Lesson Two: Get Started (Without Thread Jamming)
L2: Today’s Topic: Get Started Quilting, Prevent Thread Jamming
Good Morning, Quilters!
Welcome to Week 2 of 25 Weeks to Better Machine Quilting based on my book, 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting.
Monday (Light) Housekeeping
We have a new Quilt-a-Long PAGE in our navigation bar for easy reference to all of the lessons. Find the QAL page on the top navigation bar if you are on a computer or access through the “hamburger” -triple bars- on most mobile devices.
I will update the QAL Page regularly. The QAL Page will store all of the daily blog posts in one place.
(Sign up for the posts to be sent to your email HERE)
Lesson Two: Let’s Get Started Quilting!
Last week, we started the QAL by getting organized and doodling. Some of you started quilting.
If you weren’t ready or able to start quilting last week, don’t worry! We officially start stitching this week! Work at your own pace. And if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry about that either. Over the next 24 weeks, I will guide you through many wonderful projects!
This week we will cover these topics (and more)
- How to start the stitching line to prevent thread jamming (Monday)
- Quilting YOUR signature (Tuesday)
- Stitching safely (Wednesday)
- Recording YOUR progress (Thursday)
- Ways to use practice quilts (Friday)
How to Prevent Thread Jamming
One of the most frustrating trials in all of quilting and sewing is thread jamming which often occurs at the beginning of the stitched line.
Thread jamming occurs when the bobbin thread tail gets caught in the bobbin case and prevents it from rotating properly. Usually the needle is unable to lower and a knot of thread results. The typical cure is to remove the bobbin, clear the threads and re-thread the machine. ARGH!
To prevent thread from jamming, I recommend bringing the bobbin thread to the top of the quilt and holding it as you take the first few stitches.
How to Bring the Bobbin Thread to the Top of the Quilt
A. Place the quilt under the needle
B. Hold the top thread taut and lower the presser foot (use the knee lever if available!)
C. Keep holding the top thread and lower the needle (use your hand wheel or “heel kick”)
D. Raise the needle and tug the top thread. This should reveal the bobbin loop (hand wheel or “heel kick”)
E. Use tweezers to pull the bobbin tail to the top
F. Hold BOTH the top and the bobbin thread as you begin to sew a few stitches (NOTE-in the photo the top thread is “parked” in the thread cutter–usually I hold both the top and bobbin thread)
Popping the Bobbin Thread
I call the above procedure “popping” the bobbin thread. It is one of the most important lessons to learn!!! It is a little fussy to learn at first, but after awhile it will become second nature to you. Most importantly, it will save a lot of frustration as you begin to stitch.
A few pointers:
CHECK YOUR MANUAL–which way does your hand wheel turn? For most machines the hand wheel turns toward you, but not all!!
See if your machine has a programmable foot pedal. If so, you can use a “heel kick” to raise and lower the needle. (See more about the BERNINA foot pedal)
Many machines (all BERNINAs) have a knee lever to raise and lower the presser foot.
Occasionally, you may have to repeat the sequence more than once to “pop” the bobbin thread.
For some machines, you may find it easier to raise the presser foot and the needle before tugging at the bobbin thread.
Find a sequence that works best for YOU and YOUR machine!
More Jamming Issues
Stray threads are another source of thread jamming. Be meticulous about throwing small snips of thread into the garbage as you stitch. These pesky little tails seem to swim to the bobbin causing problems as you sew.
One other source of jamming that I have experienced is from placing the bobbin incorrectly in the race. In the BERNINA Q20, it is possible to thread the bobbin backward! Check your sewing machine manual.
Review and mark your sewing machine manual:
- Hand wheel direction
- Heel kick option
- Bobbin threading procedure
Practice “popping the bobbin”
Doodle (Always Doodle!)
Stitch if you feel inspired!
PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of LoriKennedyQuilts.com and are intended for personal use only. Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to LKQ. For all other purposes, please contact me at Lori@LoriKennedyQuilts.com. Thank you!
27 responses to “Lesson Two: Get Started (Without Thread Jamming)”
Hamburger! Who knew those little lines were called “hamburger”
That’s a stitch😂
Hi this is great! Bringing up the bobbin thread, I knew. But I cant wait to stitch names!
Thanks for 25 week qal in the navigation bar. Excited to improve my fmq. Can’t wait to receive my book. Thanks!
Wow!! I’ve had a Bernina for years and never knew about heel kick. Learning new things every day. First doodles look like a 2 year old! Ill let you know when I get to kindergarten and you can actually recognize something.
Big thank you for putting all the lessons in one place! It speaks to your responsiveness.
My book arrived today…yea…it didn’t have a little sample as the one I ordered before &
gave to my friend for her bday…oh, well.
I have a ? about threading that little eye in the bobbin. Should I thread it out from the
point where my bobbin thread comes out? I’ve been waiting to ask this hoping
someone else would, so I wouldn’t feel so newbie-ish. Thanks in advance, Kate
Sorry about the missing sample. Please send your address to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a sample. (My shipping department (Faye and Olivia) get chatting and laughing and forget their duties sometimes–LOL!)
Yes, as the thread comes off the spool it goes through the eye. Do an experiment and stitch with and without threading it to see if it makes a difference!
Thank you…if I do it backwards is there any chance I could hurt
the machine? Betina the Bernina is very particular.
How do you feel about using special bobbin thread? Such as The Bottom Line by Superior or Sulky Bobbin Thread?
Does it help with thread breaking?
Many people love it! Please give it a try and let me know what YOU think of how it sews as well as how it looks.
I use Bottom Line quite frequently. It is so thin it gets lost on the back. It wraps at least a third more on your bobbin, which makes it so much easier when doing heavy machine quilting. Seems like I am changing the bobbin frequently when I use a heavier thread in the bobbin!
Will WOW is me as I have had to take my machine for a tune up but I plan on getting caught up when I can. Love all these lessons & tips Thank you PS also downloaded your book to Kindle so I am ready to go.
thank you so much for placing all the lesson/blogs in one place. It is a great help to me!
Thread jams are the pits! Whether in quilting or dressmaking, they can make your life miserable. To prevent them, I use ‘leaders’ for regular sewing, but haven’t figured out a way to adapt leaders for quilting. Still, popping the bobbin thread and holding the tails is a perfectly easy solution.
Still here, doodling and sewing. It’s fun, thanks for doing this for all of us. This is something I need to get myself motivated. I am one of the chickens, afraid to mess a nice top i managed to make. Or should I say a half dozen tops???
I like how you listed what will happen every day this week in this lesson and also how quickly you listened to a few people who requested a daily spot to review the classes as they build up. I have silently followed you for several years and am a big fan.
Hi Lori…this is such a great thing you are doing for us all! I don’t have trouble popping the bobbin thread, but I really like to jump small distances without cutting the thread as I sew, and sometimes the thread gets messed up. Not sure why it messes up only sometimes. But I also may not be real consistent with how I move from one area to another. Any suggestions? What do you do? TIA
Be sure to lift the presser foot to release the tension disks. Later I will show you how to cut the boo in thread without removing the quilt or flipping it over.
Oh my, that sounds interesting! Yes, I always lift the presser foot (actually right now I am working with the walking foot, but same issue as FMQ)… Can’t wait! Thanks!
Thank you for taking time to offer this wonderful opportunity. Thank you for added the 25 week QAL to your header. I thought I’d see all your posts, but I now know I missed one. Another question, I see that Friday is for OPEN DISCUSSION. Where do I find those? Is that live where we ask questions in realtime? Thank you once again!
The open line discussions will be in the form of a blog post with comments. At least for right now. Some Friday’s will be FAQ days. Feel free to ask questions any time and the Facebook group is a great way to get immediate feedback! Join Quilting with LKQ
One more way to mess up your starting thread…If you put your needle in wrong. I have been sewing 65 years, and I just did that the other day….DUH. I also didn’t learn to hold both threads when starting until maybe 10 years ago.
Lori, I did not receive a quilt block with my book. I even got the package out of the trash to see if I forgot it.
I wish my book would come so I could do my quilting along with you. I heard received a tracking info from the carrier showing It left on June 5 and was in DesMoines Ia on June 11 heading to another facility. Apparently it is stuck there. Very frustrating. they said it would take longer due to Covid 19. Sorry just venting. ..
Thanks Lori–just received my book yesterday ( June 23rd), now am ready to go. Lovely leaf piece accompanied the book. Looking forward to see if I can master this technique.
Gracias Lory por este gran consejo, los atascos son muy frustrantes.