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Rainbows Group

Quilting with Rainbows Thread on an APQS Quilting Machine

This article was written by Dawn Cavanaugh.

The dazzling color effects achieved with Rainbows trilobal polyester thread from Superior Threads can really enhance your quilt tops. Rainbows thread works well on all models of APQS quilting machines.

To achieve top performance from Rainbows, begin by inserting a new needle (an MR 4.0 or #18 works best). Needles with dull points or grooves worn into the eyes will cause the thread to shred and break. Next, evaluate your choice for bobbin thread. Bottom Line or So Fine! #50 both work well as bobbin threads. Loosen the tension on the bobbin case so that the Rainbows thread has a chance to pull the bobbin thread into the quilt sandwich without breaking. Adjust the top tension until the Rainbows thread pulls the bobbin thread into the quilt batting. If it breaks frequently, loosen the bobbin case tension even more.

Practice good quilting habits, such as making sure the fabric is not too taut between your rollers, adjusting side clamps to prevent undue pressure on the quilt sides, and choosing batting that is not too thin (thin batting doesn't give the thread much air space in which to lock between the layers.) If the thread peels off erratically from the spool, insert a small piece of cotton batting into the thread guide directly above the spool to apply a slight amount of pressure on the thread.

Check that the thread path is correct, and test for any notches or burrs that might be hiding inside the pigtail thread guides on the side of the machine and above the needle. Worn spots or notches on the guides will shred not only Rainbows thread, but others as well. Do this by simply grasping the thread above and below the thread guide, and sliding it around the inside of the guide as if to floss the guide. A notch will catch on the thread. If you do find a notch, order new guides from APQS. In the meantime, loosen the screw on the thread guide and rotate it 180 degrees, then retighten the screw. This temporary repositioning will cause the thread to rub on a different spot on the thread guide and will allow you to keep on quilting.

If you notice that the Rainbows thread wants to cling to the tension side of your machine, try rubbing a dryer sheet on that side to reduce static.
In addition, APQS offers an optional fly wheel cover that mounts directly over the fly wheel. This prevents the fly wheel from accidentally grabbing the thread and pulling it inside the machine.

Finally, remember that high quilting speeds create a great amount of friction heat as the needle enters and exits the fabric. If you encounter thread breakage at high speeds or when you move the machine quickly, simply pace yourself and move a little slower to give the needle a chance to exit the fabric completely and stay cool.

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By: Bob Purcell