I am having an awful time free motion stitching with metallic thread. I have changed the tension, the pivot height, putting the spool in different places and anything else I can think of and it is still breaking. It is quality thread (Sulky) so I know that is not the problem. I noticed it always happens when I am going backwards. I have tried going slower, faster, making sure I am moving the fabric as gently as possible. What am I doing wrong?
Do you have a top-stitch needle, size 14/90. they have a bigger eye which will mean less stress on your thread as you sew.
Here's a link to Sulky's troubleshooting page too.
hope that helps.
redfish21: I noticed it always happens when I am going backwards.
You didn't mention what brand of sewing machine you are using. Some machines are not fond of fmq'g backwards, and yours may be one of them! It may be manageable with your regular thread, but when you put the added stress of metallic thread into the mix...it just may be rebelling! You might try going very, very slowly when you are quilting in the backward direction. Hopefully, that will work.
As a last resort, you might need to turn your quilt to avoid going in the backward direction completely. (Personally, I would rather not use metallic thread than make this choice...but it's your quilt.)
Good luck, and please let us know if you find out what works for you with your machine and metallic thread!
Metallic thread needs a bigger needle (as Jacy pointed it) it also needs to stay flat as it unwinds. Make sure it's not twisting anywhere (spool should be upright).
Make sure the spool doesn't twist back and forth as you change sewing direction. It should be a little snug on the spool pin. Add a felt pad or a straw if the spool has a hole that's much larger than your spool pin.
You also need to lower your top tension. Stitch slower than you do with other threads and make sure your bobbin thread isn't too heavy.
You could also try a different brand of thread. Even though it's a good thread you machine might not like it.
Also make sure you're using the right stabiliser.
Thanks everyone. I will try a few different things. I do have a 90 needle but a quilting so I will try the topstitch needle. I have a Husqvarna Topaz. It is very touchy. Will let you know what works.
I have 2 Viking machines and the tension can get whacky if the bobbin area is full of lint. If that area is clean then the tension may need some adjustment or the machine needs calibration. I use metallic thread all the time and use the 90 topstitch needle and stitch slowly and I do not have a problem.
Although I have never tried FMQ with metallic threads I have done machine embroidery with them. I use a top stitch needle - not only does it have a larger eye but the grove that the thread rides in is more pronounced. I also use a thread net on it.
Another great resource is a Threads Magazine article
A quilt will warm the heart.
Thanks again for everyone's help. I found with my machine to put the metallic thread in the bobbin worked like a charm. This will be perfect when I am doing an all over stipple.
I had heard that using it in the bobbin works best. I plan on giving that a try. Eventually.