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Sunday, October 26, 2014


Are you having problems with breakage or puckering or looping or shredding? How do you troubleshoot the problem?

There are many players in the perfect stitch game. The machine, the thread, the needle, the tension settings, the batting or backing, the fabric, the thread path and thread guides, speed, use of lubricants or adhesives, thread delivery system, and perhaps even the weather. Here is an easy and practical guide to problem solving.

First, determine if the problem lies with the machine or with the thread. If you experience breakage or other problems with a particular spool of thread, put on another spool of the exact same type of thread (same brand, same type, and same thread weight) and test it, without changing any of the other variables or settings. It is OK to use a different color. If the second spool works perfectly fine, we might have an easy fix. Try the first spool again. If it works this time, it was probably a threading mistake and the problem is solved. If the original spool still does not work, we can conclude that it might be a bad spool and needs to be replaced. If the same problems occur with a second spool of identical thread, it's time to look at other areas.

1. Thread quality and usage. Are you using a good quality thread? Are you using it in the intended manner? Inexpensive serger thread found in bargain bins at discount stores are not intended for machine quilting. Fine, lightweight piecing threads may not be suitable for high speed longarm quilting. Linty and inexpensive threads may not be suitable for your application. Decorative heavier threads may be intended for couching, serger, and bobbin work; not for the needle. 

2. Needle. Shredding is often the result of thread passing through a needle that is too small. It's like trying to lace up shoes with a shoelace that is too thick for the shoe eyelet. It will shred and eventually break. Some styles of needles have larger eyes than others. For home machines, the Topstitch and Metallic needles have the largest eyes and really do make a difference. Size 90/14 is recommended for medium to heavy threads and any sensitive thread. It seems that most stores I visit sell metallic needles, but they are almost always size 80/12. That is too small for metallic threads. Change to a 90/14. It is estimated that up to 10% of needles have some imperfections. Even if your needle is new, try another new one.

Next issue: more troubleshooting

from Bob Purcell of Superior Threads

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Cutwork lace monogram
designs have leafy flourishes
for a regal look. No jump
stitches in the one color

~ Chenille Effect Leaves ~

Chenille effect technique, all in the hoop! Stunning
textural leaves for wearable art and home decorating!

Now at special intro pricing.

Fall Pin

The 2" pin is made in your
embroidery hoop to adorn
your lapel, a tote bag or vest.

Complete instructions.

Religious 1 & 2

Miniature designs
for various religions
and philosophies.

Both sets on sale.

Half-price, today only!

Fall 2014

7 delightful designs to
celebrate the joys of

Pirates of the Seas

A collection of 18 fun pirate
themed embroidery designs!

Includes In-the-Hoop eye
patch project, perfect for
that Halloween costume.

Topstitch Needle

These fit most home
embroidery and sewing machines,
made to precise specifications for
trouble-free stitching. The titanium
coating gives them durability for
fewer needle changes.

Fall Lights

A great way to make that trick or
treat bag special...with LIGHTS! OR
just make a fall wall hanging. Fun and
easy. If you plan on using it as a tote,
best to use the battery operated light
because it is too hard to find those
really long extension cords.

Fall Harvest
Gingham Napkins

Casual cotton gingham napkins
in your choice of Red Cider or
Chestnut Brown, perfect for
any fall family meal.

Glitter Owl Crystal Kit

What a fun design! Enough
crystals to embellish two owls.

Design sold by Hatched in Africa.

Stitch up these fun
Candy Bar Holders
for great holiday treats.
A snowman is also included.

Owl Family Set #3

Four fun designs, featuring
one, two, three and four owls.
Each design in four sizes, for
a total of 16 design files.


Make the pieces to
this dollhouse in your
embroidery hoop. So
many details!

Easy assembly.

ITH Lace Owl Window Hangers

Very easy to do in a 5x7 hoop. Intro Offer!

Sunbonnet Witches

Fun designs for a
not too scary look.



for the 4x4 hoops

Make these very quick
Ghost Ornaments for Halloween
decorations. They only take between
2 to 6 minutes to stitch. Detailed
instructions included. There are
9 different faces included.

StitchFun News
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