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Thread: Free Motion Quilting...What type of thread?

  1. #1
    Senior Member kimnkell's Avatar
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    Hello,
    I am free motion quilting a quilt for my daughter on my machine and am having problems with the thread getting knots in it and breaking all the time. The thread I have is a real cheapo type of thread but this is my first free motion quilting and really had no idea what kind of thread to use. Does anyone have any suggestions on what type of thread is the best?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Just-Lee's Avatar
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    Although I am new to FMQ-ing, I have had some of the same problems. There is more to those issues than just thread type... it depends on what your machine "likes", tension settings, hand vs. machine speed, etc. Do a search on here, as there have been many threads on this topic and other issues.

  3. #3
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    I like Superior's "SoFine" thread a lot. It is a polyester, but it feels like a cotton and quilts beautifully. I use it for both piecing and free motion quilting. I just finished a crib quilt today and I used a varigated 40wt Aurafil. Aurafil comes in both a 40w and a 50w, but I like the heavier 40wt version.

    Don't use cheap thread - it just isn't worth it. Most people like 100% cotton thread, but the SoFine is great stuff. I think varigated threads hide a lot of erors too!

    Pam

  4. #4
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    It could be your thread, it could also be your machine. Machines have 2 common bobbin set ups: Horizontal and Vertical. Most newer - not all - machines have a horizontal or 'drop in' bobbin. The thread has to turn a corner to form a stitch and on some machines it is almost impossible to FMQ on them. One noted for being unable to successfully FMQ with is the Brother Pacesetter PC-6500 (ask how I know) and there are others.

    A vertical bobbin machine uses a bobbin inserted into a bobbin case. The thread path is straight up from the bobbin. Some machines like a class 15, a featherweight or a Singer 301, have the bobbin loaded at the end of the machine, others like Pfaff have the bobbin loaded from the front of the machine.
    This is one of the many reasons most of us have several different machines!

    I hope you get it sorted out, I'm sure your quilt will be beautiful.

  5. #5
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    it could be anything or a combination of things. I suggest you change only one thing at a time to find out.

    First ... put a scrap quilt sandwich together - don't do your tests or practice on the quilt. 9x9" is a good size to practice on.

    Then change one thing at a time.

    Start with the thread. Get a good or decent quality machine thread (NOT a "hand quilting" thread). Make sure the machine is threaded properly. Try to get something that is a 50wt - which is a pretty basic weight thread. Make a new bobbin with this thread and make sure the bobbin is loaded properly.

    If you still have a problem, change the needle. Make sure you have the right size needle for the thread you are using. A good needle size for a 50wt thread is 70/10 - again it's a pretty basic size needle.

    If you still have a problem ... then come back here and tell us where the thread is breaking. Is it breaking before the needle but after the tension discs? Is it breaking before the tension discs? Also, let us know what kind of machine you have. And, where are the knots? Is the upper thread knotting or the bobbin thread??

    I would start with the thread, and then the needle. But try ONE thing first and rule it out before you move to the next 'fix'.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kimnkell's Avatar
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    Thank You all.. this is some very helpful information. I will try changing the thread and see how that goes.

  7. #7
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    good polyester embroidery thread works good on top and in the bobbin.

  8. #8
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    My babylock machine had the same problem with breaking when I used "machine quilting thread" sold at JoAnne's but worked fine with "all purpose thread" that was the same thread sewn at JoAnne's.

    I am newer to machine quilting and am going to a quilt show where I hope to buy a spool of a few different brands of more expensive thread and see which one my machine "likes."

    I would prefer to stick with cotton thread but the one I use now creates so much lint in my machine that I am considering crossing over to poly. thread.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kimnkell's Avatar
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    The thread that I am using is Spun Poly T40 Serge Quilt thread. I got it because it was 3.99 for 6000 yards. Is there a difference between serger thread and quilting thread.. I don't know much about it...

  10. #10
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    I would definitely try Machine Quilting Thread or an all purpose thread. Use some scraps and leftover batting and try a few different brands/types of thread. See what works before you jump into working on your quilt.

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