Much to my delight, this is my first year anniversary. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
As my gift to you, you can download my Garden Sayings for free, just click this link. These were in my Badgemaster blog, here is a photo of them.
The flowers are from Floral Accent Design Pack and are the perfect size for adding to the sayings. In addition to placing these sayings on kitchen towels, you can also do them in a set of cloth sheets suitable for framing.
For my anniversary posting, I decided on some trouble shooting ideas. Like all my posts, these are my thoughts and experiences, your experiences may vary. If you have other suggestions, please add it in the commenting area. We all benefit from differing viewpoints and ideas.
A Newbie will complain about puckering from their first project. I know I did. Density can be a cause, but it is more likely to be the stabilizer weight relative to the weight of the fabric/design. As a really general rule, the lighter the fabric, the heavier the stabilizer should be used and vice versa. When I work with a newbie, I usually have them do their first project on denim for several reasons, one of which is they are likely to have great results getting them off to a terrific start. A tear-away is just fine for denim for most uses.
Accurate stabilizer use comes with experience. I have a ‘general’ philosophy - projects are often under stabilized, but over stabilization is rare. You don’t want to weigh down your project with stabilizer, but floating a piece beneath your hoop can save a project.
Improper hooping could be an issue as well. Be sure that the hooped item neither sags nor is too tight. When you release it from the hoop, there should be no movement of the fabric/design.
An outline does not match up with the design. The first time I had this problem, the outline was a full quarter inch off the design. The problem with this issue is that you have completed 95% of the design – probably 35,000 stitches, and then the outline fails. Occasionally, this is the fault of the digitizer, but, it is almost always an under-stabilized project. You usually cannot save a project at this point unless it is a very small opening. In that case, you may be able to fill in a small gap with a ‘Sharpie’ or other marker.
Generally speaking tear away is the least stabile of them all. Tear away is made from fibers pressed together to make a sheet. Look through one into a light and you will see scraps and threads holding it together. On the other hand, Cutaway is stronger making it difficult or impossible to tear.
Design is not sewing out correctly. You need to be sure that the armature is free from walls or other objects. If your needle gets stuck or jammed in a thread entanglement, you may find that the arm has moved or not moved and could be off its correct position.
If you have stitches looping under your fabric, you probably have a tension issue. I recommend that you test your tension regularly. That tension test for your specific format is available in my blog on needles. The following configurations show sewing versus embroidering tensions. Photo courtesy of Design in Machine Embroidery Magazine.
This general information goes for the bobbin thread showing up on the top as well. However, if the bobbin thread is coming through to the top, you need to rethread your bobbin because there is a tension area that may have been missed when the stitch was created. After rethreading, you should feel a small amount of tension as you pull thread from your bobbin.
I recently read a suggestion for bottom loops that made good sense to me – what do you think? – It was suggested that you always thread your needle in the embroidery foot in the down position. The reason was that the initial span of thread will be ‘in the correct tension’ as you begin as opposed to being ‘out of the tension’ as you stitch the very first stitches of your design.
Thread issues can also lead to needle breaking. Needles break if they are slightly bent or if the thread is being held tight by a mechanism problem. Place the needle on a flat surface to check for bends. An extremely dense design could cause breakage as well. If you hear your machine pounding on the design rather than piercing it, you could have a density issue. You can try a smaller needle, but the best bet is to avoid dense designs. Density issues would be discovered during your test sewout. There are many reasons for a sewout; density is just one of them.
If your top thread is breaking try some of these ideas:
You may have an old spool of thread. You may have purchased it yesterday, but it could have been on the shelf somewhere for a year or more, causing the fibers to dry. Additionally, if a spool is dropped and there is a ‘ding’ in the thread, that portion of the spool should be removed because the integrity of the thread has been compromised. Test a few feet of thread between your index and thumb to feel for imperfections, you could have a bad spool.
If you really need to use a dry spool for color matching, etc., you can use ‘Sewer’s Aid’ available at fabric stores. Sewer’s Aid is silicon in an expensive bottle. Silicon has no oil in it, but it could spot some delicate fabrics, so use with care. I use the spray on silicon from the auto parts department; however, I am very careful with it. For instance, I spray the thread against a background of newspapers or scrap fabrics. I give it short bursts of silicon around the spool and allow it to dry for about 2 minutes. Do not rethread your machine until it is entirely dry. Never use silicon in or around your machine!!
Check your horizontal spool pin and make sure to place the ‘cap’ (white disk to hold spool) securely against the spool. If it is not snug, the thread can wind around the spool causing breaking. Some spools still have a nick on the end to hold the thread when not in use. Again, that ‘cap’ is needed to keep it from catching and holding the thread back.
Check your needle, it could have a ‘burr’ in the eye, if so, discard it properly where it cannot do harm to people or pets.
If you experience Bobbin Thread breakage, I suggest that when you change your needle (at 8 hours, or for different projects, etc.) remove my bobbin case and thoroughly clean out the area. I use a clean Q-Tip to collect the lint/dust. Use tweezers to remove small thread pieces.
Prewound bobbins are one of the best items in your arsenal of tools for machine embroidery. The winding, unlike homemade ones, is consistent and holds more thread allowing for more sewing between replacing a bobbin. If you are winding your own bobbins, be sure to use bobbin thread available at your embroidery store. It is a lighter weight and helps to create a more professional design.
Be sure to check your manual to get the correct bobbin size for your machine. There are two sizes for the home embroiderer, ‘A’ or ‘L’ which look a lot alike. They are the same size in diameter, but the height of the ‘A’ is a bit taller than the ‘L.’
If you are working with a fabric which has loft (terry cloth, velvet, etc.), make sure to use a water soluble stabilizer on top. I also use a top stabilizer if I am doing very small lettering. It makes it easier to clip the jump stitches and it also helps the lettering to stand out just a little better.
No matter what the issue, nothing beats a discussion with a good technician. If possible, buy your machine from a reputable dealer with in-house technicians. The sales people are nice, and some even experienced, but a tech is going to be your BFF in so many ways.
There are hundreds of more tips and tricks, add your favorite now!