I have been so pleased with the information everyone provided to help me with Free Motion Quilting. After much practice (but still not enough!) I decided to FMQ the body of a lap quilt I am making. I bought new "machine quilting" thread at JoAnn's this week by Coats & Clark. I chose it because it was the exact color I was looking for! The thread keeps breaking! I think it might get "bunchy" first, but since I am not looking at the needle, I'm not sure. I have slowed the speed of the machine (which helped me in general with FMQ), re-threaded, changed needles, etc. Does anyone have any suggestions? I recently emailed Coats & Clark about some regular sewing thread breaking when I was hand sewing the binding down on a quilt. They responded that from the number on the spool I gave them, the thread was manufactured in 2004 so was too old unless it had been stored optimally! I just bought this quilting thread! So frustrating!
• • • Susan, you may want to test the thread. Can you break it in your hands? If so, toss it.
SewCalGal is having a year long FMQ Challenge & this month's teacher was Leah Day & here's what she said about thread:
Isacord thread – this is a high quality polyester embroidery thread. It’s very thin, super strong, and very affordable.
Whatever thread you use, just make sure to use the exact same thread in the top of the machine and in the bobbin. Especially when you’re first starting out, tension issues can drive you crazy and using the same thread (same brand, same type, and same color) can sort out most of those issues.
Once you gain more skill and confidence in free motion quilting, THEN start experimenting and see what threads produce the right finish for your quilts.
Play with a variety of sizes and go with the needle that works best on your machine. If you notice your thread breaking or skipping, always change your needle first as it may be bent and not catching the bobbin thread properly.
Here's the link to the challenge. I hope this helps you.This message has been edited. Last edited by: nlk,
We live in the home of the free...because of the brave.
If the thread breaks easy when you pull on it with your hands, toss it! Now if the thread is strong (lots of my thread is still strong at that age), then is the needle the right size and type? If you straight stitch with the same thread, does it still break? You should be using a size 90/14 (nothing smaller). Besides the size of the needle, try a topstitch needle or jeans/denium. With coats and clark, machine quilting thread, I usually stand stand up the spool (vertical) rather than use it horizontal. With the needle in the up position and the pressure foot raised, pull thread through the needle, make sure it is pulling smoothly and not getting caught on anything or twisting around something. If you can't get the thread to stop breaking with regular straight stitching (not FM) and correct needles and tension settings, then it won't work with FM! Get it to work first with regular stitching then you can play with FM settings. Tension can be a problem (look at the stitches-- are they formed nicely?). I have also had thread knot around needles and cause it to break. Stitching too much in the same spot (like 4X or more)can also cause the thread to break. Are both the top and bobbin threads breaking or is it just the top? Also when I get to a place in the spool where there is a knot (there are knots in spools of thread to join ends of fibers--but they should not come up very often--a few times in the whole spool) in the threads, I get thread breakage! Is your bobbin wound nicely? I have had problems if a bobbin is not wound well too. Good luck sorting this out! I'm glad to hear that you are getting more comfortable with FMQ.
I didn't have any trouble stitching in the ditch/straight sewing. I did just try to break it and it breaks WAY TOO easily. I practiced on a smaller square before I started, but obviously not long enough to notice all the problems I would encounter! I am so close to finishing, now I need to find some pink quilting thread that will get me through. I can't believe how easily the thread broke! Unfortunately, we don't have any fabric stores around and JoAnn's is too far away. Shoot! By the way, it was just the needle thread breaking. I do have the same thread in both the top and the bobbin. I was using a 14 needle, then tried a 12, then back to the 14. I also have the spool vertical as I have always liked that better for everything.
Thanks for the tips and more importantly, the encouragement!
Editing to say, I just had my machine serviced, too!
..before tossing the thread if you have almost finished with your project - try changing your needle, take out the bobbin and put it back in, and I use a bit of Sewers Aid on my big spools of thread - they get really linty and into my machine .. uck.. that might be s omething to check also - is it clean in there? sounds weird, but the grooves in the feed dogs will get linty too - so go ahead and clean those too - and maybe you just need to slow down a bit - if you are pulling too fast or too hard trying to change directions you will get eyelashes and knots and breakage .. don't give up! This is just another learning opportunity!This message has been edited. Last edited by: City/Sandie,
I cannot change 'things', but I can change how I feel about them. Me.
Wounded Warrior Project
Isn't this board great? I learned to clean, clean, and clean some more. I tend to have problems closer to the end of a project. I changed machines and just found out it prefers the top stitch needles. Every machine has its idiosyncrasies. I've also learned to take a 10-15 minut break after I change bobbins. Good luck to you.
FYI coats & clark is one of the worst thread to use in your machine, it lents up the machine horribly. If you are quilting try King tut by supeerior or I like signature thread. Aurofil is also a better one to use.
Also machine sure the machine is threaded correctly, if it misses even on little disc, it will break.
Hope that helps! I alway spent a little more on thread, and get the best I can afford. My machine repair place will not honor your warranty if you have used coats & clark, for the same reason. Too many machines gunk up!
Gosh, I didn't know that about hte warranty thing and C&C threads .. it does't apply to me as my machine is a few years old .. butyou gals with newer machines probablywill want to check that out.. onr of my quilt buddies gave away all her coats and clar - not to me - and bought Aurifil ... swears by it ... and thefabric shop I use every week, Calicohousequilting.com has just added a line of long arm threads at great prices .. I like the big cones so I may pick up one and see how it goes.
i went and looked up the thread - anyone know anythng aboua this?:
"...entire line of OMNI thread from Superior (172 colors)"
edited to add thread info and web addrres for Calico House....This message has been edited. Last edited by: City/Sandie,
I cannot change 'things', but I can change how I feel about them. Me.
Wounded Warrior Project
I've heard several people say their warranty was voided if they used certain threads or bobbin threads. I read the warranties for my four machines and there's nothing about it. Now if he's giving you a written warranty on a used machine you should read carefully what's in it. I don't like C&C but I also had a horrible time with the first Superior threads I bought. They actually took back all the spools because they'd changed manufacturers and they admitted they broke and shredded. Isacord had similar problems when they changed. I'm sure I have some thread in my house that's 20+ years old. I buy on sale and check it before I start quilting. Too much work in these tops to end up with bad quilting.
I happen to be a HUGE Coats & Clark fan....I've checked my warranty also and it says nothing about thread(my warranty has expired anyway)....I'm guessing its his preface or maybe the type of machine you have.
Try a topstitch needle, it worked wonders with mine.
Thought I would report back.....Decided to straight quilt around the border since I was having so much trouble with the FMQ. The machine did fine on the sample so I went to town stitching. At about the third turn, I realized the machine was skipping stitches! I wanted to throw them - the machine and the quilt - out the window, but decided to shut everything down instead! Off to WalMart to try to buy new pink quilting thread. Of course, they didn't have it. I came home and did some laundry which made me even madder because I despise doing laundry and I wanted to sew! Thought I would give it another shot. Took the machine apart and brushed it all out. Re-threaded the needle and the bobbin thread. Everything looked good on the sample, but that had happened before. Started FMQ and finished the body of the quilt with no more breaking! Then I FMQed the border! I am still not completely thrilled with the look on the underside, but the quilt is finished (except for hand stitching the binding down.) Sooooo, I am not sure what was going on, but the next time I begin to have problems, I will shut the machine off and give it a rest. I will also re-thread and be sure there is no lint. Thank you all for the support I ALWAYS get from the members of this board.
read your C&C spool though-it's Poly now.
also not sure if you are having problems due to the thread being placed vertically or not. if it is a small spool, I would think it would work better horizontally.
Glad it is working for you.
Not all C&C is Poly...they still make the large spools of cotton which I use a lot of...I also keep my machine clean,clean,clean and use a Topstitch needle for all FMQ or a Jeans needle if the project calls for it. I use the Poly also but not as much.Love the color of the Poly and Dual-Duty...not so much the price
I'm glad to hear that you are up and running once again! When I use the large machine quilting 100% cotton CC spool/cone (not the smaller cotton covered poly spools), I do clean the machine after using two bobbins of this thread! There is lots of lint with this thread, but I have had lots of lint with other brands too (even some of the more expensive ones and the gift package of threads that CAME WITH MY NEW MACHINE this year). I have noticed that the Aurifil I bought last year had more lint than usual (still way less than CC)--perhaps it was a fluke or related to the poor cotton year! I clean my machine after using 3 bobbins of Aurifil. I looked at some Signature varigated 100% cotton a few months ago and did not buy it because it looked fuzzier and thinner in places than in the past (I have some that I bought earlier and like it--but the new stuff does not meet my standards--maybe next year it will improve so I can buy it again). When I buy thread in the store, if possible, I do unwind a little to check the color as well as the quality. Hold the thread up to the light and look to see if it is extra linty or thinner in spots. To me thread is like fabric (especially cotton), there is a difference in quality, but quality doesn't always equal expensive. I do have personal standards, but sometimes medium quality is fine for me. Like fabric, the quality of thread does not always appear to be constant either. I haven't bought any CC recently, so I can't say if I have noticed change with it this year.
Also keep in mind that different types of batting can add to more or less lint as well as the type of fabric (flannel really bumps up the lint factor!). I clean my machine lots--no canned air for me either. I try to remove as much lint as possible all the time. Sometimes thread behaves better vertically compared to horizontally, but not always. Since I use a big variety, I keep a page of notes about each type of thread (machine settings, needle type, and horizontal or vertical position etc.). Thread can be frustrating, but for me it is like icing on a cake. One kind and color doesn't enhance every cake nor is every kind always in the budget and/or in the correct color! The icing on the cake always needs to complement the cake and suit the occassion too!
Oh my gosh, so much information from everyone, Glad you asked the question. Something more for me to think about. Thanks to everyone for the great ideas and discussions. I learned a lot. Pat
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