You know sometimes how you just assume that everyone knows the same things that you know. Just small little snippets of information picked up from random sources over time and just filed away? Often these can be bizarre facts about cats, random dates in history, or the funny middle names of celebrities – anything. Then it comes up in conversation and it turns out that in fact, not everyone knows this – and you feel like a rock star!
Not saying I’m a sewing rock-star in any way, but as a newbie sewer somewhere along the line I’d learned a little-known fact about thread and why there are often two spool holders on your machine – one that lies horizontally and one that sits vertically.photo credit: via photopin (license)
These are made to accommodate the two different types of wound thread spools.
- The regular spool of thread that our grandmothers would be most familiar with where the thread is wound round and round the spool smoothly in a single uninterrupted line, (picture above) and
- what appears to be a more modern recent way of winding, where the thread criss-crosses over itself and makes a pattern on the spool, like you usually see on cones of thread. (picture below)
These threads are wound onto the spools in different ways and that means in order to give you the best possible sewing performance, they should come off the spool in different ways too. Spool 1 – the regular ‘smooth’ wound thread should come off the side of the spool and the spool turns as it feeds off. This should be placed upright on the vertical spool holder.
Spool 2 – the criss-cross thread should come off the top of the spool in a circle and the spool shouldn’t turn while being unwound. This type of spool sits horizontally on your machine.
However its hard to describe exactly how and why in words so check out this great video about what happens if you use the wrong one and how it affects your thread, giving it both unwanted tension and twisting. Interesting to see it demonstrated with a reel of ribbon.
So now you all know this little snippet of information too if you didn’t know it already. If you’ve had niggling tension problems or other problems with your thread, maybe this little tip might help.
But what if you don’t have the horizontal thread holder, or your spool of thread won’t fit on it for some reason? Then you can buy a thread stand that sits at the back of your machine, and the thread spool stands on it, with the thread coming off the top of the spool correctly as it should.
Don’t forget to pin and share this article and get the word out about the correct spool holder to use on your machine. Tell your friends, and look like a sewing rock-star!