Sometimes the inexplicable happens. Like when I’m working on a piece that has a looming deadline and all of a sudden this happens:
Now this has happened before-in fact this is a photo from a previous post, appropriately entitled “My Torturous Trek to Terrific Thread Tension”. My tension was actually good, except in the loopy parts.
And I gotta tell you, tension problems usually are torturous-you try this, you try that, you have some chocolate, drink some wine, try something else. That post is still a good lesson in solving tension issues and is worth a read if you didn’t catch it the first time.
And when you have a new spool and the sticker on the top covers the hole, don’t just smash your spool holder through it-check out this thread tension epiphany post where I show why that can lead to big-time tension issues.
But this time, the problem was clearly not the thread, needle, batting or fabric. So what the heck was it? Maybe my machine? I was using my Bernina 185. She came back into service when I sent my Bernina 730 in The Punishment Room for misbehaving, as I wrote about here. I thought changing machines might fix the problem. Nope. I still had the same problem.
I even double checked and made sure that the 730 was not in Diva Mode:-/ Nope.
My default Last Ditch Move is always to call Superior Threads. You need to know: if you are using a Superior Threads product and you have trouble, call them. You’ll talk to a person, a real person! And, you don’t even go through a cue, they just answer. the. phone!
So I got Carrie (sp?) on the line. We went through all the typical problems and none of them seemed likely. Then she said something that surprised me-she suggested putting the spool on its side. I was using Sew Fine and it’s on a straight wound spool-they are supposed to be placed upright, not on their side.
Let me divert here with a short lesson on the correct orientation of your thread spool. When I teach, I teach thread, tension and needle issues according to The Gospel of Superior Threads. They are the best source of information on thread related issues that I have found. According to the Superior Book of Thread Orientation:
Cross-wound threads should be positioned so that the thread comes off the top of the spool-
or this way. Either way, the spool does not move as the thread is unfurled.
Conversely, straight-wound spools should be oriented so that the thread comes off the side. Now the spool moves as the thread unfurls.
Threads are wound at the factory to come off the spool in the prescribed way. If you orient your spool the “wrong” way, it introduces a twist to the thread, kind of like you get with your garden hose. That can cause tension and stitch issues. So, it’s all about the twisting of the thread.
So, when Carrie suggested I put the spool the “wrong” way, I asked why. Since I had the spool in its upright position, the spool was turning as the thread unwound. That can create drag. Normally that is not an issue. Since no other fix was working, I tried putting my spool on its side….and it fixed the problem-yippee!
Bottom Line (a pun that only a hard core thread geek will understand)-if you have weird tension or stitch issues, try orienting the spool the other direction. It may be just the fix you need.
You may have glazed over by now. I guess it’s really clear by now-I am a Thread Geek. Yes, I admit it. And, my tension has to be Perfect. That’s just me.
And I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday-there are always really good links so check it out!