JudyL

How to...choosing thread

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1. What is your favorite thread for use on the longarm? Maybe you have different favs for different projects?

I use A&E Permacore a lot. Comes in a jillion colors. And I have a ton of it. It’s a good utility, no muss, no fuss thread. But I LOVE Superior Threads. Rainbows for a bit of dazzle and sheen. Highlights to compliment the Rainbows. Sew Fine for SID. King Tut has some lovely verigateds, too, but without the sheen. Metallics are great for adding just a bit of glitz.

2. What thread do you use in the bobbin? Same thread as on top or something different?

I use Sew Fine or Bottom Line in the bobbin – almost exclusively.

3. Always try to match the top color or the color of the backing?

Depends on the quilt. Most of the time I probably use something that comes close to matching what I’m using on the top, but sometimes I only want to see texture on the back so I will match the bobbin to the backing fabric.

4. Have you tried metallics and if so, what were your results?

I love metallics, but only have the occasional opportunity to use them on customer quilts. When I have used them, however, I’ve had fabulous results. I have run it by itself and also paired it with a matching Highlight thread with lovely results. I always loosen the rotary tension when using metalics……a lot – like three full turns looser than my normal setting.

Thanks JudyL for starting this thread thread……..it’s fun to see what other people are using and how they like it.

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For the question about how to get Rainbows to work - you really need to loosen up the tension. You may need to loosen up your bobbin tension as well. About 14 to 17 on the towa gauge works well for me. I also find a thread sock is helpful since Rainbow can be slippery. I use the same needle as for everything else.

What have you had trouble with? Thread breakage? Getting the tension right?

Julia

I\'m posting something I saved from Dawn - it might have been from Superior\'s website, or else from this chat room:

Quilting with Rainbows Thread on an APQS Quilting Machine by Dawn Cavanaugh

To achieve top performance from Rainbows, begin by inserting a new needle (an MR 4.0 or #18 works best). Needles with dull points or grooves worn into the eyes will cause the thread to shred and break. Next, evaluate your choice for bobbin thread. Bottom Line or MonoPoly both work well as bobbin threads. Loosen the tension on the bobbin case so that the Rainbows thread has a chance to pull the bobbin thread into the quilt sandwich without breaking. Adjust the top tension until the Rainbows thread pulls the bobbin thread into the quilt batting. If it breaks frequently, loosen the bobbin case tension even more.

Practice good quilting habits, such as making sure the fabric is not too taut between your rollers, adjusting side clamps to prevent undue pressure on the quilt sides, and choosing batting that is not too thin (thin batting doesn\'t give the thread much air space in which to lock between the layers.) If the thread peels off erratically from the spool, insert a small piece of cotton batting into the thread guide directly above the spool to apply a slight amount of pressure on the thread.

Check that the thread path is correct, and test for any notches or burrs that might be hiding inside the pigtail thread guides on the side of the machine and above the needle. Worn spots or notches on the guides will shred not only Rainbows thread, but others as well. Do this by simply grasping the thread above and below the thread guide, and sliding it around the inside of the guide as if to floss the guide. A notch will catch on the thread. If you do find a notch, order new guides from APQS. In the meantime, loosen the screw on the thread guide and rotate it 180 degrees, then retighten the screw. This temporary repositioning will cause the thread to rub on a different spot on the thread guide and will allow you to keep on quilting.

If you notice that the Rainbows thread wants to cling to the tension side of your machine, try rubbing a dryer sheet on that side to reduce static. In addition, APQS offers an optional fly wheel cover that mounts directly over the fly wheel. This prevents the fly wheel from accidentally grabbing the thread and pulling it inside the machine.

Finally, remember that high quilting speeds create a great amount of friction heat as the needle enters and exits the fabric. If you encounter thread breakage at high speeds or when you move the machine quickly, simply pace yourself and move a little slower to give the needle a chance to exit the fabric completely and stay cool.

More suggestions on running Rainbows and Highlights

1) Be sure to use a needle with a large eye, such as a 4.0 needle (or even try going up to a 4.5), to reduce the flexing that can cause thread breakage. This is especially important if you notice the thread breaks more frequently when moving in a certain direction (probably to the left and away from yourself, when on the free hand side).

2) Even though it seems illogical, loosen the top thread considerably. I mean A LOT. Do the same to the bobbin thread. Rainbows DOES run better with very little tension on both threads. See if you can force the bobbin thread up to the top, then tighten the bobbin tension slightly to pull the Rainbows back into the quilt\'s layers.

3) Try to slow down. As faster speeds increase the friction on the needle as it enters and exits the fabric, the needle heats up. This heat causes the top thread to fray and break.

4) Use a fine bobbin weight thread, such as Bottom Line.

5) Be sure the two thread guides do not have notches or grooves in them, which will increase shredding and breakage.

6) Keep the quilt sandwich on the "looser" side, not too taut between the rollers.

7) It is possible to get a bad spool of thread. Be sure you try more than one color of Rainbows to eliminate the spool as the problem. Most often, it\'s mostly getting the right top/bottom tension balance, but I\'ve had a bad spool fight me and break every 3-4 inches.


Julia Graves

Special Occasion Quilts, LLC

Lusby, Maryland

410-326-3043

http://soquilts.com

juliagraves82@gmail.com

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1. What is your favorite thread for use on the longarm? Maybe you have different favs for different projects?

I love Superior Threads, all of them. I use them almost exclusively, of course, I also buy them at wholesale, so they are not so costly.

2. What thread do you use in the bobbin? Same thread as on top or something different?

Most often, I use the same thread in the top and bobbin. Sometimes, I will try to match the bobbin to the backing if it would look too awful to use the top thread there. Also, I will use So Fine in the bobbin in a similar/matching color to what is in the top.

3. Always try to match the top color or the color of the backing?

See #2

4. Have you tried metallics and if so, what were your results?

I have had very good results with metallics. Have used them on several Christmas quilts. Haven\'t tried them on batiks yet.

5. Anything else you can share with us regarding thread??


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P's & Q's (and other things, too)

APQS sales, service and training

Longarm quilting on Milli, my Millennium

sheila@ps-n-qs.com

http://www.ps-n-qs.com

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