons!!! Don’t knos if there are any other “maintenance” type tips that would help, but I would appreciate knowing any other tricks!!! 🙂

  31. julie urosevich says:

    I have just discovered the website and learned that I have been loading my quilts wrong! I am in the process of relearning the process and have a question about my side supports (holding the quilt top roller and backing roller) – how high should they be and should they be close the same height as the take up roller bar so the quilt etc. is flat? In other words, should the take up roller and the quilt top roller be the same height at all times?

    • Dawn McKee says:

      I watched the tutorial and found I was loading my quilts different than what they show too…I tried to do it how they show on the video but just could not get it to work…just went back to how it works for me…wish someone from Tin Lizzie would actually reply to these threads…it is rather frustrating!!!

      • sabrina says:

        Dawn, There is many different ways to load the quilt. The most important is to find the way that works best for you, Thankyou for bringing this to our Attention I will be sure to write a blog on the many different ways of loading a quilt. TinLizzie18 Team

      • Dawn McKee says:

        so I cleaned my everything I can think of on the machine and I am still getting skipped stitches and uneven stiched while in lizzie stitch…I am so frustrated!!! Any ideas on what I can try?? I clean all of the wheels with alcohol like my dealer instructed and removed any spec of lint that I could find, I also changed the needle. PLEASE HELP!!

      • sabrina says:

        Dawn, Please contact our Service department so we can try troubleshooting the skipped stitches, 888-Quilt18 ( Toll Free) The TinLizzie18 Team

      • Load the quilt how it works for you. There are as many ways to load a quilt as there are quilters. Different frames have different loading options. My frame has the roller for the top UNDER the belly bar…so, my frame loads differently than the video. Because of that, I usually semi float my tops (I only attach the top to the backing/batting at the take up roller, but allow it and the batting to hang freely over the bar at the front of the machine. That way I can reach the bobbin area should I need to. I do a lot of King size quilts for family & customers…and on my 10ft frame…that quilt is end to end…so moving to the side is not much help. I don’t do pantos much because I like to have the top secured at both ends when working from the back. My old machine loaded much like the video shows, so having to float tops was a learning experience for me.

    • For Dawn:
      You will want the take up roller (goes through the machine bed) to be just above the bed of the machine. The rule of thumb (or fingertips) is to be able to just fit your fingertips between the bed of the machine and the bottom of the take up roller. This roller will need to be adjusted as you roll the quilt. the belly bar (roller closest to your belly at the front of the machine) should be at the height of the machine bed. You don’t usually have to readjust this bar, unless it slips below the level of the machine bed (loose brackets can allow it to slip if you lean on it).
      You also don’t want the quilt so tightly rolled that it’s like a drum. You should be able to push up from the underside of the quilt with your fingertips, and just be able to grab them with your other hand.
      A quilt rolled too tightly can cause skipped stitches & broken threads..the needle will flex in the unforgiving quilt & threads can rub.

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