The Joys of Metallic Thread!!!

Today, I want to tell you about using that “dreaded” metallic thread in our home embroidery machines that sew every other kind of thread so beautifully.

Metallic thread is known for being problematic when it comes to doing embroidery on our home machines.  However, if you know how to work with it, you will love how beautiful it looks, especially in your holiday designs. The sparkle metallic thread gives the design, just makes the design look so gorgeous.

The first thing you do is SLOW DOWN YOUR MACHINE. Our machines work so fast that the thread has a tendency to heat up, then stretch and break. I slow mine down as far as they can go to 350 or 400 speed.

Next, you must have the thread feeding off the spool the same way it is wound on the spool. Don’t lay it sideways in your thread holder. The thread will twist as it feeds into the machine. Second, DON”T put the thread standing upright in a cup or thread stand along side the machine. The thread will still twist as it comes off the thread. Instead, lay the thread on it’s side in a cup so it feeds off the thread the same way it is wound on the spool. Again, the object is not to let the thread twist as it feeds into the machine.

Another way is to put the metallic thread on a secondary thread  holder on your machine if you have one, providing it will let the thread feed off the spool the old fashioned way our old machines used to do.  There are some new attachments you can purchase from sewing supply stores such as Sewing Supply Warehouse or Nancy’s Notions. (links on the right). These are neat and work very well.

When purchasing metallic thread, remember there are many different brands and thicknesses. Floriani has one that has a polyester base and sews out beautifully. Madeira sells a couple different types of metallic. One thicker and one standard. Also, Sulky makes a nice metallic. These are only a few of the brands that make metallic. Shop around and try different brands until you find the one you like and most importantly, the one your machine likes.

If you read my blog on Needles, then you know it is advisable to use a metallic needle. These needles have a slightly larger eye opening so as to let the thread flow easily.

One final piece of advice I have learned. Don’t choose a design that is so dense that you will risk breaking the thread in the needle, or the thread in your design.  Let your metallic be a highlight on a design. Why not  decorate a Christmas towel with a beautiful design that will show off that pretty metallic thread. If you want to be adventurous, Try making the Anitagoodesign special edition called GOLDEN TAPESTRY.  This one was made by Cindy at Expert Sewing. She used Floriani metallic thread and it was sewn on Silk Dupioni fabric. cindy-tapestry-sm

If you have any questions about sewing with metallics, please feel free to contact me. I will answer all questions as best I can. Don’t be afraid to  try it. Just remember the do’s and don’ts of using this lovely edition to your embroidery.

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Be sure to check out past blogs to see some interesting articles about sewing, embroidery and quilting.

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A Needle In A Haystack (Sewing Box)

No, we are not going to look for needles in a haystack, but we do need to dig out all those needles in our sewing box and organize them. I teach an  Embroidery 101 workshop, which covers the use of stabilizer, threads and needles. It still surprises me when my students ask me the difference […]

Sorry I haven’t posted a new blog lately, but I’ve been sooo busy and I went away for the holidays to Pennsylvania during the time they had 1 degree temps and -10 wind chill. Brrrr!!!

Back to sunny Florida and I taught a class this week that my students asked about “why so many different needles”? So, I decided to re run my needle blog as a refresher of, why so many different needles.

I have several new blogs in the works and will get them ready for you as soon as I can. Now, read on and thank you for your support and good comments.

No, we are not going to look for needles in a haystack, but we do need to dig out all those schmetz-machine-needlesneedles in our sewing box and organize them. I teach an  Embroidery 101 workshop, which covers the use of stabilizer, threads and needles. It still surprises me when my students ask me the difference in needles. I’m going to try to simplify this mystery and give you a place to go back to when you need to choose a needle for a certain sewing, quilting or embroidery project.I have worked with most of these needle types and when you use the correct needle, your project will always look the best.

You want to choose needle size according to thickness of your thread and needle type according to your fabric application. Continue reading “A Needle In A Haystack (Sewing Box)”

Thick or Thin, Which do I Use?

thread-clip-artI taught a free motion quilting class yesterday and I was explaining the difference between the thread sizes. For some people, thread thickness can be very confusing. It’s hard to compute in our brains why the higher the number, the thinner the thread and the lower the number the thicker the thread. I am going to try to simplify  which is which.

Normal sewing thread is usually 50 weight thick.This is the standard in the industry.  This is the normal thread you buy at Joann’s or wherever you buy your everyday sewing or quilt piecing thread.

To sandwich my quilts together I like to use a 30 weight quilting thread. Continue reading “Thick or Thin, Which do I Use?”

Cotton & Silk & Damask Oh My!

Woven cotton, quilter’s cotton, silk, dupione silk, damask, jacquard, chiffon, terry, batiste, corduroy, flannel, and on and on. It’s enough to drive a person crazy. Add these to all the stretch fabrics and you could get a headache trying to figure out what fabric to use where.

Today we are going to focus on 3 fabrics. Most people have no trouble telling the difference between cotton, silks or knits. The fabrics we get  confused about is jacquard, brocade and damask – what is the difference? Continue reading “Cotton & Silk & Damask Oh My!”

The “How To” of T-Shirt Quilts

jessica-t-shirt-1Ever wanted to do something with all those t-shirts your kids get from school, sporting events, or dance recitals? How about all the ones your brother, husband, or sister have that they just can’t get rid of. Here’s the perfect solution to save those memories and make something that they will cherish for a long time.

T-shirts are tricky to work with. They are very stretchy and not conducive to behaving when trying to sew them like quilter’s cotton. Consequently you have to back them with a permanent iron on interfacing to make them stable. My procedure is to cut the design from the front or back of the t-shirt as large as you can get it. For adult t-shirts you will probably need to cut as much as possible or more, so as not to lose any of the design. Eventually you will cut the finished block to 12.5″  You can cut children’s sizes accordingly. Next,  I recommend using Pellon lightweight or medium weight interfacing that is ironed on the back of the block/design. Another great product to work with is Pellon Wisper Weft. It works the same way as shirt weight interfacing and is just as stable to tame the t-shirt stretch. The light weight interfacing is a softer hand and will show more old fashioned quilting puffiness. Medium weight interfacing gives a flatter look. Whisper Weft is between the two. Continue reading “The “How To” of T-Shirt Quilts”

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, & Happy New Year.

My wish for all of you is a joyous, healthy, happy holiday season and a wonderful  2018.

This has been a hectic year for me, but hopefully next year will afford me more time to blog for you.

Thank you for following my blog. Please pass my link on to your sewing, quilting and embroidery friends. Sewers are the nicest people on earth. They are generous of heart and true artists.

God bless, everyone.

Molly

Embroidery Tips & Tricks

I taught a class the other day called “Embroidery 101”. In this class I teach new and returning embroiders about the new stabilizers, how to use which needle and which thread for different applications in embroidery.

hankieOne of the questions I was asked was the best way to embroider on handkerchiefs. Yes, people still like to carry a handkerchief. They are also wonderful gifts for weddings, birthdays, or for a special occasion like a graduation. Anything that you want to remember. You may want to give a lady a lovely handkerchief with crochet edges or lace. Maybe a nice manly handkerchief with his initial in the corner. Handkerchiefs are best embroidered on a wash away stabilizer. I like Floriani Wet n Gone, Wet and Gone Tacky, and I have used a product called Vilene. Most water soluble stabilizer will do. You can hoop the stabilizer and hankie or you can also “float” the hankie on top of the tacky if you don’t want to hoop both. There’s a wonderful video and tutorial on EmbLibrary (link at right) if you are like me, and want a visual to help you learn.

Remember to wind a bobbin to match your top thread because the design will be seen on both sides. You can use regular 40wt embroidery thread, or you can use can use a nice heirloom cotton that’s anywhere from 60wt to 100wt. 6owt is a nice look if you want a delicate look. Thread  Art (see links at right) carries 60wt polyester thread in all colors to use as main thread, or bobbin thread to match 40wt embroidery thread. Be sure to use a 75/11 embroidery needle so your hole punches aren’t noticeable.

Check out All About Blanks (link at right). They have some lovely blank handkerchiefs.

I’ll be writing more of these short “Tips” that will answer a question someone may have.

Until next time …. happy sewing.

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