How to Make Your Embroidery Thread Behave

comments (1) June 4th, 2008     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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Did you know that there is a right end to your embroidery thread when
threading a needle? It’s true. If you thread the cut end of your
embroidery thread through the needle’s eye, you’ll have a much easier
time embroidering.
If your thread twists up (left) when you bring your hands and thread ends together, try putting your spool of
thread on in the other direction. If your threads hang side by side (right) when you bring your hands together, your spool is fine as is.
Did you know that there is a right end to your embroidery thread when
threading a needle? It’s true. If you thread the cut end of your
embroidery thread through the needle’s eye, you’ll have a much easier
time embroidering.

Did you know that there is a "right" end to your embroidery thread when threading a needle? It’s true. If you thread the cut end of your embroidery thread through the needle’s eye, you’ll have a much easier time embroidering.

Photo: Courtesy of Sharon Nason

Have you ever noticed when you're hand embroidering that sometimes your thread runs smoothly through the fabric, and other times, it snags, knots up, and breaks? Hand stitching is suppose to be soothing and theraputic, but it’s won't be if you’re fighting with the thread all the time. One of the primary causes for naughty thread is that you may be threading the wrong end into the eye of the needle. The end that you cut should be the end that goes through the needle’s eye. On the advice of several of my expert hand-embroiderers, I tried it, and I had much better success with thread that was going through the needle the right way. Who knew?

I also noticed that I had problems if I cut too long of a piece of thread. It seemed that more than 15 or so inches was much harder to manage, and it got fuzzy as I went along.

These same thread issues hold true for machine embroidery. If you are embroidering along and find that your thread keeps breaking, it could be in the way that you put the spool on the horizontal spool pin. In my experience, the most vulnerable thread types for this particular problem is cross-wound rayon thread and small 250-yard spools of Sulky rayon. Watch the thread as it spools off into your machine. If it’s twisting and looping as it disappears into the thread path, it's only a matter of time before disaster strikes! Take the thread off, and put it on the spool pin in the opposite direction. It should spool off without twisting and looping.

Before you start sewing, do a quick test to see whether your thread will have trouble looping:

  • Put the spool on your machine.
  • Take an 18-inch piece of thread off the spool, and hold one end in each hand.
  • Hold your hands about 12 inches apart, and slowly bring your hands together, holding the ends of the thread.

If the thread twists together as you bring your hands together, as shown at left in the illustration above, it will loop and twist as you embroider, so take it off and put it on the other way.

If each length of thread hangs next to each other, as shown at right in the illustartion above, it can stay put the way it is.

This can happen if you are using your vertical spool pin, too, but usually the vertical spool is more forgiving than the horizontal position. Generally, thread tends to behave better in the vertical position because of the way it comes off the spool. Think of how toilet paper comes off the roll. The roll itself is turning, allowing the toilet paper to come off without any twisting. When you use the vertical spool pin, the spool is standing upright and it turns, allowing the thread to come off without twisting. This is especially helpful when you are at the end of your spool and the thread is forced to come up over the end of the spool in the horizontal position.

I never gave a thought to how I was putting my thread on my embroidery machine until this was pointed out to me. When I discovered how much of a difference this made in my sewing experience, I was amazed. I hope you'll find this little tidbit helpful the next time your thread is breaking and you’re ready to throw your machine out the window!

 

 

posted in: embroidery, thread test

Comments (1)

granitatogo writes: Good to know!
Posted: 12:23 pm on October 24th
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