Let’s face it. Things don’t always go smoothly when you are stitching.  Here is a list of things that could help you diagnose your particular issue.

  1. Could be the thread. Some machines have been known to not like certain brands.
  2. Could be the color of the thread. Some colors are not made the same as the others. I’m told that black can be one of them. This of course varies by manufacturer.
  3. Could be how the spool is wound. Cones should be placed upright using a spool stand.
  4. Could be the needle size. Make sure you have the right needle for the size thread you are using.
  5. Could be the needle brand. Try switching brands. Your new machine may not like the needles you commonly used for your old machine.
  6. Could be the stabilizer. Different designers or digitizers have personal favorites because they have had better luck with one brand over another so that’s how they digitize their designs.
  7. Could be the too many layers of stabilizer used. I was using a double layer Ultra Solvy and getting excessive thread shearing and breakage. I think it may have been the “plastic” style sheeting causing friction with the thread.
  8. Could be not enough layers of stabilizer. Some stabilizers require multiple layers. Others are so totally inappropriate for free standing lace. If your top stitches are not totally stitching on the underlay, this could be your problem.
  9. Could be the tension. I was using the 30 wt sulky thread and getting excessive shearing. So I reduced the tension for the thicker thread and my project progressed. Normally though, you shouldn’t have to think about the tension.
  10. Could be the upper thread is not properly threaded,
  11. Could be the bobbin. An improperly wound bobbin will cause bird nests.
  12. Could be you left the “tail” on your bobbin.
  13. Could be thread stuck in the bobbin area which will cause bird nests and other jamming.
  14. Could be your feed dogs. Make sure they are in down position and don’t rise above the throat plate. The teeth can cause sheering you the thread.
  15. Could be just shutting down the machine for any reason may cause the recovered design to be out of alignment.
  16. Could be your machine needs a service or cleaning.
  17. Could be your machine is dying and will need to be replaced soon.
  18. Could be your machine has a ghost. OK maybe not that one – or maybe? This is my husband watching too many ghost stores. LOL

If this list sounds like too many “could be’s” and not enough definitive answers, you’re right. If some of these sound like I’m reaching a bit and are highly improbable, again, you’d be right.  Unfortunately, it is very difficult to diagnose a problem long distance.  Over the years,  I’ve cried a lot of tears wondering where did I go wrong.  I’m not a bad sewer.  I was just picking up the craft again after a long absence.  I’ve picked the collective brains of the employees of my local store and some of these are their thoughts.  Others are my personal experiences.  Since not a lot of people have seen free standing lace, they, themselves, are reaching into their general sewing experiences in their efforts to help you

So I’ve compiled this list to help you diagnose your issue while you’re in the moment.  If you have something to add to this list, let me know.