Help! Thread shredding!

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k9dancer wrote
on 30 Aug 2010 1:52 PM

I am free motion quilting a king size cotton patchwork quilt on my vintage Featherweight.  The thread is a 40 weight polyester embroidery thread, and I am using new embroidery needles, size 11 and 12.  Even after putting in a new needle, I can sew for a few minutes, and then I get a shredded top thread.  No problem with the bobbin.  I am more than halfway done with this quilt, and I cannot find the problem.  I have cleaned the minimal lint from under the throat plate and bobbin area.  It must be something obvious, and I am just too close to see what the problem is.  Any thoughts?

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Posts 135
on 30 Aug 2010 2:06 PM

Sometimes threads are just wound too tightly on the spool, and they don't flow so freely.    You might regularly use a brand and then suddenly find one particular reels doesn't flow so easily.  What we in the UK woudl call, a Friday afternoon product (something made in a hurry so the workers can get home for the weekend!)

 You might find that placing the spool into a dish or jar and standing that behing the machine helps.   Or you could try winding the thread onto a bobbin.  You will need to wind that bobbin onto another one, in order to get the thread running out the same as it does from the spool, and particularly so if its a variegated thread.

Otherwise it might be running the machine too fast, or the body of the machine needs cleaning - where the threads runs, if you wipe over the area with furniture polish, especially one with silicone in it, then it should help.  I don't spray polish direct onto my machine, but onto a cloth first.  You can buy products especially for this purpose, but I don't bother.  Hope something there might help.

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ckquilter wrote
on 1 Sep 2010 10:28 PM

some other possibilities - is your last thread guide either tight or sharp?? if so, it canshred the thread.     or, try a quilting needle, and a bit larger size, like a 12 or 14. the quilting needle may have a bit longer eye - and that will help protect the thread as it goes through the fabric. and last dich effort, would be a topstitch needle - but it will punch larger holes in the fabric - not as good if you are using a polybatt that will beard. but if the thread still shreds with a topstitch needle - then it is not the needles which are the problem - but the thread itself, the tension, the last thread guide ,or  the throat plate.

is the poly thread itself in good shape and of good quality??? if not - no matter what you do it may not ever run well.

does the throat platehave any burrs on it?? it may need to be smoothed.

i assume the machine tension is adjusted ok??

and the thread itself is smooth? not fuzzy?

some threads will cut themselves if you stitch over them - that would depend on your quilt design.                        ckquilter

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Tiano wrote
on 2 Sep 2010 8:02 AM

Have you tried using a Shmetz Metalic needle? Size 80/12....? They are fantastic. I am an embroiderer, I use them for everything. They have a smooth, oval polished eye, made for the smooth running of metalic thread which shreds easily.  They are better than any other make.

Designed to withstand higher temperatures, the needle has a larger eye and a special scarf to minimise fraying. Good for metallic threads, Sulky Sliver or for 40 weight rayon embroidery threads. 5 needles.

Oh.. another thought!!! is the weight of the quilt retarding the free running of the thread?

 Good luck


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