Smoother sailing

posted in: Free-motion quilting | 3

fmq05Yesterday while I was practicing my free motion quilting, I was somewhat frustrated that my top thread kept breaking. That’s never fun! And when the thread wasn’t breaking, the quilting stitches were pulling so tight that it was really pulling the fabric in and causing an excessive amount of shrinkage and distortion. I kept playing around with the tension, trying to solve my problem. When it was time for America’s Got Talent to come on, I gave up and emailed the awesome Beth Schillig to see if she could help me with my problem from afar. She’s my own personal expert on the George machine (but I know she’d love to be your own personal expert, too). Sure enough, Beth had some great suggestions, so I thought I’d share them with you, too.

Her first suggestion was to shorten the distance that the thread has to travel before it gets to the tension disks. On a George, if you put the spool of thread where you would need to put a cone of thread, it must travel 40″ before it gets to the tension disks. I pulled out a pretty blue crochet hook (I don’t know how to crochet, so I don’t know why I have the hook to begin with!) and some blue duct tape, and I taped the hook right above the tension disks. Now the thread only travels 7″.

fmq03Beth’s second suggestion was to change the type of thread I was using. I had been using Superior’s Rainbows thread in my machine, and it kept breaking. Beth said she had experienced trouble with that thread on a George, too. She suggested switching to Superior’s Magnifico. Both are 40 weight polyester threads, but the Magnifico thread is a high tenacity thread. I assume that means it can undergo more stress and tension before breaking.

fmq04aAnd, do you know what? It worked! I stitched for just about an hour this morning with absolutely no thread breakage. And, the quilting was smooth with little pulling or shrinkage! You can see on the back that there were a couple places where the quilting got messed up a little, so I am still fiddling around with the tension, trying to make it perfect, but I am much happier now 🙂

3 Responses

  1. Maxine Thomas

    Yay! So glad to see you experimenting and thanks for the tips. Did you try the silk thread yet?

  2. Connie

    Thanks for sharing Beth’s tip about shortening the distance between the spool and the disks. Love all the great tips that Beth has!