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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?
Showing posts with label needles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label needles. Show all posts

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TNT Thread NeedlesTension

Very Important:  With threads, the bigger the number (weight), the SMALLER the thread is. With needles, the bigger the number, the BIGGER a needle is.

Once you get those two concepts in your mind, you can really begin to understand what will work for you in your machine, with the process or product you have.  It's all about the basics!

So here are some pics I took of some lovely labels!  Reminds me of a jingle and commerical (we're going back to the 70's folks!) If it says Libby's Libby's Libby's on the Label Label Label...you will like like like it on your sewing table table!!!  Ring a bell with anyone?!  It wasn't really about sewing - I added that part... just my wacky sense of humor.  I think it was about vegetables, but I can't remember for sure!!!  :)

Anyway!  LOVE the Superior labels...finally, thread company Superior Threads is giving us the proper INFORMATION and education we need! Look at this label, and not only will you see the the yardage, but you will notice there is a weight, ply, and size of needle to use!  Wait!  You mean they say what size NEEDLE to use?  Yes!  What a great idea! !

Rainbows (top): 40/3=40 weight 3 ply thread.  A lovely variegated pretty polyester, with a extra bit of high sheen, only because it's a tri-lobal  polyester, which means it has three sides (you can't tell with your own eyes).  It's been specially created that way so that it will reflect light, and that is why there is three 'sides' so to speak. Don't even try it without a 90/14 needle... it will shred if you don't, and that won't be much fun. 50 weight cottons are a good companions with it in the bobbin, as would be a solid colored 40 weight polyester .  I don't usually put variegated threads in the bobbin, unless I know the back will be seen, or the quilt is reversible.
Masterpiece - 50/2 = 50 weight cotton thread, and two-ply means it has two strands twisted together.    Because it's a smaller/thinner thread, it takes up less space in a seam, laying flatter which is especially important for intricate seam piecing, or multiple points that come together or for precise placement.  Primarily it was created for those specific needs.  Use Masterpiece in your top and wind it on the bobbin for the best results in piecing applications. For this kind of application, use an 80/12 microtex needle, or 80/12 HE for best results.
King Tut:   40/3 = 40 weight cotton thread.  What's so great about it? As a 3-ply thread (3 strands twisted together), it's smooth, strong, and has beautiful, but also fairly subtle color variations.  Use for decorative stitching as well as beautiful free motion quilting.  I like to use masterpiece in my bobbin when King Tut is being sewn from the top.  Smooooooth sailing!
  • Notice also that because Masterpiece is s a finer weight, you get more on the spool, and can wind more on your bobbin.  Love that!
    • What kind of thread is it?  Well, many companies may say"Egyptian thread" but if it's TRUE Egyptian extra long staple cotton, they will be HAPPY to say exactly THAT--- and  the acronym "ELS" will be printed, not something just generic. Buyer beware!  Superior labels it exactly what it is.  Yes, ELS will cost more... but it will also save you much in time and frustration.  Buy the best quality you can afford, but know the difference!
    • ELS: That means it's NICE... and you pay for what you get.  Ever touch the Egyptian cotton sheets that are for sale in a department store?  Fabric is so incredibly smooth, and they're usually a very  high thread count which gives them that extra satiny feel.  Same deal with Egyptian cotton thread! 
    • Why buy Egyptian extra-long staple cotton?  1. It's stronger; less breakage.  2.  It's smoother, which means less fuzz in your tension discs and less cleaning in your bobbin case.  Both Masterpiece and King Tut threads are "ELS!" It doesn't need alot of fancy 'treatments' to make it good, because naturally, it's already the best.
    • King Tut and Rainbows spool will also say: "Use Topstitch 90/14" for the needle ---using the right needle is what will make this thread sing to your machine!
    Here's some very good thread... in fact, it's one of my top favorites!  I encourage all my beginning free motion students to use the YLI "Variations" thread (the pink spool and the bottom label in picture below).  Why?  Because it's strong, as it is a polyester.  And... it's pretty!  Because it's a mid-weight thread - 35 weight and two ply, and it's a great value for the money you spend.  It's good not only in the top of your machine, but if you need a pretty thread on the back, it's wonderful in the bobbin, too.  Use a 90/14 microtex, topstitch or metallic needle with it for best results!
    Notice there is a thread from YLI called "Machine Quilting" (spool on the top far right below) and this is 100% cotton, but it is only "LONG staple cotton" - not Egyptian EXTRA LONG staple cotton.  It's still a very good thread, but does have a few more slubs and fuzz on it, as the strands are not as long and smooth. Pretty good as opposed to VERY good (ELS cottons) in the thread/cotton world. You may find you have to clean your tension discs or bobbin area more often with this thread.


    Bottom Line -- well, here it is!  Beautiful and strong polyester 60 wt thread.  Remember, the bigger the number, the smaller the thread... and that is why you can wind 40% MORE on your bobbin!!!  That is a BIG YAY!

    It is absolutely my first choice in the bobbin when I have any type of metallic thread in the top.  Why?  Metallic thread is rough (like a man) and the polyester... smooth... (like a woman!) Less friction, great marriage!  Great compatibility! They get along WELL together; less breakage, smooth interaction...you get my point!  But don't forget to loosen up tho (the top tension that is!)   Bottom Line is also the embroidery maven's choice because it has great VALUE, great STRENGTH, you can wind 40% more on a bobbin because it's so thin, and you have a fabulous COLOR selection.

    Then we have the much bigger topstitch variety of threads.  I've given you samples of two that I have used, and enjoy.  First picture below is the Caryl Fallert BRYTES thread (pictured above and to the right) by Superior threads.  The second picture below is FUSIONS.

    Fusions thread to the left, designed by Laura Heine for YLI threads.  Both of these thicker weights require a 100/16 topstitch needle.

    You can order Fusions from Fiberworks, Laura's beautiful quilt shop in Billings, MT.  I do LOVE the rich colors of this variegated cotton thread.  The label on the cone says it's 24/3, so it's even slightly thicker than a 30 weight.

    Note that the Superior Threads spool cap tells you what needle to use:  100/16.  Actually, the other end of the spool gives you the size, but I'll just tell you cuz I forgot to snap a shot on the other end; it's a beautiful topstitch thread at 30 wt.  It certainly will give your stitches PRESENCE!

    You'd better be sure your stitching looks good when there's this much thread as it will show up big time on your quilting project! I recommend a polyester 40 weight in the bobbin, so the weights are matched and you don't have make such an extreme adjustment in your top tension. 

    Hope this was informative.  Let me know what questions you have!

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