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Argh, why does my thread keep tangling around the bobbin and how can I fix it?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to sew a ribbon bookmark for my mother in law for her birthday (which is why I've been up all night cause I procrastinated too much!)

I have a Brother XL 5600 and the threads keep tangling around the bobbin. At first the lower stitches were too tight so I adjusted the tension and now that's working but every couple seconds the threads all get tangled around the bobbin. I can't tell if it's the upper thread, lower or both. I took everything out, put it back, used that canned air stuff (I hope that wasn't bad!) to make sure there wasn't any lint and blow it out. I've tried three different threads, all different weights. Any ideas?
post #2 of 12
My guess would be the tension is still off. But I'm probably wrong.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks! It's still nice to get a reply hehe. I fiddled with it for a long time and I *think* I got it working better by taking stuff in and out and fooling with the tension some more. But then I realized I couldn't sew the ribbon edges together as precisely as I wanted to on the machine anyway and ended up doing it by hand. Now I'm wondering if I can locate any material to try to make a flax/lavender hot/cold pack. Then I'll let you know if I actually have it fixed lol. Also I forgot to mention earlier...I keep hearing a noise like an instrument or wire being plucked. Not sure if that means anything.
post #4 of 12
I have the same problem and I think the same maching. I'll have to check when I get home. Any ideas on what can be going on her would be great. I was at the verry end of amking a dress for dd last night when all the sudden I ended up with a huge rat nest. I had to cut the mess off the fabric and re wind a new bobbin, took 20 minutes to fix the mess when I was less than 30 sec. away from being done. I have read the manual, and asked sewing friends, and no one can figure out what is going on.

I'll post back tonight when I get home and let you know if we have the same machine.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yep I read the whole manual, and I tried to google a bunch of combos of the words Brother, sewing, bobbin, tangle, tangling, thread, jam, jamming...lol. And really nothing very helpful aside from some descriptions of tension setting issues. I *think* for now it's somewhat fixed. I really don't sew that often. I remember when I was first learning it happend a lot, and then it didn't seem to happen that much for a while but I'm not sure if there's been any reason. This time I thought maybe the fabric being so thin and flimsy might have made it worse. In any case I *finally* got the bookmark done. And later I'll probably try to work on some other things.
post #6 of 12
Originally Posted by airmide_m View Post
I really don't sew that often.
and the reason don't is because you have machine woes.... let's try and fix them for you 'sew' you will want to do nothing but sew!

besides being called a rats nest how about.... Birds Nest, Thread Barf, Thread Puke, Thread Spaghetti, or my favorite, Gopher Guts!

It is usally caused from the top being threaded incorrectly, might be that you threaded the machine correctly but the upper thread jumped out from between the tension disks. or you missed a guide or got 2 of your steps backwards.

if that doesn't work then try winding a whole new bobbin and rethreading it in the machine, you never know, won't hurt and having a full bobbin for next time you sit down will be nice.

the sound you are hearing could possibly be a small piece of thread in the bobbin race, hiding where you can't see it, I'm not fmiliar with this machine in particular so this is vauge... the bobbin race, the little finger /spikey thing that turns with the machine picking up the top thread, carrying it around the bobbin and meshing the two threads together... that little piece is usually removable, look in your manual and it should show basic cleaning and possibly to oil it (the metal machines oil, I'm not for certain about some of the newer plastics, there are some that are self lubricating so don't oil unless it's metal or your book says so... ) anyway take the bobbin race apart as far as you feel comfortable and make sure you use a brush old needle toothpick to get all that lint out from behind there, might find a piece of thread caught around the spindle.

Canned air? good/bad? depends, some say the air will force the lint further into the machine where it can never be gotten at, some say what's the big deal, I've used it, I've used a air compressor to blow out a machine... just use caution and try and get the big stuff out first then use the air to get the dust out. You can tape a straw to the end of a vacume hose and suck things out too.

if you don't know if the thread is coming from the bottom or the top, can use 2 different colors

hope that may help and happy sewing!

look here also
it's is a good checklist to print off and keep around
post #7 of 12
Is your bobbin in correctly?

Clock-wise or counter clockwise, your manual should state!
Good luck
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the replies and all the suggestions!!

I'm pretty sure my bobbin is in correctly. I read the manual and especially that part multiple times. I also tried turning it around just to see, and that made it way worse lol.

I took that whole area apart, and there was no lint or anything anywhere. That area is all metal though the rest of the machine is plastic. I can see some oil/grease gunk in there but maybe it needs more.

I *think* the top part was also threaded correctly. I redid it about a bazillion times. And my machine is pretty simple to do, and has little directions with arrows right on the machine lol.

The plucking noise can't have been connected with the thread because it was doing it even when I had no thread in the top or bottom.

I tried using 2 different colors but while I was doing that it didn't do the huge tangle thing. At that point it looked like the bottom was being pulled through to the top, but also very loose and uneven on the bottom.

I tried rewinding the bobbin and that didn't help either. In fact I used 3 different colors/weights of thread. My machine only came with 3 bobbins and of course I've misplaced 2 lol so that makes it a bit of a pain to switch back and forth since most of the time I need a new color of thread for each new project.

I think my next big project is a duvet cover out of flannel. I've been putting it off cause I'm dreading the math of figuring out where to cut the flannel so it fits together correctly.
post #9 of 12
My machine makes the klunking noise when the thread is not properly placed onto the thread take-up lever. Is your bobbin wound properly or is it sloppy when you finish winding? :
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I think it's wound properly, it always looks perfect. Sometimes after I fool around with stuff I will hand-wind some of the extra thread back on so I don't waste a ton of thread, but that doesn't seem to make any difference, it will tangle just as badly when freshly wound. Also the noise is more of a plucking noise than clunking and it happens even when there isn't any thread at all. I can't pinpoint where in the machine it's coming from.
post #11 of 12
Have you tried changing your needle? Maybe it's bent....
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was thinking of that too, but it looks perfect and is sharp and I changed it pretty recently, with my last project. I'll try to get back to sewing something soon and report how it is since I think I've adjusted the tension better.
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