It doesn't matter when you hit the lever, the machine will start to reverse as soon as you push down on the reverse lever. The machine will backstitch at whatever stitch length the machine is set for. That doesn't make any difference either. I can't think of a reason why this is happening to you. Take a picture of exactly when this happens and post it. Maybe I'll be able to figure it out from the picture.
Remember, when you're removing work from under the foot, you have to pull (turn) the hand wheel back towards you after you lift the foot with either the knee lift or the lever on the back of the machine so that the hook releases the thread. The foot has to be lifted to release the needle thread from the tension discs. That allows the needle thread to pull out easily.
No one lives forever, the trick is creating something that will.
Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 12-12-2011 at 08:54 AM.