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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

HINTS & TIPS Threading n' Needles ~ a repost

hello ~

i dearly love teaching my students in the bernina "mastery" classes... and because quite a few of my students have asked, i am posting again, just for y'all! 

i have found that the most overlooked feature of sewing machines, is the lack of knowing the basics! 

with that being said, here are some of the most common basics that are either overlooked, forgotten, underused, and unapplied!  although these tips and hints are focused particularly on bernina ownership... they are still great tips for any sewing enthusiast!

❤    Use the correct size end caps based on the size of your thread spool.  There are usually three sizes included with your Bernina machine; small, medium and large.
In the picture below, they are shown as they should be placed onto your thread, once the spool is loaded onto your machine...  these spools are shown with the flat side of the end cap fitting flush with the end of the thread spool.  The reason they should be placed like this is to prevent threads from wrapping around the end of the spool, and if that happens, your thread will CERTAINLY break very soon, or will pull so violently tight, it will break your needle; especially at higher speeds. 
An Iscacord spool of thread is pictured below, with the smallest end cap in place, and the spool has been loaded onto the machine.  Notice in this pic there is also a gray sponge-like foam pad on the back side of the spool; placed so that the thread spool is held tight.  This is commonly overlooked by many Bernina owners.  and if you place your spool on the vertical spool holder, your thread spool should sit on top of this 'spongee' and the spool of threads spins easily, thread flows much... much... smoother through your machine.
a "cross-wound" spool of thread, placed on the horizontal spindle of the sewing machine
❤    Choose either horizontal or vertical thread spindles based on the way your thread is wound.  Cross wound thread spools (like Isacord thread in the picture above) are wound like a figure 8, are (normally) placed on the horizontal position. (Laying down). A stacked spool has the threads wound one thread on top of the other vertically, and should be placed on the vertical position (standing straight up). If the thread spool is stacked, no end cap is needed as the spool sits upright on the vertical spindle.
    Note: (generally) you can place a cross wound thread on either vertical or horizontal spools... the key is that these types of spools are wound so that the thread comes off the spool from the top of the thread cone.  Stacked threads are wound so the thread releases from the side of the spool.  From the front side or the back side of the spool, it does not matter how a stacked thread releases.  If you have a thread stand, then you can use either type of cone in the vertical position (standing up).



❤    Always begin the threading of your machine with tension disks open! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! This means your presser foot is in the ‘up’ position, which enables the thread to be placed inside the tension disk area.  If it isn't... you will know very quickly (within 2-3 stitches) that something... isn't... right!!

❤    Ensuring the ‘take-up’ lever is in it’s highest position makes it easier  for most needle threaders to secure the thread through the eye of the needle.

❤    Have your needle at it’s highest point to help ensure success with the needle threader

❤    Once your machine is threaded, and before using the needle threader, put your presser foot in the ‘down’ position. This will allow the tension disks to close, and “clamp” your top thread in place, making it a bit easier to use the needle threader.

❤    Be sure to completely press down on the needle threader until the threader is able to completely surround the needle.  There are two little “snaggers” that must come through the eye of the needle in order to snag the thread and pull it through the eye of the needle.

❤    While letting go of the needle threader, remember not to hang onto the thread so tight that you end up pulling the thread back through the eye of the needle! I see many students who think they  should let it go quickly too, and that's not true either.  You can successfully thread the needle 'slow-motion' too!

❤    90% of all stitching issues are needle related!  THIS IS SO TRUE!
    ❀ Change your needle often!  This is the single most important and least expensive thing you can do!  Change it approximately every 2-3 bobbins, (really!) or every hour, depending on the type of sewing, fabric and thread play you're doing!  Fusings...free motion couching, & sewing through thick fabrics  will dull a needle much more quickly... I promise!
  • Learn to check your needle and its tip... it's easy to see the difference when you hold up a new needle to the older one against the lights... if that tip is even slightly flat, or has a burr on it, you can either FEEL  it... or SEE it!  AND... get rid of it!  The question I ask my students is simply this: "do you want to have fun... or do you want to struggle?" 
  • {knowledge=fun!}  it's as simple as that!
    ❀ Use the correct size of needle based on the thread you are using, and the type of fabric in your project. An 80/12 is good for piecing; a 90/14 is a must for free motion or decorative stitching {when you are using 40 wt threads}! otherwise, a smaller needle{s} like 80/10 and 70/12, will work fine if you have a smaller weight thread {like a 50 or 60 wt thread, respectively} 
    
❀ If you experience stitching issues, re-thread your machine from the top first.  If the problem persists, re-thread your bobbin case. If that doesn’t help... change your needle!  Try one thing at a time... that way you GAIN KNOWLEDGE in ... TROUBLESHOOTING!  That's a good thing!

    ❀ a size 90/14 needle in ***top stitch, metallic, denim/jeans, as well as the Bernina “Cordonnet” styled needle are nearly  identical in that they have a sharp tip, elongated eye, and deeper groove which work best with 40 weight cottons, 40 weight tri-lobal polyester threads and metallic threads; AND... especially in free motion!

***these days, I am completely sold on Superior's Titanium coated, Topstitch needles in sizes 70,80,90. and 100. they last twice as long as regular needles, and they are so worth it!

use your machine's potential to it's fullest... and then sew and enJOY!

and... i'm working at gettings pics for the "kitchen towel tutorial" ... so i hope you'll "stay tuned" and come on back, ya hear?!

blessings!
xo
les

5 comments:

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Great tips! Thanks!

Sandy said...

Now this seems like heart surgery Leslie! I am wanting to place an order with Superior Threads and wondering what to start with for free motion. I would absolutely love your pdf on this if it is not too much trouble. I just have a Bernina 1008..nothing fancy. Thank you so much Leslie! sandy wamble lmt

elle said...

I am late finding/reading/asking but yes please. I didn't know anything about end caps! MarveLes!

Martha said...

I have learned so much from this post. I have had my Bernina a long time and did not know I was doing so much wrong. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Laceflower said...

I agree with everything you said with one caveat, the vertical positioning has to pull the spool around to get the thread off and if it is a big spool I general will put it horizontally to decrease tension and pull.

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