Aurifil Longarm Q & A

Gammill Longarm sewing machine

Scroll down the page to find the answers to these frequently asked questions about using Aurifil threads on a long arm quilting machine:-

 

How can I use a spool, rather than an industrial cone, of thread on my machine?

Does cotton Mako’ thread require an adjustment to the tension on the machine?

Do I need to adjust the tension on my machine when using Aurilux polyester thread?

What should I use in the bobbin when stitching with Aurilux polyester?

What should I do if the thread is breaking?

How many spools of thread will I need to quilt my quilt?

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How can I use a spool, rather than an industrial cone, of thread on my machine?

You do not need to use a horizontal thread holder when using Aurifil threads on a quilting machine. The threads feed from the spool in the same manner as from an industrial cone so they will work from an upright position, on the normal thread holder.

However, you will probably need to remove any shaped “cone holder” from the standard thread holder. eg The Gammill Classic machine has a 3 prong attachment that can be unscrewed and removed. Once this is removed, tape an extension to the holder (a pencil or skewer will work). The Aurifil spool will then sit vertically above the original thread holder and cones of thread will still sit in position over the extension.

Here you can see how I have adapted the spool holder.

The Modification to the cone holder to adapt it to allow spools to feed vertically to the thread guide.

Home made Longarm spool adaptor

 

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Does cotton Mako’ thread require an adjustment to the tension on the machine?
This will depend upon the tension settings that you regularly use on your machine. My machine has the tension set quite loose and, as a result, I did not need to make any changes to the tension when using cotton Mako’ Ne 40 or Ne 50 threads on a Gammill Classic. I have been able to successfully switch from cotton wrapped polycore threads, such as Rasant 120, to Aurifil Cotton Mako’ without having to adjust the tension or bobbin settings and have been very happy with the stitch formation.

HOWEVER, if you operate your machine with a firm tension setting you will need to loosen the top & bobbin tension until the cotton flows smoothly with out any catching. Cotton does not have the same “stretch” & give as polyester so it will snap if it gets held up along the thread path. If you pull on the thread as it comes through the take up lever it should flow smoothly without any interruption.

When using the decorative Cotton Mako’ 12 weigh thread, I have found it helpful to use a larger needle than normal to help the thread pass through the eye with out fraying. As this thread is thicker than the thread I generally use, I have found that loosening the intermittent tension very slightly gives a better stitch. The third adjustment for this thread is to lengthen the stitch & slow down the motor to allow each stitch to be formed before the next stitch is commenced. I also found that putting Cotton Mako’ 28 in the bobbin produced a well balance stitch with out the need to adjust the bobbin tension.

As is always the case, test any thread that you are using before starting on a quilt, as every machine requires it’s own individual tension adjustment.

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Do I need to adjust the tension on my machine when using Aurilux polyester thread?
Machine tension adjustments are always very specific to each machine and you should refer to the manual that came with your machine.

When using a new thread for the first time it is also a good idea to stitch a test sample to check the tension before starting work on your project.

However, I have compiled a list of hints from my experience when using Aurilux on my Gammill Quilting Machine.

  • Loosely wrap the spool with plastic wrap to stop the thread slipping but still allowing it to feed onto the machine smoothly.Follow the thread path as used for any other thread.
  • Tighten the bobbin tension (turning the screw to a “10 to the hour/20 past the hour” position worked for me)
  • Set the rotary tension guide so that the screw is sitting flush with the knob. This is the normal setting for most of my work.
  • Loosen the intermittent tension guide. (I turned the knob to the left until the screw was recessed approximately 2mm)

 

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What should I use in the bobbin when stitching with Aurilux polyester?

Aurilux will work in the bobbin.

However, you may prefer to use the decorative threads on the top of the quilt only and use an alternate thread in the bobbin. If this is the case colour match the thread to give the best results and choose Ne 40 Cotton Mako’, or another thread in you collection, for the bobbin.

 

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What should I do if the thread is breaking?

Thread breakage can be caused by a several factors so check the following:

The tension may need adjusting.

The needle may have a burr.

The needle eye may be too small – try a larger needle

The thread path may be snagging the thread.

The bobbin race may need cleaning

The machine timing may need adjusting.

If the thread snaps at any time a little routine maintenance will prevent thread breakage becoming an ongoing problem so, before re threading the needle, ALWAYS ….

Check that the thread is still correctly wrapped around the rotary tension guide. I have noticed that when the top thread breaks, particularly with a synthetic thread, it has a tendency to “spring” out of the tension disk and become wrapped around the fitting cause on going problems.

Clean the bobbin race to remove any broken thread.

 

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How many spools of thread will I need to quilt my quilt?
Well, I can’t tell you how much thread you will use on your quilt because there are so many variables –

size of quilt

quilting design

weight of thread

However I CAN tell you how to estimate the thread usage per quilt for yourself.

Start using 2 spools of thread, one of which has been completely wound onto bobbins.

Record the number of bobbins you would get from one spool & divide this into the length of thread that was on on the empty spool. eg: I can wind 10 size “M” bobbins from a 1000 metre spool of Cotton Mako’ Ne 40 thread

Now count the number of bobbins used to quilt a quilt and you will be able to estimate how much thread has been used from one spool.

Don’t forget to double the bobbin usage to estimate the total thread usage on a quilt.

 

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