Friday, 27 February 2015

Stopping, starting, snapping, shredding, skipping stitches...

... and a few others Ss (like suffering and swearing!) I can think of associated with FMQ with silver thread.

I have done whole quilts with metallic thread with no problem at all. The previous cushion I showed in the last post presented no difficulty. And then suddenly, the next day it all goes wrong. I have tweaked the tension bottom and top, put in a new needle, changed the size of the needle, re threaded the machine, changed the bobbin thread, taken the race apart and cleaned it... all to no avail.

Here is the next cushion, completed after numerous stops and starts to go over skipped stitches, snapped thread etc.

I can honestly say I did not enjoy quilting this. And  I almost think that this design would have looked better with no quilting. However, since I FMQ the first cushion it needed to match.

I did say in the last post that I would try quilting in red. My  brother-in-law fell in love with the cushions and decided he would like them and wanted the quilting in silver.

I have another 3 to go if I can ever sort out the thread problems. Any ideas gratefully received!!

Thanks for visiting...

Hilary Florence

Please find below a list of linky parties. I may not link with all of the every week, but with some of them most weeks. Please go and have a look at some of the other wonderful quilts and quilters there.

Linky Tuesday at Free motion by  the river­­­­ @
WIP Wednesday at freshly pieced   @
WIP Wednesday at TN + TN  @
I Quilt Thursdays @
Off the wall Fridays @


  1. Hi Hilary: You've done just about everything I would do in your situation. And I have been there! I find that a bead of silicone on the spool of thread sometimes helps with metallic thread. The product I use is Sew Smooth, it's Canadian but I'm sure you can find something similar.
    Good Luck.

  2. I am SO SORRY! I know this feeling, when something that has worked before suddenly quits and makes you crazy. I don't have anything to add to what you've done already except to say that I recently took my machine in for regular servicing (for the first time in 3 years- i know...) after having chronic thread breakage and unsolvable tension problems and it came back running so so much better. They replaced the bobbin case too- so a servicing and new bobbin case might be something to think about. I know it's a pain to get it to the sewing machine place, but it helped so much in my case.... Good Luck! Your pillow looks lovely, so congrats for pushing through!

  3. what a shame! I do know your frustration, too. Sometimes, a spool of thread is just no good. It could be, if this is the same spool as you used on the first cushion, that you ran into a bad section. You tried everything else that I would try, with the last thing being to try a different spool. But you persevered and have a beautiful cushion. I hope the next ones go a whole lot smoother!

  4. Did you try setting the spool in a cup behind your machine rather than on the machine spool holder? Sometimes letting the thread run a bit more free like that helps. That's about my only suggestion other than what you've already tried.

  5. As others have said, it seems like you have tried everything that I would have done. I do sympathize. There have been many times when I wanted to throw the machine through the window. Good luck!

  6. My metallic silver thread is a nightmare to FMQ with. Friends who have the same stuff, have no problems at all. My machine needs a cleaning so I will discuss it with the shopowner, my BIL!
    He is not a fan of metallic threads...
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com

  7. Aargh! I h-a-t-e when that happens.
    I have heard of people running metallic thread with an invisible poly (together from the top), though I've not tried it myself. Yet. Might be worth a shot.
    Also, have you tried standing the spool up, or laying it down - whichever is the opposite of what you've tried?
    Have you changed to a top stitch needle? Fence post sized? (huge!) That is my go-to needle when this kind of nonsense starts, and it usually helps.
    Have you changed back and tried a metallic that you KNOW works? Or even a cotton thread you know will work? Sometimes if you change back, you can tell if it's a machine issue or just an issue with the $%^& thread!
    Good luck!!!

  8. One thing to consider, is your thread crosswound or straight wound? It makes a difference in how you set the spool on your machine. A crosswound thread spool on a vertical thread bar will twist the thread, making it have more friction through the needle. The thread gets hot, and breaks. Crosswound spools (wound diagonally on the spool) should be placed on horizontal pins so the thread comes off the top of the spool. Conversely, threads that are straight wound should be on vertical pins so the spool spins and allows the thread to come off the side of the spool. Hope that helps.

  9. Well, Hilary, I know how frustrating that can be. I did FMQ yesterday and this morning and a few times the tension suddenly went wrong. Rethreading the top thread and replacing the bottom bobbin (sometimes 2 or 3 times in a row) usually solves the problem. Also, giving a break to the sewing machine, and letting it cool done (good for the quilter too...) sometime is the answer. That's only a machine, after all. When we sew like mad for many hours, I guess the metal piece overheat.
    I have read all the comments above and find them good advice. In any case, I find both your pillows quite gorgeous. The silver stripes and thread are amazingly beautiful with the red, pink and purple fabrics. Very, very lovely!

  10. Hello Hilary,

    I have nil advice to offer except this - when you look at the end result, pretend you are somebody else. The cushion is truly beautiful.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

  11. I feel your pain! Metallics and I have a very dysfunctional relationship. Neither my sewing machine nor I like them at all!