“How You Unwind”

Each time I teach the “Sewing Machine Basics” class, there are customers who are surprised that how your needle thread comes off the spool matters to the machine.  Each machine has a particular direction the top thread should come off the spool as it’s threaded into the machine.  Some machines like to have the thread come off the front of the spool and some like it coming off the back of the spool. 

Some machines like the thread to come off the spool from the front, like a waterfall from the spool.
Other machines like the thread to come from the back of the spool.

To find out how your machine prefers to have the thread leave the spool, check your owner’s manual in the section on threading and bobbin winding.  Once you have that specific in mind, you then need to know if your spool of thread is a stacked or cross wound spool. This makes a difference in whether or not the thread should leave the spool in a horizontal or vertical orientation.  Stacked thread spools have no X’s visible in the thread and do best if they are used on a vertical spool pin.

This is a spool that is a stacked spool. The thread lies in even “stacks” along the spool.
Stacked spools do best on a vertical spool pin. The constant tension on the thread from the vertical orientation keeps the thread from falling down and collecting at the base of the spool pin.

Cross wound threads display a clear X pattern as the thread is wound on the spool and do best when they are placed on a horizontal spool pin or on a thread stand. 

The thread has visible X’s on the spool. These threads like a horizontal orientation or…..
… for threads, such as those that come on the cones, do very well when used with a thread stand.

If you would like to read more about this important detail to give you the best stitch quality from your machine, read Sara Snuggerud’s Heirloom Creations blog for her clear explanation of this often overlooked subject.