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Thread: Thread keeps snapping!

  1. #1
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    Thread keeps snapping!

    It is driving me crazy and I can't seem to fix it! I've started my very first FMQ on an actual quilt, having been happy with my practise sandwiches, but the thread just keeps snapping. The tension seems fine (I think). Just to complicate, although I usually use the Gutermann poly thread, I'm using their cotton thread, because I wanted the variagated, and it only seems to come in cotton. Could there be something I should be doing differently?

    Thank you for any suggestions (particularly any that don't involve ripping out and starting again with different thread - I really like the look of the threads I chose)
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 12-03-2015 at 06:07 AM. Reason: autocorrect? caused wrong word?

  2. #2
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    Since you think the tension is okay, the first thing I would do is to rethread the machine and put in a new needle. Take out and reinsert the bobbin, also. If that doesn't work, try a needle with a larger eye.

  3. #3
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    Are you using a topstitch needle? How about size 14? When you start to FMQ on a large project after doing small practice pieces there is a tendency to be more concerned with managing the bulk of the quilt rather than managing the amount of the quilt that is in your quilting area-perhaps there is drag around the needle area. Another possible problem is the speed you are sewing-because of the size of the quilt you need to slow down to maintain control. Please don't change your thread but try the suggestions that I know you will be receiving as the ladies of the board wake up for the day.

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    Much grateful thanks for your suggestions! Although I'd rethreaded the top thread multiple times, I hadn't thought to do the bobbin thread too, so have done that, and I've now changed the needle (which was new in, but I guess we can always get a dud, huh?). I don't have any 14 needles (I'm using size 12 quilting needles), but will stock up next time I can get out - and look into the topstitch needles as well.

    I think drag around the needle may also be a factor (there's a lot more quilt to catch than in a little practise sandwich, isn't there!), and I am trying my best to manage that better.

    And, fingers crossed, it seems to be working! Thank you again! As a novice quilter, I really, really appreciate the assistance people can offer.

  5. #5
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    Check to see if your thread is hanging up somewhere. If the spool has a notch for tucking in the loose end, make sure that the thread isn't coming off that end of the spool.
    My vertical thread stand has an arm the thread goes through and if that is not oriented correctly the thread can hang up for me. Since my cat likes to "help" she sometimes moves the arm.

  6. #6
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I usually only use this on metallic thread but the next time you are in JAF, pick up a some of this stuff. It works well to lubricate the thread thru the needle:
    http://www.joann.com/dritz-sewers-ai...cation&start=1
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  7. #7
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    Try using a needle with a bigger eye. The time I used a variegated cotton thread for FMQ it kept making a little lint ball just before going through the eye and breaking. It was quite annoying to re thread but when the needle actually snapped and scared me half to death, I change to a larger eye needle.

  8. #8
    Super Member carslo's Avatar
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    I concur that a larger needle might do the trick. I use a variety of threads for FMQ and machine and I agree that I should just use a size 18. Yes, that sounds like a huge needle but it works for us!
    A bed without a quilt is like the night sky without stars.

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  9. #9
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    the torque of free motion quilting makes it necessary for a larger needle. I concur on the jeans or top stitch needle. See if you can find a pack that has more that one size. Slowing down might help and maybe making a sandwich of the same fabrics/batting you are quilting with and trying that might help also. I have found that some fabric/batting combos are trickier than others. With batiks, I need to slow down-those are tighter woven and the needle seems to need a bit more oomph to pierce the fabric. Keep a record of what you tried and how it worked. it will help trouble shooting in the future! Ask me how I know!

  10. #10
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Depending on your machine, you might try switching the direction of the thread spool pin. Some machines are just finicky. Aurifil, like Guterman, is a cross wound thread, which means it "should" sit upright on the spool pin. However, for some reason on my new machine, Aurifil always breaks when I set it upright so I use it on the sideways spool pin. Strangely, my old machine only had an upright post for the thread & I had no issues with that.

  11. #11
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    when using cotton thread with cotton fabric I would try a larger needle

  12. #12
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bree123 View Post
    Aurifil, like Guterman, is a cross wound thread, which means it "should" sit upright on the spool pin.
    I thought cross wound thread went on the horizontal spool pin and straight wound thread went on the vertical? Have I got it muddled up?

  13. #13
    Super Member margecam52's Avatar
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    What machine do you have? Is this your home machine, or a machine on a frame (home or one meant for quilting?)... hard to help without knowing this. Home machine...Try loosening the tension a little...and as other suggest...use a slightly larger needle & even a slightly larger stitch length. If you are using a darning/embroidery foot...with feed dogs down...slow down. My little Brother machine lets me slow how fast the machine stitches...and that let me slow down a lot. Really helps with thread breaking. If you don't have that... try to get used to not press to hard on the foot pedal.

    On a longarm machine (or any machine on a frame really). Loosen the bobbin & top tension)..here is an excellent video by Jamie Wallen:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1mRhcquZTM
    Taking the Stress out of Tension

    I hope this helps some.
    Marge
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarageDragon View Post
    It is driving me crazy and I can't seem to fix it! I've started my very first FMQ on an actual quilt, having been happy with my practise sandwiches, but the thread just keeps snapping. The tension seems fine (I think). Just to complicate, although I usually use the Gutermann poly thread, I'm using their cotton thread, because I wanted the variagated, and it only seems to come in cotton. Could there be something I should be doing differently?

    Thank you for any suggestions (particularly any that don't involve ripping out and starting again with different thread - I really like the look of the threads I chose)
    Marge Campbell
    TL18LS/Qbot V3 automated quilter
    https://www.facebook.com/campbellsquiltingbymarge

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    Even a new needle can have a burr. Happened to me.

  15. #15
    Super Member osewme's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=bjchad;7393119]Check to see if your thread is hanging up somewhere. If the spool has a notch for tucking in the loose end, make sure that the thread isn't coming off that end of the spool.QUOTE]

    I was going to suggest that about the notch on the spool. That has happened to me several times. Now I know to thread my machine with that notch is facing opposite of where the thread comes off.

    You might also just take the thread & see how easily it hand breaks. Just take it & try to break it by hand. If it breaks fairly easily it might be old thread that is deteriorating.

  16. #16
    Super Member Knitette's Avatar
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    If you haven't watched the Superior Threads tension video, then I'd suggest you do. I was agog at how loose the tension was he suggested - opened my eyes, I can tell you!
    Lang may yer lum reek. (I'm a knitter - hence - 'Knit-ette'. Confuses a lot of people!)

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    Gah, it was all going so well for a while - until I worked on the middle of the quilt again (I'd worked the very centre, where I had all the initial problems, then worked my out the edge, where I thought I had it sussed, but now I have gone back to the middle to work out to the other side...)

    My spools don't have notches on, so I know it is not that.

    I'm going quite slowly (DSM, feed dogs down, quilting foot), and I'm fairly confident the tension is correct - the threads seem to be meeting in the middle and don't seem too tight.

    But, the thread (Gutermann) is really easy to break by hand, both reels in their different colours. I mean really easy to break - but I only bought it last month. I don't have any other variagated cotton thread (or indeed plain cotton) to compare it to - I've previously only used the Gutermann sew all poly thread.

    I have ordered some larger (14) needles online (How I wish I had a wonderful LQS nearby!!).

    Thank you all for your expertise!!

  18. #18
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarageDragon View Post
    I'm going quite slowly (DSM, feed dogs down, quilting foot), and I'm fairly confident the tension is correct - the threads seem to be meeting in the middle and don't seem too tight
    Thank you all for your expertise!!
    This may seem weird but try leaving your feed dogs up. My machine doesn't like having the feed dogs down and I get frequent thread breaks when I stitch that way. Maybe your machine is picky in the same way.

  19. #19
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    Sometimes cotton thread will break when it's older and dry. That can happen when sitting on a shelf in a shop. Try putting the thread in your freezer for a day or so, or set it outside where it can absorb some moisture. I've only read about these and haven't had to try them myself, but they won't cost anything but time to try.

  20. #20
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    Found this:
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...k-t185067.html
    The THEORY is that freezing adds moisture and/or contracts and therefore "conditions" the thread. Who knows? The evidence is that it has worked.
    Last edited by ratherhaverain; 12-04-2015 at 08:35 AM.

  21. #21
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    It is your needle size. Purchase a Topstitch 90/14 for FMQ....Absent of bur check on your thread path. a size 12 is much too small for FMQ.

  22. #22
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    soccertxi, does the needle size also affect thread breakage with cotton? I am having the same problems and wondered if maybe its the flannel quilt, I've changed needles, cleaned everything twice, shut here down and started over and am still getting a breakage about every 18 inches. I've been quilting a long time, and have never had so much trouble with one quilt. About ready to put it in the orphan projects box, but my DGS would miss out since his brother gets one that I had no trouble with

  23. #23
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    Also check to see if the thread is coming off the spool correctly. I had a couple incidents where the end of the thread had somehow gotten underneath the thread (hope it makes sense!) on the cone. After a second or two of FMQ, the thread can no longer go through and it breaks. Both times, the thread was trilobal polyester and shiny.

    Quote Originally Posted by bjchad View Post
    Check to see if your thread is hanging up somewhere. If the spool has a notch for tucking in the loose end, make sure that the thread isn't coming off that end of the spool.
    My vertical thread stand has an arm the thread goes through and if that is not oriented correctly the thread can hang up for me. Since my cat likes to "help" she sometimes moves the arm.

  24. #24
    Senior Member sept97's Avatar
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    totally different BUT, my thread kept snapping on my embroidery machine (I was embroidering on a sweatshirt and it was a dense design) After 2 days I figured I'd try a needle meant for denim and it all worked out fine.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Leslie333's Avatar
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    It's not just the size of the needle, but the type of needle matter just as much, if not more. I was having similar issues with thread breaks on FMQ and a topstitch needle was suggested to me. I went to my quilt store and compared them and the eye on the topstitch needle is huge compared to a quilting or universal needle of the same size. Take a look at this for a quick compare of the eyes when the size is exactly the same: https://www.superiorthreads.com/educ...versal-needle/ For FMQ you are putting a lot of stress on the thread where it goes through the needle and a large eye helps a lot.

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