I'm not a great lover of monofilament thread, but it seemed perfect for a project I wanted to quilt. As the fabrics I was using were dark, I purchased a brand new spool of good quality smoke thread.
I've used monofilament a few times before, so I had picked up a few tips along the way - use polyester thread in the bobbin and lower the needle tension by at least two. I did a few sample test runs to get the tension just right and it all looked good. HOWEVER, every time I started stitching on my quilt, the thread broke! I tried four or five times. Each time I would think, this time we are OK, but after 4 or 5 inches, snap again. In the end, I put the thread away deciding it must have been in the shop for a long time and had become brittle. It was our Church banner I was working on, and I ended up quilting it with black cotton thread:
Last week, I was ready to quilt a wall-hanging with lots of ditch stitching and thought about that smoke monofilament again. It really was just the right thread for this project. Same process - a sample to get the tension correct. Same result - broken thread after just a few inches. Then I had an AHA moment!
I recently enrolled in one of the Craftsy free online classes called Piece, Patch, Quilt. It is a really basic course but I thought that there is always something new one can learn. And I did! I wasn't aware that thread is wound onto spools in different ways. Did you know that? Threads are either cross-wound or stacked. Cross-wound thread, forming an X on the spool, winds off from the centre and is best if the spool lies horizontally, which is the way I always place my thread on my Bernina 440. However, stacked thread, running parallel around the spool, comes off the top and therefore the spool should sit vertically.
I had a good look at that monofilament again. Sure enough, it is a stacked thread. Maybe that is why it didn't cope with being laid horizontally on the machine. It was worth a try changing it to an upright position ... hey presto! ... would you believe, I quilted the whole wall quilt with no breaking thread problems whatever! (I forgot to take a photo, so here's something else pretty to look at:)
There are a couple of other things you can try with monofilament also. Sometimes a metallic needle works better than a standard one and if you are having a problem with the bobbin thread showing on the right side, and you have a front loader bobbin, you can try threading the cotton through the hole in the end of the bobbin case which gives it just a little added tension. I hope some of those hints help in your managing of monofilament.
I love summer, not only for the lovely warm temperatures, but for the wonderful variety of fruit that is available - stone fruit, melons, grapes, mangoes etc. I always wish the season would last the whole year. Well it sort of does in our household. I have been preserving for 40 odd years on and off, so have been at it again over the last month. We now have enough fruit for our morning cereal to last the whole year - about 50 bottles!
One of the side effects of summer is that the grass grows extra quickly! Our back yard was looking as if it needed quite a bit of attention, so my husband mowed yesterday while I took care of the edges. One lone little green ant did not like the fact that I invaded his territory so now I have a huge, hot, itchy, bite on my knee. I seem to be allergic to their stings and have tried all sorts of 'cures' over the years. The Vick's Vaporub doesn't seem to have worked this time, though I guess I should be thankful it has kept the swelling to about 2 inches. It's also ignoring the 'Stop Itch' cream, so I guess it's time to try something else!
Some more of my silk ribbon embroidery has appeared in Stunning Country Craft Vol 25 No 1:
The Wishing Well drawer sachet uses lovely Kacoonda hand-dyed silk ribbon and silk threads. I love working with such beautiful products:
Just looking at those flowers makes me want to get going on another silk ribbon project! I have one ready to go so hopefully it will happen this week.