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Metallic Thread on your Gammill Longarm Machine

Superior Metallic ThreadMetallic thread has had a bad reputation in the quilting world. This is due to many low-quality metallic threads which quilters try once and then assume all Metallic is the same. Metallic threads are not all created equal.  The raw materials and processing to finish the thread vary greatly in the industry and metallic probably has the widest range between the lowest quality and highest quality.  Superior Metallic is the only Metallic thread which is guaranteed to work on your machine.

What sets Superior Metallics apart from other metallic threads?  The material, the processing, and the finishing.

Starting off with a quality Metallic thread will greatly improve your ability to successfully run this thread on your longarm machine.  We have created this guide to help you run Superior Metallics on your machine without any problems. Follow these few steps and you'll be successfully quilting with Metallic in no time!

Step 1: Needles.  With Metallic thread, we recommend using a #18 or #19. These needles have a larger eye to accommodate the sensitivity of the thread. We use Groz-Beckert's Titanium-coated needles in our Gammill longarm machines.

Titanium Needles Size #19

Step 2: It is important to use an excellent bobbin thread with Metallic.  We use Bottom Line prewounds or wind Bottom Line or So Fine! #50 thread onto the metal bobbins. Both of these threads work well with the Metallic thread to create a great-looking stitch.  

SuperBOBs M-style Bobbins

Step 3: We recommend using a Handy Net with cones of Metallic.  Metallic thread is slick and any machine vibration may cause it slide down the cone.  Handy Nets prevent this.  Simply cover the lower half of the cone with the Handy net (see photo below).

Handy Net on your Metallic Thread cone

Step 4: Thread the first two eyelets and the middle guide as normal.

Step 2 for Metallic Thread and Gammill Longarms Threading Metallic Thread on your Gammill Longarm

 Step 5: Thread the Metallic through the intermittent tension and the thread sensor. Be sure to really loosen up the tension here. It's better to be too loose and then gradually tighten as necessary, than to be too tight and have the thread break.

Intermittent Tension on a Gammill Longarm Intermittent Tension on Gammill with Metallic Thread

Step 6: Thread the Metallic through only one of the hole guides. 

Three-hole guide on a Gammill Longarm

Step 7: With the rotary (secondary) tension, only loop 3/4 of the way.  Do not loop the thread twice around the wheel.  Also, be sure that the wheel can freely rotate. If it can't, reduce the amount of tension applied to the wheel.

Rotary Tension Guide on Gammill

Once you have done the above steps, it is time to quilt! Because you have bypassed several contact points on your machine, this will give you plenty of leeway to add tension, if necessary, via the intermittent tension.  

Metallic thread is a decorative/specialty thread which is more sensitive than most other quilting threads.  By using a quality thread, proper needle, and adjusting the tension, we can have a fantastic time using this lovely thread. The quilt below was quilted with Superior Metallics on a longarm machine (proof that it's possible!) by Jamie Wallen. 

Superior Metallic Quilted


Quilting with Metallic Threads by Superior ThreadsWatch our 'Quilting with Metallic Threads on your Longarm' video. See the steps above in video format and learn how easy it is to successfully quilt with metallic thread.

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By: Bob Purcell