Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spool Pin Experiments

Hello fellow Featherweight-ers, vintage machine owners, and sewing fans! This is a post about dealing with a vertical spool pin when you want a horizontal one.

I recently wrote a post that touched on stacked wound and cross wound spools of thread. You can easily see the difference on these spools. 
The black spool is wound stacked and the teal spool is wound cross. 

When you unroll the stacked wound spool on the vertical spool pin, it unwinds evenly and all is well! What do we do with the cross wound spools that we want to use?

Experiment #1 - get a thread guide
This is one I picked up a few years ago. It was inexpensive and lightweight. The spool pin didn't fit in the hole in the base so I didn't install that piece. It does what it is made to do but it is way too tall for sitting next to my 221!

Experiment #2 - homemade thread guide
Yes, you see a wide mouth jelly jar, a long piece of floral wire, and an optional rubber band! 

All you have to do is twist the floral wire onto the top of the jar. 

That will probably be enough to hold it in place if it's nice and tight. But I decided to set a rubber and around it just to make sure the wire would stay put!

It does make a difference in keeping the wire from sliding around the rim.

The last step is to make a curly Q on the top end of the wire.

It just gets bent down and then up again. Kind of like a making a letter o that isn't closed on top.

Set your jar next to your machine, place your cross wound spool in the jar, bring the thread up and through the wire spiral guide, over the motor wheel, in front of the machine's spool pin, and across the top of the machine to it's thread guide above the tension assembly. That's it!

Don't place the jar in contact with the motor belt! If you see it moving when you sew, it needs to be pushed off to the side a little more. 
When you go to grab the wheel to turn it, if you're catching the thread with your fingers, push the jar back a little more. 

That's great for big spools, but what about the small cross wound spools?

Experiment #3 - the bendy straw adaptor

I really like the little spools of cross wound threads out in the stores these days! You can get a box full of quality thread in a vast array of colors! It's like getting a box of crayons when you're a kid! Oh the things we can do with it! But these little gems of thread are cross wound and we need a way to hold them on the 221 so they are flat, not upright. 

I was in my kitchen the other day and saw a bendy straw in my sink. The proverbial light bulb went off in my head and I tried to make an adaptor to hold my thread flat. Here's how to do it.

Get the straw and trim the long end off at the height of the machine's spool pin.

You can see the bendy part is beginning at the top of the pin.

The end that you would sip is the end that will go into the spool. Don't cut that end. It's already a good length for inserting into the spool.

My straw was too narrow to hold the spool tight so I cut a 1" piece off of the extra piece of straw and flattened it between my fingers.

This will become a spacer. We need the spool to fit tight onto the straw. You'll see why soon!

Get a piece of tape and attach the spacer to the end of the straw that will hold the spool.

Now the spool fits nice and tight onto the straw!
I can even hold it upside down and it won't fall off of the straw. 

Let's use it! 

Set the straw onto the spool pin all the way down to the felt. (It won't turn when it is in contact with the felt) 
Bend the straw so the spool points downward towards the area just under the thread guide. Thread the machine as normal and start sewing!
If you see the spool moving while the thread is coming off of it, point it downwards a little more until the movement is minimal. There can be some movement but it should be minimal. The thread should unwind without drag.
If you don't have a felt washer, make one out of your own circular piece of felt or fleece or batting or whatever keeps the straw from freely turning around when in place. 
If the bendy part of the straw is too weak to hold its shape with the spool in place, reinforce it with masking tape. That will help!

So these are my spool pin experiments that I do when needed. And the money I saved making it myself can buy more thread and fabric! Come join in and share your experiments with me at my Facebook page, Featherweight Skill Series. 

See you next time! Let's get sewing!

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