Pfaff Grand Quilter..Solved. (Knock on Wood)

If you are a regular reader you know that I machine quilt my quilts on with a Pfaff Grand Quilter and Next Generation Frame.


I have lamented about problems I have had with thread breakage.  It has plagued and plagued and plagued me.  I have asked for help from online groups and have followed their advice.  I have begged for more advice.  Honestly, I would stitch five inches and the thread would break.  Sometimes it would be fine…other times AWFUL.  I started to take notes on each quilt I was working on…the size, the thread, the batting, everything I could think of.  I hoped no one could sell a machine this crappy…there HAD to be a solution.

I started pricing different machines but I could not justify spending more money on something that might be equally frustrating.  I began to replace some parts as people suggested…a new bobbin case, new throat plates, new clamps…new rails…the list goes on.  Nothing helped much.

Then one day I read a message on the Pfaff Grand Quilter Yahoo group I belong to.  The lady said that she raises the front bar.  WOW…I was so excited I ran upstairs to the machine and thought this could be it.  I don’t raise that front bar….

I got to my machine and investigated…..


WHAT?  I can’t raise the bar.  That lady must be talking about a different model.

My hubby came in and I dragged him up to look…He started talking about how he could “build something”  and attach it so the front bar could be raised.  Then spring planting came and he forgot all about it.

Then one Sunday I was up working on a quilt and he came up and was talking to me….I was again lamenting about thread breakage and how I thought there has to be something so that bar can raise….Why would there be measurement lines if the bar cannot raise?  We talked about new machines and then he hollered  STOP!  He asked if he could look at the frame.  After a minute or so he grabbed some tools and said he had an idea…..


While the quilt was on the frame he unscrewed some screws and raised the whole front…if you compare the two pictures you will see that the piece that has the word Pfaff on it is higher in the second photo.

I quilted the rest of the quilt….no thread breakage.  I was ready to sing and shout!  I wanted to tell everyone but I decided no….I have thought I fixed this problem before…and hadn’t.  I have since quilted THREE quilts on the frame….NO THREAD BREAKAGE!!

When I am working on a quilt, I raise the front bar AND the take up bar.  I now have no thread breakage problems.

Here is another view….


If the sides of your frame are not even with the front and back piece, you need to raise it up.  Along the sides there are several sets of holes that screws can go in…you need it to be in a higher set of screws.

I have heard of SO many people with this problem…please spread the word that this is a possible fix for thread breakage in your Pfaff Grand Quilter and Next Generation Frame.

42 thoughts on “Pfaff Grand Quilter..Solved. (Knock on Wood)”

  1. Denise from NY

    So glad you solved your thread breaking problem. Nothing worse then having problems when you are quilting. If your like me, I want the quilting to be as beautiful and perfect as possible and when he thread breaks…ugh! So glad your back up and running smoothly…by the way that’s a beautiful scrappy quilt on your machine!!

    1. I have been working on the thread breaking problem for days. I do have a better feel for my machine. I stumbled across your post. “I love you Jo” Thanks for be persistent. No more thread breaks!

  2. I know there is nothing more frustrating than thread breakage while quilting a top! I’m so glad it seems you found the fix!! Quilting will be so much more enjoyable now.

  3. Well, bless your DH for figuring it out. That little bit of info might help lots of other quilters with the same machine and frame. I have a Gammill Premier and am so thankful it works as well as it does…doesn’t seem to be picky about thread or anything like some machines I’ve read about. Hope your quilting will be stress free from now on.

  4. I had a similar problem with my Pfaff grandquilter on the Inspira frame and tried everything! Then I got the Inspira topstitching needles- size 16 (100) and I have quilted 12 quilt tops in the last few weeks and have a queen size Double Delight one on right now! Sure makes it more enjoyable when the thread isn’t breaking every little while!! Congrats!!

  5. I love how the quilters all share. I have had issues with my sewing machine and sadly when I write the company they tell me to go to ta dealer. My Yahoo groups are the ones who end up with the answers. I love my sewing machine even with my issues but very disappointed with the customer service. You would think the companies would want to help us so we will buy more machines in the future. Thank-you for your posts. One of these days I want to get an long arm.

  6. I have the 1200 pfaff grand quilter on the Inspira frame. It will sew fine and then acts like the thread in the bobbin catches or snags. There does not seem to be a burr on the bobbin case, no lint or threads hung up inside that I can fine. I can tug on the machine and it will come loose and sew again. It has been oiled, cleaned, adjusted, took off and checked but I still have the problem. Any suggestions to solve the problem.

  7. Bonnie Sikorski

    I have a Pfaff Grandquilter 18.8 and am using Invisafil thread in the needle and bobbin. My bobbin thread is continually breaking. Is it the tension on the needle or the tension on the bobbin case that is causing the problem?

  8. Pfaff Grand Quilter and Grace Frame (or maybe it is an Inspira). Regardless, my top thread is breaking constantly! I tried the tip of raising the front rail which seemed like a great idea because. I was 3/4 finished with a 99×110 quilt.

    Still thread breaking!!! So now I noticed that the plastic track under the cart that the machine rides on is cracked. Could this be the cause of my problem?

    Thanks for any help in advance.

  9. I have a 18.8 Pfaff long arm and was half way thru my lap quilt when the machine started to give out a very loud and high pitch stretching noise I immediately paused it I have a pfaff quilt artist. The stretching is coming from the back where belt is. I checked the belt it turns for a while than stops a stretches….Please help I live in a small town and no service repair companies around here.

  10. I have a Pfaff Grand Quilter on a Grace Next Generation Frame and my machine isn’t moving smoothly along the quilt frame. It’s very jerky and hard to move up/down or left right for stippling. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  11. I bought a used INSPIRA QUILTING FRAME for the Pfaff GrandQuilter, as well as the machine, and set it up. I am wondering if I would be able to use a Qbot version 2 on this machine with this frame? And if so, does it take special cables and/or wires? Any advice or help would be welcome! Thank you!

  12. I was having the same problem for 20 days. Tried everything…was out of options and the I thought to change the foot.. I had purchased a ruler foot. It was my third quilt with the foot. Once the old foot was back on no more problems. I have contacted the manufacturer of the expensive ruler foot to see if they have an idea of what was wrong.

  13. Christel Strifler

    Thank you so very much, I tried this and OMG is worked so well only had to tighten the thread tension. Now I love my machine and promised it I would not kill it. Its great when you find a solution that seems so simple as the fabric needs to feed evenly and be level with the sewing surface and not pull it down, which is something I follow when quilting on my regular machine so why did I not think is should be the same on the quilter. Again Thanks.

  14. I am looking at purchasing a Pfaff 18.8 with Quilt Artist. It is located 5 hours from my house – the current owner of two years bought it used (actual age unknown) has never used the QA or the stitch regulator. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this machine – please tell me, would you buy this machine for $6,000?

    1. No. I wouldn’t. There’s a reason they all are selling it. Also, after my experience with my Grand Quilter I’ll say this. I cried often over my machine. The tread often broke for no reason. I would go three inches and it would break..start again, break again. I personally would only buy from a company whose specialty is long arms. I have an APQS now. I love mine. The reason I bought it is because two bloggers that I know who quilt a lot have them. Two of the local quilt shops have them. There is a dealer 1 1/2 hours from my house. A lady in my area has a quilt machine rental business and she has ALL APQS machines. I would also consider a Gammill or Nolting. These companies specialize in long arm machines. I know that most every sewing machine company has a long machine now…Bernina, Pfaff, Baby Lock and the like, but why buy from a company that doesn’t specialize in long arms? I have had AMAZING service from APQS. You can call and get a refurbished machine from them. That’s what I have…I’ve had my machine for about 4 years now. I’ve never had a problem.

  15. I did 2 quilts on my Pfaff grand quilter 1200 on a Bernina frame (Grace?). They went great. Then it sat for months (too many other things going on). I put a quilt in today and it is not working. The tension is not right, and I never changed it. I cleaned, oiled, and changed the needle before starting. The stitches are too big, the thread is tangling up on the bottom of the quilt. Help!!!!

    1. I am so sorry this is happening to you. It is SO-SO frustrating. I had troubles like this and ended up moving on to getting a ApQS Millennium. Sorry I can’t help.

  16. I have a Pfaff Grand Quilter. I haven’t use it for several months. Today when I put a quilt on, the thread cutter worked fine for a while, now it won’t cut at all. Help!!! I have been very frustrated with this machine.

    1. Hi. I am so sorry that you are having this problem. I too was plagued with problem with my Pfaff Grand Quilter. It was a miserable machine to work with. I have no idea how to help other than to tell you this. Take the machine off the frame and used it for piecing. It is an AMAZING machine for piecing. Buy a new machine for quilting or pay to have your quilts quilted. I ended up purchasing a APQS Millennium. I haven’t had a single day of trouble since.

  17. Thank you so much for posting this fix!! I was experiencing the same problem with my Pfaff Grand Quilter!! I would try to loosen the top thread tension to fix the thread breakage and then my stitches would be horrible. When I would try to tighten the top thread tension again to fix the stitches, the thread would break! Ugh! That is until I read this post. After I lifted the front of the frame, I haven’t had a single problem. Again, I really can’t thank you enough. I don’t have the money to just go buy another machine, so this was a lifesaver!

  18. I bought a slightly used Pfaff grand quilter 1200 with an inspira frame. My top thread kept bunching up on the bottom of my quilts. So frustrating. I called a repairman who came to my house to fix it last week. He ended up taking the machine home and the timing was off so he fixed it that evening. I brought it home and almost a week put the machine back on the frame and tried to quilt. Now the top thread keeps breaking. It has been oiled, re-threaded multiple times, needle changed, needless to say I am about fed up although I did find a piece to the thread tension unit laying on a stand beside where the machine was when the repairman first worked on it. I think he left a piece out and that may be my problem. I so want this to work out. Feeling frustrated.

    1. I’m sorry this happened. I remember the frustration. This is why I ended up purchasing a refurbished APQS machine from the company. I haven’t had a stitch of problems since.

  19. I have a Pfaff 18.8 Quilt Magician. I am having problems with skipped stitches when the machine stitches to the back. Side to side and front stitch fine. And now the thread is fraying and breaking. The lady I bought it from came over to help me trouble shoot and we had no luck. I did bring it in to be looked at and the timing is fine. Any suggestions?

    1. I no longer have mine for the exact same reasons. I had skipping stitches and fraying thread. It was a nightmare. I have gone on a purchased an APQS Millenium. I haven’t had a single problem in the 4 or so years I’ve owned it.

  20. Good Morning, I am hoping you can add a suggestion or help for me.
    I have a Pfaff Grand Quilter and the exact table. I am trying to attached a Pfaff Quilt Artist to the Pfaff Grant Quilter and using the same table you have. Seems the carriage is too short for the attachment. Do you have any suggestion, does the long arm table have a longer carriage available. Do you use a electronic quilter with your frame. Thank you for your help.

    1. I HATED this set up. All I had was headaches. I didn’t have any “extras”..only machine and frame. I cried all the time over thread breakage. I ditched it and bought a APQS Millennium.

  21. Siena Van Brabant

    It’s been so long since I used my machine. It was working the last time I used it (three years ago), but now when I turn on the power on the Grand Quilter and Black Box, my machine starts sewing without me. I can’t get it to stop! No matter which buttons I press. Then I remembered there was an order as to which power to turn on first. Was it the Grand Quilter? Was it the Black Box? I can’t remember. I have tried both and it doesn’t seem to matter. No machine quilting happening in my house. The local quilt shop took the control boxes home that fit on the handle bars, and could not find a problem with them. He has ordered new ones anyway to see if they do end up being the cause. At $300 CDN each one (left and right) I’m torn between wanting it to be the problem, and quilting again, and hoping it isn’t the problem but then what else could it be. Anyone else have a suggestion?

  22. Cathy Kitterman

    I have a Pfaff Grand quilter on an Inspira Frame. I took the machine in for service and asked them to set everything up for me to quilt. His attached fabric with sewing looked Wonderful however when I use the machine I get a couple of stitches in and the needle breaks. Any idea why this is happening??

  23. I also have a Pfaff Grand Quilter 18.8 – it has been nothing but trouble since I got it. The store where I bought it has been absolutely no help – really poor customer service. When I first turn the it on using the stop/start button it will quilt. Then he use the stop/start button to stop it and then when I got to start it again using the stop/start button it won’t start – I have to use the wheel turning it about 2 times and then the machine starts. Any ideas what this is about?? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Wishing now I would have done more research and purchased a different system.

    1. I was so frustrated with mine that I traded it in for an APQS Millenium. I got mine refurbished from the company. I HIGHLY recommend them. I took my machine off the frame and use it for piecing. There is not other machine that is as fast and a work horse as that machine…just wasn’t meant to be a mid-arm quilting machine. Sorry I don’t have other advice. My husband got so tired of me crying over the machine.

  24. I have a Pfaff Grand Quilter with no problems. Got it used (lots less $$), and it has Quilt Artist. I am wondering how one can get more patterns added to the Quilt Artist.

  25. I have the Pfaff hobby 1200 on an inspira frame. It was gifted to me. I have had problems trying to get the threads to catch properly. I just had it adjusted, cleaned etc. a second time. Seems the bobbin thread isn’t catching properly. Has anyone had this type of problem?

      1. Mary Armstrong

        I have the Pfaff Gand Quilter, and it is supposed to work with the Butler EZ quilt software. We decided to “upgrade” to the 10 inch android tablet and get an upgrade for the software. What a disaster! It was supposed to take 2 weeks to send the black box and get the software upgraded and returned to us. After many, many emails & phone calls, they finally sent it back to us. It didn’t work. So far, it’s been 3 months with no working longarm.

        Talk about frustrating. I can use the Pfaff longarm for freehand work, which I hate. I love to use the software to make those perfect designs. Boohoo! Still working on the upgrade.

  26. Rachel Gillespie

    I have the Pfaff Grand Quilter 1200 – I also have fraying + breaking top thread when I FMQ….
    It is an exercise in frustration.
    I have had the machine serviced, cleaned and overhauled – still frays and breaks thread. Somehow the tension seems to be off no matter what I do.
    I don’t quilt with a frame but would like to try to up my game.
    I love the creativity of FMQ but when it all goes wrong (aka machine woes) it just kills any joy!

    Does anyone have any solutions please?
    I am seriously looking at replacing the machine with a new model/ upgrade.
    I am probably unable to purchase a APQS as I live in Australia.

    I appreciate any input to resolve my sewing issues.

  27. Pingback: Blast from the Past: June 2011 | Jo's Country Junction

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