I have to admit, that I really am loving this machine quilting project I’m taking on. Things are going so well–in a million years I would have never thought I’d be so pleased with how nice it’s turning out. It’s a big surprise to me.


thread problem

My only big issue at this point is that I’ve been having some problems with my thread. It’s not constant, but every so often, it seems to bind up in the needle (or possibly further back in the machine, I’m not real sure) and breaks off. I’m using Coats and Clark 100% cotton machine quilting thread, but I’ve heard before that some machines (especially the higher end models) tend to be picky about what threads work well in them. I’m confused only because I’ve used this thread in my machine since I first got it for piecing and pretty much all other sewing and I’ve never had issues with it. My plan is to try some other threads for the next quilt I sew, but if anyone has dealt with this before and has ideas I’d appreciate it!


still churning away

I’m about three-quarters of the way finished! I’m hoping to have the quilting all done by the end of the week!

12 Thoughts on “thread issues

  1. I use Gutermann polyester thread……I read about it here.
    http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/2009/03/quilt-along-14-freemotion-quilting.html
    I like the way it looks. Only me preference though :)
    Xx Aimee

  2. I had a lot of issues with thread when I started, too. The two things I did that helped were:
    1. Switched thread brands. I had been using Coats and Clark, which seemed to break often while free motion quilting (although, like you, I’d had zero issues with basic piecing or sewing, or even straight line quilting; I imagine that free motion quilting just puts a lot more stress on the thread). I had much better results with Sulky and Guttermann.
    2. Switched needle size. I typically use a 70/10 or 80/11, and neither worked great for free motion quilting. The needle broke too easily, and I think the smaller hole made the thread more prone to breaking, too. I’ve decided I like a 100/16 for free motion quilting.
    Your quilt is looking beautiful! Great job!!

  3. Jessie on January 6, 2011 at 7:42 am said:

    Have you broken a needle lately?? It may not be the thread at all, maybe the thread is just getting caught on something. I would give my machine a good cleaning, change my needle, and try again. I usually have to do that about half way through machine quilting a quilt. The consistency of you thread comes with practice. A co-worker/friend of mind helped me learn to machine quilt by having me write my name over and over on a scrap. Happy Quilting. :)

  4. sometimes this will happen to me when I’m doing free motion quilting if I go too fast or when I go over an intersection of seams. It has happened to me even with top quality heavier weight thread. For me it’s usually the seams that do it. I would also use a bigger size needle 90/14 or so.

  5. I am not a quilter (yet) but I do sew quite a bit. I have a Bernina and when I bought the machine, they told me that some threads wouldn’t be good for the machine. They made a point of mentioning not to use Coats and Clark. I ignored them since I had some C&C already and wanted to use it. Didn’t work. The thread kept breaking. If you are advanced enough to change the thread tension on your machine, then you could make it work. I’m not ready to go there. Now I buy what is recommended so I’m not irritated through my projects. I am starting to branch out on threads but I look around online first for Bernina users that use that thread and have reviewed it first.

  6. My mom said that happens a lot when thread is old. I have one spool of thread that breaks constantly when you free motion with it, but is OK for straight stitching. (Whereas I free motion with other spools and they are fine, no breaking, and they are the same brand thread as the breaker.) Is it just happening on that spool, or is it happening when you move on to a new one as well?
    Also needle size can make a difference: I use a 70/80 for piecing and a 90 for quilting (both straight line and free motion).

  7. I use C&C on my Bernina without much trouble but I’ve noticed much better results during free motion quilting when I don’t drop my feed dogs. Try it without dropping them and see if that helps! If your machine grabs too much with them up there are products that you can use to cover them like this: http://www.daystyledesigns.com/supremeslider.htm

  8. Changing the needle seems to fix the problem when this happens to me – and sometimes I have had my needle in backwards which has caused funky things to happen. I’m glad to read all this other advice people have offered too!

  9. I tend to get broken thread (although not quilting) when there’s something going on down in the bobbin area. I need to clean & oil it pretty frequently too keep things running smoothly.

  10. I was going to suggest a needle change – it’s the fast motion that can strip thread sometimes – so just turn her off for a few, change her needle, whisper sweet nothings in her ear, and try again in about 10, after the motor’s had a chance to chill for a bit. 😉

  11. I use thread from Connectingthreads.com. It’s cheap and good quality. I don’t ever use Coats and Clark… call me suspicious but my grandmother told me years ago never to use it, and I just believed her!

  12. Change your needle – a tiny burr on the needle can cause the thread to fray and strip. Consider using a slightly larger needle. Remove your bobbin and clean the area, then re-thread both the bobbin and top thread to eliminate any tension issues. I use a machine quilting frame so some of my issues are different than yours, but it took me months to get the darn thing working properly. I eventually put up a page on my blog of all of the things to check when quilting on a frame. Some of the suggestions might help you if you continue to have trouble.

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