Friday, July 22, 2011

Winding Metallic Bobbins on the Bernina 820/830 Machines

At Crazy 8's yesterday at Shiisa Quilts, we were playing around with Glitter by Superior Threads, a flat metallic thread that I describe as "stream lame" (pronounced la-may, I can't find the accent mark on blogspot!). If you pull it off the spool, it looks a lot like Christmas tree tinsel; when you stitch with it, it resembles a line of molten metal behind your needle.

We were doing bobbin work on the Bernina 820s and 830s, so wanted to find the best threading path to get even winding. Bev L. and I experimented with adaptations to the usual threading path that we use for regular sewing thread and the following method of threading worked really well:

A couple of grey foam discs come with the machine; one of them has plastic on one side and foam on the other. We put that disc, foam side up, on the outermost thread spindle, the one used most often for winding bobbins. Using the disc with the plastic bottom allows the thread to spin more freely.

The thread goes on the foam disc and then is threaded through the "auxiliary thread guide for metallics" that can also be used for spools that are stack wound and like to be pulled off the side of the spool rather than over the top. I've also had good results threading monofilament, water soluble and other specialty threads through this guide. In the illustration above, Bev is threading the thread through this guide.

If you have had your 8 a while, you may not have this thread guide. Around Christmas last year, an 8 Series Kit came out free of charge to owners. Also included in this kit was a thread lubrication and guide unit, an oiling pen, a pack of SUK needles, and a hook cleaning tool. There was also a book to explain how to install and use these items. If you did not receive this kit, check with your dealer.

Here's a top view of the threading through this guide....

The thread then goes through the telescope, front to back....

...down to the clip at the base of the thread stand....

...and down to the bobbin tensioner. Rather than wrapping the thread around in a counter-clockwise twist like we normally would, the thread was passed from the right, under the tensioner and straight up to the bobbin.

Bev then wrapped the thread clockwise around the bobbin several times until the end was very short, then held her finger against the end to keep it from unwinding while she reached over to the screen with the other hand and touched the bobbin winder icon. It's not recommended that the thread cutter be used with metallic thread as it could dull the cutter.

Using this threading path -- voila! We got perfectly wound metallic bobbins!


  1. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Paula,
    What an information lesson on winding our metallic threads on a bobbin. Glitter is such a fun thread to use, I'm sure this will help everyone with the 800 series machines.
    Thank you for using our threads.

  3. LOL! thank you! i just bought an 820 and i was wondering about how the 820 was going to handle stack spools!

  4. what are 'stack spools'?

    1. The term refers to the way the thread is wound on the spool. On cross-wound spools, the thread looks like a figure 8 when you look at the spool. Stack spools are wound bottom to top. It's really easy to see when you are holding spools of variegated thread. On the stack spools, you see bands of colors like stripes; the cross-wound look quite different.


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