January 02, 2012

Tips for Glitter Thread

I wanted to take a moment today to share with you how I loaded my Janome 1600P with Glitter Thread for quilting.  My glitter thread from Superior Threads came with an insert for use, which was likely included as their glitter thread is the only thread guaranteed to work in all sewing machines and if you have difficulties they will work with you to over come them.  This is not an ad and I'm receiving no compensation, and it is doubtful anyone from that company will know I posted this.  Instead I am merely posting my images and tips as FYI.  The insert as well as a direct email confirmation told me to use a thin bobbin thread weight thread in the bobbin so I took out my old stand by cone of Madeira bobbin thread (it's 60 wt. 100% polyester).

As you can see from the above picture this thread is not cross wound.  AKA you can't see the thread making "X"s over itself on the spool.  That means it should load from the side.  Midarm machines are not really designed for threads that but my tips should help you thread your machine and reduce the tension so that you too can use them.

Look again at the picture above.  First notice that I have elevated the spool.  This is a small spool as most glitter threads are and needs to be up higher to allow for smooth feeding from the side.  Next  note that I have bypassed the thread hook because that would feed the thread from the top and we don't want that.  Also I have caught the thread with the hook for previously used exclusively for bobbin winding.  This is because I found simply letting the thread droop caused it to catch on the spool pin under it.

Now the thread simply trails from the above hook across to the pre-tensioner.  I had some difficultly finding the sweet spot way of handling this.  In checking the manual it says for pickier threads (I doubt it said picky) you can run the thread simply through the first hole in the pretensioner instead of running it in and out and back in like normal.  I have included two angles of the machine so that you can see what the thread path I am talking about.

After running the thread differently through the pretensioner as mentioned above I ran it normally through the rest of the machine.

Now turn the tension down.  Way down.  Loose.  Never thought you'd have the tension so loose kind of loose.

Thread that that is to tight will curl. To test this stitch a bit and stop.  Cut the threads (I don't recommend using the thread cutter as the ends are to short and it will be easier to tuck in the threads it you cut them with scissors)  What does the glitter thread do after you cut it?  Does it look like curling ribbon after you prettied it up with the scissors?  Or does it lay flat?  Flat and loose is good.  Curling, any curling is bad.

What does curled thread have to do with anything?  The curl is made by tension stretching on the thread. That means the tension is tight.  Had you sewn more and more the tension would have gotten tighter and tighter until the thread simply popped and broke under the strain.

As other Janome mid arm 1600 users will understand I can't tell you what "number" I had the tension set at because the pre-tensioner makes that impossible.  What I will instead say is that I spun the lower tensioner down until I was concerned about how loose the knob was, tightened it back up to mid way lowered tension on the pretensioner and then adjusted the bottom one again.  Once adjusted I was good to go and all of the names quilted out beautifully.

Which reminds me.  When I had the tension to tight and didn't know about looking for the curl in the thread, the glitter thread sunk into the quilt and the names were harder to read.  When I fixed the tension I knew it was right because the names of the students on the Teach-In Quilt really stood out after only one pass and I didn't feel the need to quilt them a second time through to make them pop.

I hope these tips helped and that your project will turn out even better than you'd hoped.  I'd love to hear from you so drop me a line and tell me about it.

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