Thread Therapy

Thread Delivery System

Bob Purcell (Chief Threadologist of Superior Threads) discusses the winding patterns on a spool and a cone of thread. If a spool is straight wound (parallel wound), it is meant to come off straight from the side. If a cone of thread is cross wound, it is make to come off over the top of the cone.

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Video Transcript

Bob: The last 5%, and the reason we stopped and 95% is because there's the 5% unknown. If you've tried Step 1, Quality, Step 2, Needles, Step 3, Tension, and now step four, we're up to 90%. If this doesn't solve it, the last 5% doesn't solve it; maybe it's the unknown 5% between 95% to 100%. Maybe you're machine has worked itself out of time. Maybe your husband tried to repair for you. We have no idea what's going on, but that's where we take the machine into a tech, if we haven't solved it up to now. The last part is only 5%, usually we don't have to go this far.

Look how your spool is wound. We have 2 spool types: The machine spool and the cone. They're wound differently. If you look on the spool, you see how the machine spool has a nice, even, what we call a parallel lined around, and around, and around; and the cone, a crisscross lines. They're wound differently on the spools and they're intended to unwind differently. Stores usually don't know this and they don't really explain it to the customer.

We're usually used to putting your spool on the machine on your horizontal pin, just like this. Is that familiar? As we unwind it, we're unwinding that like that, over the end. That's not how a spool is intended to unwind. If there's a straight wind spool, a straight wind on, straight wind off. If you put it on your horizontal pin and it unwinds this way, it's not a straight wind; it's coming over the end. You really can't see was happening, but you're adding a twist every revolution. Most machines have some type of a vertical pin spool holder. Is that familiar?

A spool that is straight-wound is intended to go on the spool, on the pin like that, and unwind from the side. On the spool, unwind from the side with the spool rotating. No tension added not over the end. Here's what it's doing, this is a good visual: This is your spool of thread. Imagine your spool of thread goes on the horizontal pin, now we're going to unwind over the end like we're taught by our dealers. Look what happens. Every revolution twist, twist, twist; you're doing that to your thread. What happens if your thread's twisting like that? You made the threat pretty much doubled in diameter, it's double the size by the time it hits the needle. Of course, it's going to fray, shred, or break. Watch what happens if you put it on the vertical pin, like this. On the vertical pin on top of your machine, unwinds from the side. No twisting. It's just that simple, but nobody teaches this. Spools from the side, cones over the top. Yes?

Female 1: Is the thread spool made to unwind from the back across or from the front?

Bob: It does not matter.

Female 1: It doesn't?

Bob: When you have your spool of thread, it does not matter if it goes on this way or on this way. This way from your viewpoint is winding from my side. You're going to turn it over from this way, it's whining on your side. It does not matter. Somebody's going to say it does and it works better one way or the other; fine. We're just all about troubleshooting, but it really shouldn't matter.

Look at the cone. The cone is a crisscross wind. It is never meant to unwind from the side. Have you seen the wooden dowels that go up inside? There's some wooden dowels that go up inside, so you're thinking, 'I put a wooden dowel there, now I put on my vertical pin. I'm going to have this unwind from the side.' It takes so much drag to rotate and turn that cone of thread, you will get different tensions. It's not how it's meant to be. Always over the top. The problem is if I put this on top of my machine, there's nothing up here on most machines to lift the thread over the top into the machine. You think, 'Can I put this on my vertical pin?' It goes vertical and it comes off of this way. Yeah, that's fine, except there's not enough clearance. It won't fit.

This is where we go back a few years. This is an antique thread stand cone holder. Nothing new. Yeah, they're great. This is meant to stabilize the cone of thread. You don't need an adapter even though the pin is small and narrow, and that's a larger opening, it doesn't matter. That center pin is only meant to keep the thread from tipping over. It sits here, you bring up over the top into that first hook, and it goes into your machine into that thread guide. Look how it comes off of the spool. No tension added. This sits either next to or behind your machine. Yes, it does fit your model. It's that simple.

There's 2 types you can get: You can go to your discount store and get a cheap’o plastic one for $5 unless you take your '40% off any single item' coupon, get it for $3. You'll hate the day you bought it. It's plastic, flimsy, it'll break eventually, it'll tip over on you, and it's just a pain. Or you spend a few dollars more; get a heavy-duty metal one, weighted base. It will not tip over and it will accommodate cones. It's just that simple. That's the last 95%. Question?

Female 2: I have a question about like when you have the up-right spool and . . .

Bob: The pin holder?

Female 2: I've been told that it's very critical that you either have the factory-supplied cushion there or a piece of felt there to diminish that friction.

Bob: On the bottom, right? That's going to depend on the spool. On a slick thread . . . and I don't know if there's much on friction, but a slick thread can, what we call puddle down. Sometimes, that thread will unwind here and get caught between here and underneath. That's where that will help. I've seen the sponge cushions underneath here; it's not absolutely critical. If it works better, do it. If it was working without it, no need.

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