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Electronic needle positioning

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Eric Walton of Custom Canvas Alaska LLC, of Fairbanks, says that electronic needle positioning is paramount. In fact, he explains the importance of retrofitting your compound-feed walking foot machine for needle positioning. Did you know that a standard compound-feed walking foot sewing machine can be retrofitted to have needle positioning?

“How many times a day do you have to remove your hand from your work, move the hand wheel, confirm that the needle is all the way up or down with the hook in the appropriate position to turn the fabric or remove the fabric?” Walton asks. “With a tap of the foot pedal, the needle can be positioned up or down. When we stop sewing, we have the needle stop in the down position and have the hook just picking up the upper thread. This way, when we turn a corner, we don’t lose the stitch. Another advantage of having the needle stop in the down position is that when we back-tack, the needle will go back into the same holes (assuming your machine is set up to have the same stitch length forward and back, as it should). This helps prevent “tear on the dotted line” on clear vinyl; and you end up with a cleaner looking back-tack.”

Custom Canvas Alaska purchased two EFKA units (model AB62CV) in 2006. The unit mounts into the same holes used by a standard clutch motor. The hand wheel needs an additional post for the synchronizer to connect to, and a special bracket is required to orientate the synchronizer unit. “Once you get the coding down for the control box, it functions exceptionally well,” Walton says.

With a light toe-tap on the foot petal, you can have the machine do just one stitch. The needle starts in the down position and ends in the down position. No need to turn the hand wheel. You can keep both your hands on the fabric. At the end of sewing your seam, heal pressure lifts the needle while your knee raises the presser foot. Pull out the fabric and snip.

“Although these might sound like minor features, they are actually major time-saving features.”

Maura Keller is a freelance writer and author in Plymouth, Minn.

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