Anita's quilts and quilting

A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.

Using mono thread

I was asked if I had any helpful hints for using monofiliment thread on a longarm quilting machine.  Mono for short. Here are my thoughts.  There are two colors of mono thread.  A clear and a smoke.  I use the smoke on dark fabrics and the clear on light fabrics.  If you use the clear on dark colors it casts a sheen making it appear when it should be almost invisible.  I often call it invisible thread to my customers.  Using the smoke color on light color fabrics makes it look like you used grey thread. 

Mono thread has what I call “spring back” effect.  Meaning it stretches, until it can’t any more, then it breaks and springs back.  Sort of like pulling a rubber band way to tight and it breaks.  I use the small spool adaptors on my Gammill and leave the mono thread on the machine all the time.  I have two adaptors, one for clear and one for smoke.  I happen to be out of the clear right now so that holder is empty.
The spool, when on the adaptor, shouldn’t have any tension on it what-so-ever.  The spool should spin freely.  The adaptor should be angled so the thread doesn’t come off the spool and get caught.  Hmm… hard to describe but sometimes it rolls off the small end and winds around the white holder part.

I put a light color thread on my machine so it would show up in a photo; but, ran the thread like I would do with mono thread.  I skip the intermitten tension disks and thread it into the thread sensor disk.  I found on my machine the tension disks pulled the mono thread way too tightly.  In order to compensate for not using those disks, I wrap the mono thread several times around the thread sensor.  If I want more tension, I wrap more times.  If I want less tension, I remove some of the wraps.   On average it stays at about 4 times around the disk.
The way I have it on my machine, if I want to go from regular thread to mono thread, all I have to do is put the thread through the tension disks (or remove it) without rethreading.  No need to adjust the tension each time I change thread. 
I don’t change to a different size needle as some recommend.  I change thread from regular to mono and back much too often to be changing needles every time.  I often switch back and forth several times on one quilt.
I use Prym-Dritz mono threads.  I use this same technique when quilting with metallic threads.  Metallic also has a spring back effect because it’s usually made from the same stuff as the mono thread.  Sometime a customer asks me to use an embroidery thread on their quilt.  It’s very expensive but is their choice if they bring it to me.  I run it on my machine the same way I run mono thread.  I do this because the embroidery thread is so fragile running on a quilting machine. 
I hope this helps.  As you can see it’s way too much type talking to go into a blog comment.
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2 comments on “Using mono thread

  1. Anita Estes
    March 24, 2010

    Maybe washing with a pet odor remover might help? The kind that's used to get pet urine odors out of carpets and upholstery. It's supposed to be very good so maybe it will get the cigarette smell out too. I don't know a brand name but I've seen them in the pet store where I shop. It might be found in some of the mega store pet sections too.

  2. Anonymous
    March 23, 2010

    Quick question, though not about mono thread. A member of the family gives quilts as gifts and she's a smoker. She thinks putting them in the dryer with several dryer sheets solves the problem, but it doesn't. I think because we aren't smokers and not used to the smell 24/7 like she is she only smells the dryer sheets. The quilts have been rewashed but there is still a lingering cigarette smell. Any suggestions?
    Now that it's getting warmer out, I've suggested hanging them outside. Thanks for your help.

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