Machine Experiments with 12 Weight Thread : Part 1

Adding to this post over time will allow me to keep track of what I try with this very thick thread. I resort to hand stitching when that is the ONLY way to get the effect I want. Superior Threads has a new thread that looks delicious for both hand sewing and also mentioned that their Sew Sassy 12 wt/3-ply Polyester thread can be run through a machine. This thread is kinda fuzzy and thick and looks like cotton, but doesn’t break like cotton. I know that you can put just about anything in a bobbin. But Superior mentioned running it through a needle!?! Really? I have to try this.

Experiment 1: Using 12 wt Sew Sassy on the Innova Longarm

Working on a improvisational modern quilt, I wanted to try out comic book drawing theory. The basic idea is that thin lighter lines that more closely match the background recede into the distance while heavier bolder thicker lines come forward into the foreground. I quilted the background with 60 wt Bottom Line thread. I also quilted some of the shapes that should appear towards the back of the arrangement with 50 wt and 40 weight threads. One shape should appear to be floating out on top in the front and I though I would try Sew Sassy 12 wt. Also to echo the plan on the back of the quilt, I decided to use the Sew Sassy in the bobbin also. I figured that it would be easier to balance the tension if the same thread were in the top and bottom of the machine.

Need a Big Needle

Superior recommends a size 21 needle. , a very THICK needle. Necessary as this thread is very thick.

I had to “loosen” the bobbin tension screw as the thread is thicker and effectively caused a tight tension. I use the TOWA gauge and got it to about 180. That is what I aim for no matter the size of the thread.

Timing adjustments may be necessary

Test sewing showed very odd results. The stitching shows that this super thick needle is actually deflecting during stitching. This needle is so thick it should not be deflecting at all. I slowly turned the machine by hand through one stitch cycle. I believe I will have to re-time the machine with the thick needle in place.
I will try this out after I get this particular quilt off the frame.

Fabric Type Matters

Also the thickness of the needle is causing some problems with the cotton quilt backing fabric. It is spreading the weave apart so much that it looks like the fabric might easily tear at this stitching line. I do think with a very loose weave fabric such as wool, felt or even burlap (art quilt anyone?) that it will be very possible to use Sew Sassy in the needle on my long arm.

Possible Next Tests with 12 wt Sew Sassy:

Try using a fabric with thicker fibers and looser weave.
Reset Bobbin distance and timing so I can use a 21 needle on my longarm.
Make sure to adjust tension both in the bobbin and top tension assembly.

Hummingbird courtesy of Layne

20130705-023624.jpgMy friend, Layne, posts all kinds of wonderful pictures on her Facebook account. She shared a wonderful hummingbird feeding from a flower last week. I decided today, my first full day off in six weeks that I’d do it up in fabric.

I like how it turned out though there are some things I would redo a little differently. I learn a little from each piece that I create. I would cut my layers of fabric more carefully and closer to,the stitching line. I would also take more time during the couching step. I would also,use a more appropriate foot for my machine. I left my two favorite couching feet at the shop. So, I made do ny using a 3/8 inch rolled hemmer foot instead. It worked great for guiding the yarn and thread, but it would have worked better with fuzzier or thicker yarn.

So, I learned that a hemmer foot will,work for couching. It doesn’t turn corners well. It needs to have its channel filled up. And, I had fun anyway and made a pretty geegaw for my sewing room.