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Thread breakage while quilting

I have a new quilter and have managed to quilt one quilt with lots of thread breaking.

I put another quilt on my frame and the thread breaks about every 4 to 5 inches. Then the bobbin thread will gather up under the quilt bottom or the top thread will. One of these three things keep happening.

I have called the seller who told me to make sure it was threaded right and it is. I have changed the needle. I have checked the tension--top and bobbin.

I don't know what else to do...


There are several reasons for thread breakage. The first thing to do is change to a new needle...and you've done that...but did you increase the size of the needle?

If the thread is run through an eye that is too small, there's too much friction on the wears, shreds and then breaks. So the first thing I'd try is a new needle in the next largest size. (Your thread should fill about a third to a half of the eye)

Check for burrs...

Harder to spot, but definitely something to consider if all else fails, is a burr in the thread path.

Check your throat plate first...are there any nicks in it from a needle hit? That can cause the breakage.

You'll either need a new throat plate or have to buff it out with some crocus cloth...I've always replaced mine (twice so far).

If it's not on the throat plate, but rather in your machine, only your dealer will be able to get at the burr or nick.

Check the spool position...

Does your spool of thread have a 'notch' in the end to hold the thread tail? If so, your thread may be catching on it. The simple fix is to put the spool on a horizontal pin with the notch to the right. That way the thread won't catch on it as it is un-spooling.

At the same time, check to see that your thread isn't winding around the spool pin and adding extra tension making it snap. (In my experience, this is more common with monofilament.)

Thread Throw-up...

As for the glob of thread that appears sporadically, that is all due to tension. I suspect one of two possibilities. Your thread...

  • coming off the uptake lever. When this happens, it reduces the tension (every guide the thread runs through on the way to the needle adds a bit of tension) and your thread just runs wild making what I call 'thread throw-up' on the backside of your quilt.

  • ...isn't properly seated in the tension disks. You can easily check. With your machine threaded, put the presser foot in the down position. Now pull on the needle thread tail. You should feel tension. If it just slides out, the thread isn't in the tension disks so no tension is being put on it...the result, again, is thread throw-up.

Readers, your suggestions are most welcome. Do share them via the 'comments' link below.

If none of these things work, I fear you will need to take your machine into the repair shop. Your thread shouldn't be breaking so often. I feel your pain.


Julie Baird

Comments for Thread breakage while quilting

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by: Jane

You can also try changing your spool of thread. Sometimes you can get an "old" spool that will break more easily.

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