My machine had been skipping stitches, making for a couple of really not attractive quilted blocks and an extremely bummed-out quilter. After uttering a couple of words I won't repeat, I put down my work and sat down at the old computer to plumb the depths of your experience and knowledge to solve my mechanical issue.
I did two things which seemed to do the trick:
1) Changed back to my old needle. For some weird, unexplainable reason, a second Schmetz quilting needle from the same box just wasn't behaving itself, so I went back to the first needle I had been using for the last week or so. Fortunately I didn't throw it away!
2) Slowed down the hands. My wife was being a bit of a "back seat quilter", and told me I needed to make bigger loops. When I started making bigger loops, I think I may have sped up the delivery of the quilt, and this might have contributed to skipped stitches as well. Back to smaller loops and more controlled, slower stitching.
All of those stops, starts, and thread breaks were not pretty, and contributed to some significant tension on my part, which makes my fun hobby a literal pain in the neck. Last night I was back to happily quilting away, and finished another 5 blocks. Only 10 blocks left, and at this rate, I should be quilted and bound by Friday! Yay! Already chomping at the bit to continue another WIP for my sister.
Many thanks to my readers (and Rosanne in particular) for helping me get out of my FMQ Blues!