Long Arm Thread Breaking…

I’ve been practicing on many charity quilts and now that I’m actually doing a quilt that is going to be a keeper my thread has started to break…

It all started with the bobbin thread as I had just wound a new bobbin.. This has been going on for quite a while but I finally got fed up and asked a FB group Beginner LongArm Qulters for some advice.

My question went like this:

QUESTION:  I Have a HQ Sixteen on a frame and could someone please give me some ADVISE PLEASE, each time I change my bobbin and I start sewing (this only happens At the beginning of re inserting the bobbin) it will sew for a few inches then its like the bobbin thread breaks… It quits sewing with bobbin. I have no idea what I may be doing wrong. Its inserted into the bobbin so it unwinds clock wise and the i put it in the slit so it comes out of the spacing for the thread.

SOLUTION: From the responses I got I came to conclude that

1.Do not over fill the bobbin,

2.Hold your top and bottom threads always

3.Check the bobbin tension and that its treaded properly.


Border of Charmed Stars using rulers and FMQ Feathers.

I got this problem figured out but now the top thread was shredding.

So Back to the group for advise,

QUESTION:  I’m working on a hq16 on a frame… my top thread keeps shredding or coming out of the needle I’m not sure wich happens 1st, I’ve changed the needle, retreaded it thru the tension discs everything looks correct. I just purchased the tread at the beginning of September 2017 … Any suggestions on this?


SUGGESTIONS: Not in any particular order

  1. Change your needle. I had already done that.
  2. Change needle size use larger.
  3. Bad or old  thread spool
  4. Slow down your movements.
  5. Make sure your thread is going through all the tension discs, hooks and eyes correctly.
  6. Is your needle backwards or not inserted properly
  7. Is tread twisted around the thread holder at the top of the machine
  8. Turn eye of the needle to 5 O clock or 530
  9. Glide thread is slick. When you stop, it just keeps on going. To counteract, place a small piece of batting in the thread guide above the spool holder. This adds to the friction and slows the thread down just enough.
  10.  pull out 24 to 30 inches of thread after a break … a break will often weaken the thread
  11. Use thread conditioner
  12. Clean tension discs
  13. Is the quilt too tight on the frame. Loosen it a bit.


  1. Changed needle to bigger size 18.
  2. Moved eye to 5 o clock 
  3. Loosened the tension on the sandwich.
  4. I’m slowing down.

It now seems to be working better.  I was able to finish the on point background with no issues.

FMQ feathers around 2 arches made with a round ruler
Don FMQ around 2 aches n the center.

I sure hope this will save some grief for someone else who is experiencing this issue with their long arm.



  1. Renee, these things also work for those that don’t have longarms. I was quilting that 3D hexagon quilt of mine a few days ago on my Kenmore. I got the same issue with top thread of it shredding. That told me right off the bat that the needle that I had in the machine was lower than a size 14. I put in a size 15 and everything went smooth the entire time. It’s usually the wrong size needle that causes this. I had an 11 in the machine from doing some piecing..trying to get rid of all my size 11’s..they are terrible for anything but piecing and then I don’t even like them for that. I got my size 15’s from a sewing machine repair shop several years ago. My Kenmore only has 7 inches under the arm. Lisa Long


  2. Thanks Renee. I have a long arm and my thread brakes. I slowed down and it helps. My big problem is reinserting the bobbin as it is hard to reach under the quilt to reinsert the bobbin. My hand is in the way and prevents me from seeing what I am doing. So I stopped using my machine. I will try again after reading your comments. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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