With the help of the Stashbuster's group on Yahoo, I was able to fix the sewing machine problems. Seems it was a small burr on the inside of the hole where the needle goes. If your sewing machine or quilting machine is shredding your thread, try this. Stick a pin in the hole of the sewing plate throat cover. Use the pin to feel around inside the hole to see if there is a rough spot. If there is, you most likely have a burr where the thread gets caught. If you are only using the machine for sewing, the needle most likely will never catch on the burr, but with machine quilting, when you move the quilt or the machine, the needle gets distorted a little and the thread touches the sides of the hole. When this happens, the thread catches on the little sharp pieces of metal and tears.
I went to the hardware store and got a very small file set. It is called a needle file set, used for woodworking. I used the one that looks like a skewer and pushed it through the hole and twisted it back and forth a few times.
Then, I used the very fine sandpaper. This is supposed to be used to sand cars. Silly men. It is 2000 grit. I cut a very small strip, maybe 1/8 inch and wrapped it around the end of the file and pushed that through the hole and twisted that around to get the tiniest pieces of metal off. The throat plate metal is pretty soft and you will see bits of it on both the file and the sandpaper.
Put the thing back together and quilted. No thread breaking. For the whole quilt! And I did feathers, which require twisting and turing and backing up and going every different direction. So, I believe it is fixed :) Yipee!
I also did this to the originial throat plate that came with the machine. When I first got the machine, the thread broke no matter what I did. It didn't fix until I got a new throat plate and boy was the hole rough inside. I think I fixed that one too, but haven't tried it out yet.
I'm just surprised that the company I got the machine from didn't suggest this fix for me. I might write them and let them know how I finally fixed my machine problem. $10 for the tools and I can fix it if it ever happens again.
Happy dancing here!