towa bobbin guageThread and Tension Recommendations for my Gammill Charm

Q. Last year I bought a Gammill Charm and it sat in my workroom for a few months until I was brave enough to start using it. It is an intimidating machine for me, as I have never used anything that big or powerful. I always did my quilting on a Bernina. I feel confident and ready to tackle my Charm now that I have been able to get some practice time in. It is an amazing piece of kit. When I get it right, it is simply fantastic.  

I seem to be having some problems with tensions while I'm trying out threads and making samples. I found your guide to tension and needles for the Gammill Vision and I have been using it for the Charm.

I wonder if you could give me any suggestion/advice as to threads that may be easier for beginners. I am interested in being able to regulate the machine to use anything: GlitterKing TutKimono Silk, etc. I have used another thread brand and it was very hard to get the stitch to lock in the middle. I had it sitting either on top ( indicating top tension to tight) or on the bottom (indicating bobbin tension to tight) and this was in the same sewing session! It is getting better, but at the moment it is hard to achieve consistent tension.

Two people at Gammill are helping me, but since you are the thread expert, I thought maybe you would have something to say. :) Anything you could tell me would be great and we three would be grateful. Many, many thanks for any help you can give. 

A. Congratulations on your Gammill Charm! What a fun machine. For beginners, OMNI is a fantastic thread to use. It is quite strong, low-lint, and blends well. It comes on 6,000 yd cones and is quite cost effective. So Fine! #50 is also a strong thread which many beginners like due to its blending quality. So Fine! #50 makes a fantastic bobbin thread if you would like to wind your own bobbins. If you prefer to use prewounds, our Bottom Line thread is available on M-style bobbins for your Charm. 

When using delicate threads on top, it is important to make sure that your top tension is loose. We've made a video on quilting with Metallic thread on our Gammill Vision. The steps for Metallic will apply for Glitter and Kimono Silk. It really makes a difference to skip a few of the pretensioner holes and only wrap the thread 3/4 around the rotary tension instead of the 2 loops. If you can reduce the amount of times the top thread touches the machine, you will be able to better control the top tension by tightening/loosening the tension knob.

Bobbin tension is also important, we use and recommend the TOWA Bobbin Gauge to dial in the correct tension reading quickly. 

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By: Bob Purcell