So after a wonderful sunny afternoon seeing my niece graduate from the same Catholic High School (Our Lady of Good Counsel Academy) that my daughter graduated from 4 years ago, I spent the evening playing again with my 830. And yes, I think I made good progress.
I realized that I was threading the top thread wrong.... through the wrong spindle. You see, the 830 has 3 cone holders, one that is considered the front spindle and uses two guides when you are winding the bobbin and two additional spindles that each have their own guide. Well of course, once I wound the bobbin, I just assumed that when you threaded the top thread, that you used two guides as well. WRONG! As I was sewing I noticed that every time the thread broke, if I looked up the thread was twisted over the guides. So I looked in the book and the picture that went along with loading top thread showed only one guide in use, vs the picture for winding the bobbin. And if I had bothered to read the text, vs assuming I knew what I was doing after winding the bobbin, then I would have known that it says use 'the' corresponding guide for the 'spindle' you placed the cone on... duh!@!@!. 'the', 'spindle' these are singular parts of speech, singular as in ONE, not two!@!@!.
With this new knowledge under my belt, I attempted once again to free motion quilt using my favorite Superior Rainbow thread. Much better... but still every once and a while the error message indicating I was out of top thread would appear. Since I knew I had a full cone, something had to be wrong. Taking a closer look, I noticed that the thread was no longer in the round whole on the side of the machine... somehow it had slipped out of the sensor that detects the top thread. So I lowered the tension to 1, vs the 2 or 2.25 that was working so well on the YLI and Coats and Clark threads. Whoo Hoo!!! no more breaks, no more spit ups... just smooth sailing.
I feel much better!! Tomorrow, I will try a larger piece to ensure I have cracked the mystery. But for now I fell good. :-)