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Thread: LAQ's, I need your help, please

  1. #1
    Super Member twinkie's Avatar
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    LAQ's, I need your help, please

    I will post a new thread with pictures within the next few days, but I am excited. My DH has worked hard to put together a long arm quilting frame (Little Gracie) along with a vintage machine that he has completely refurbished for me. We have a total of $400 invested in this project and I am now doing practice runs with it so I can start doing some of my own quilts. I don't ever expect to get good enough to do quilts for others. That is not my goal. However, I need some advice. The only problem I seem to be having is the top thread seems to break frequently. My dh says it is because the thread I am using is "cheap" thread. What thread is the most popular among the professional LAQ's on the board? Any suggestions you might have will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I have 2 favorites: Permacore and Glide. If you are using an all cotton thread, you might try switching to a poly. Because longarms stitch so much faster they produce a lot of wear & tear on the thread. Poly is stronger. After you become use to longarming you can probably use the cotton without too many problems. Also, maybe your top tension is too tight. This can cause breakage as well. Have fun!

  3. #3
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    ....or it might be you are guiding that vintage too fast for it to make a proper stitch, thus breaking thread..slow down a bit...try loosening the tension on your upper thread a bit too.

    A DM on a frame does not have the same speed of stitching as a machine designed to ride on a frame. JMHO

  4. #4
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Congrats on your new setup! DH is a keeper.

    Before blaming the thread you may wish to try a needle with a larger eye (bigger size needle) and also see if your top tension is too tight. Those are two common reasons for breaking top thread.

    But low quality thread will also cause the problem as will older cotton thread.

    My favorite threads in order of frequency of use are:
    Glide AND the magna glide bobbins. Since discovering the magnaglides I rarely use any other prewound and try to avoid winding my own as well. Love them! And it seems like I can quilt for a very long time between bobbin changes with them. Never have backlash or tension issues with them. Can't recommend them highly enough, they are definitely worth the extra expense IMHO. I adore Glide thread too. It is a trilobal Polyester with a shiny finish. 40 wt that looks like a 60wt when quilted. Very versatile.

    Isacord embroidery thread. Another poly. Very nice.

    Superior King Tut variegated I love using for Pantos or end to end where I am not doing any back tracking. King tut is a fairly heavy appearing cotton and builds up fast so I try not use it if I am doing a lot of back tracking or traveling on already stitched lines. It quilts up beautifully in a panto though. I don't like using cotton as much as synthetic because of the lint buildup in the bobbin case. I almost always end up with a blob of lint lodged in the bobbin spring area and tension issues somewhere on the quilt because of it.

    Superior Bottom Line and So Fine. I will often use So Fine or Bottom line in the top when I want a finer thread. Bottom line is great in the bobbin if decide to wind your own and not spring for the magna glides but once you try them you won't ever want to use anything else.

    For really fine micro work I love Invisifil, a 100wt polyester as fine as a human hair. I haven't sprung for silk yet but I am sure I will some day.

    I have also used YLI threads, and if you really want to go economy there is Metro Embroidery thread. I don't like to promote it for geo-political reasons; it is made in China and I prefer to support USA or North American products (Invisifil is Canadian) but I do have a few cones and mini cones of it. It is dirt cheap and a decent thread.

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I have several brands of thread for my longarm, but I find myself using Metro thread that I purchased from MetroEmb.com most often. It's a 40 wt. high tensile poly thread with a beautiful sheen, a huge assortment of colors, and the price is great. I'm also going to try the Sigma thread from the same company. I also use cotton and poly thread from Connecting Threads and Superior.

    In your case, since you are using a vintage machine, have you tried sewing with the machine off the frame to see whether the problem occurs then, or only when the machine is on the frame? If it's only with the machine on the frame, I would agree with Geri B that you might need to slow down. The speed of the needle with the domestic machine is not very fast, and the needle may be deflected by the quilt causing breakage of the thread, and occasionally breakage of the needle as well. Using a larger needle might also help with that.

  6. #6
    Member lluke's Avatar
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    I've had thread breakage when the quilt is not "rolled" onto the frame correctly. It may be you need to adjust the way the rolls feed onto your quilting plane.

  7. #7
    Super Member twinkie's Avatar
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    First, in trying to reply to some of the responses I have received, I have slowed down a lot because I tend to make my stitches too large if I go fast. I certainly appreciate all of the responses and thread suggestions from the experts. The machine sews perfectly off of the frame. He installed LED lights attached to goose neck bases so they are moveable. My DH even put percision ball bearings in the carriage so it would glide easier. He put a bicycle break handle on the grips and attached it to a motor to act as a foot pedal. Here is a picture of the set up.

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    Name:  Little Gracie frame.jpg
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  8. #8
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    You have gotten good advice! I second the larger needle and loosening the tension. Jamie Wallen suggests loosening the tension until you have loopies on the back and then tightening a bit at a time till you get your optimum stitch. There is a video on YouTube on this by Jamie. Don't beat yourself up too soon..this long arming stuff is a PROCESS. Everytime you have an issue, and you figure it out, you are learning to trouble shoot for next time. ASK ME HOW I KNOW! lolol That said, my go-to threads are Permacore and OMNI when I want a matte/cotton look (they are not cotton however..) and Glide when I want a shine. You will find the threads that best suit YOU and what you want as you go along. Congrats on your new set up...and happy quilting!
    Beth in AZ
    www.bzyqltr.blogspot.com
    Innova 22' with Lightning Stitch and Pantovision
    Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Senior Member humbird's Avatar
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    No suggestions for the thread breakage, but just wanted to say that machine is to die for!! Your DH did a beautiful job. Lucky you!!!

  10. #10
    Super Member twinkie's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for the compliment. He is soooooo talented and definitely a keeper.

    Quote Originally Posted by humbird View Post
    No suggestions for the thread breakage, but just wanted to say that machine is to die for!! Your DH did a beautiful job. Lucky you!!!

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