This week I’m looking at free motion quilting on a domestic machine with WonderFil’s Konfetti, Tutti and Fabulux threads, and yesterday, I gave an overview of the three threads. Today, I’m sharing valuable tips for better stitching with Fabulux.
TIP 1 Thread Tamer and Wonder Guard
WonderFil threads don’t have any starches, waxes or glazes on the threads. These finishes are used to keep the threads from unwinding or twisting but they can gum up the machine a bit. WonderFil recommends a Thread Tamer to give the thread a chance to relax and unwind naturally. Make sure the thread travels down to the machine. The thread stand solves a lot of tension issues that many quilters don’t even realize they’re having.
Another thing you may want to use is a Wonder Guard. Wonder Guards are plastic self sticking wraps. If you look at the base of the thread spool, you’ll notice there’s no little gap to secure the end of the thread. This is intentional on WonderFil’s part. The thread doesn’t get caught and cause stitching problems, and these spools are less expensive to manufacture and the savings are passed onto the sewers. WonderFil has packages of 10 Wonder Guards to wrap around your thread spool to keep it clean as well as to secure the threads from unwrapping when not in use.
But did you know that you can use the Wonder Guard while you’re stitching? Loosely wrap the Wonder Guard around the spool of thread and place it on the spool holder. The Wonder Guard acts like thread net, but results in a much smoother thread release.
TIP 2 Needles
I was once shown how to test my needle size. Thread a length of chosen thread onto the needle you want to use. Move the ends of the thread up and down to see if the needle will slide freely along the length of thread. If the thread slides slowly or tends to stick, choose a larger needle. If the thread seems to slide too easily, try a smaller needle.
The thread needs to sit in the groove down the front of the needle. If the needle is too small or the thread too big, it will sit outside the groove. As the needle goes through the fibers of the fabric, the thread will rub and shred. My little picture above shows a cross section of the needle [red] and the thread [orange] inside the groove.
Every quilter and sewer I know has their favorite brand and type of needles. We’ll often choose what we know and what is most readily available. I have my favorites, but the key is to choose the correct needle for the type of thread you’re using. My preferred needles for quilting with Fabulux is a size 80/12 or 90/14 Topstitch needle. The needle itself is the middle of the size range, but the size of the groove down the front and the eye of the needle is larger. This allows for the quilter to use a smaller needle with a thicker thread.
TIP 3 Tension
Polyester thread is naturally stretchy. When it is under tension as it is in your tension disks and thread guides, it can stretch. This will affect the tension and may cause your threads to break. You may want to ease off on your needle tension and possibly your bobbin tension to keep an even stitch. Remember that your two threads should wrap around each other within the layers of your quilt. As the thread runs through the thread guides it can heat up and possibly stretch. This is another reason to ease off the tension and sew a bit slower than full speed.
Make a test sandwich and quilt before attempting any tension changes.
You’ll also want to work with a longer stitch length for maximum shine!
Tomorrow I’m going to show some quilting samples that I stitched with Fabulux. Read on to find out why I say FABULUX IS FABULOUS!