Note: Updated info I've received tells me that Bernina dealers/technicians are trained and can help your 830 handle fine threads like #100 silk. The newer machines have been updated as well. If you have any issues at all, contact your technician.
Machine quilting with YLI #100 silk thread is beautiful, exquisite. Sometimes though we have to adjust the machine to get the best result, and all machines get along with this thread a bit differently. Recently I heard from Mercy, one of my advanced students, at http://tropicalapplique.blogspot.com/ that she is the proud new owner of a Bernina 830, and has been trying to quilt with silk that was so successful in her other Berninas, as it is in all of mine (200, 730, and new 630).
After having problems, bad tension mostly, she and her technician and folks at the mother ship Bernina discovered some tips that will help you with this thread if you have this new machine. These tips might help you even if you have a different brand electronic machine with sensors.
"First tip - the machine is soooo smart and the thread is soooo thin that for the most part it thinks there is no thread in the machine. Well, the machine is programmed to NOT sew if it is not threaded. If you reset the machine to allow it to sew without thread, then you lose all the other features like low bobbin warning, etc.
To resolve this, hold the thread tightly with your right hand as it leaves the spool and then thread the machine with your left hand. The little extra pressure is all you need for the thread to register on the sensors. Once registered, it will be fine until you need to rethread the machine.
Second tip - for silk and decorative threads it is critical to keep the machine well oiled. I usually clean and oil my 440 whenever I refill the bobbin thread. However, this machine's bobbin has a much larger capacity - more than double - and the silk is so thin you can sew for quite awhile before you run out of bobbin thread. You must stop and force yourself to do maintenance based on sewing TIME even if you do not need to replenish bobbin thread.
Third tip - the tension has to be PERFECT. If it is just a LITTLE bit off then the top will loop or eyelash just a bit every 5th or 6th stitch. If it is off by any more than just a little bit then the bobbin thread does not come up at all and the top thread breaks."
Thanks so much Mercy! I think this advice might work too with this machine and YLI Wonder Monofilament thread.
It is terrific when quilters send me vital information like this so I can share it here, and you can discover yourself what works best in your own machine and situation, and of course, always contact your dealer if you have problems or need advice. If any of you have more information, please share via the Comments.
Susan sent me the comment that there is a special/extra guide behine/under the white device that comes out to thread the machine. It's supposed to be used for fine or slippery threads to help the threading process. Bernina technicians know about this guide.
I agree about the maintenance based on time, rather than only when the bobbin thread runs out. I clean and oil the hook and bobbin area every day I quilt right at the beginning of my session. If I quilt steadily for 3 hours, I do it again.
Silk thread leaves a bit of a waxy debris in your machine so it is vital to clean it, and a bit of oil is also good. Check the top thread pathway as well, and swab out any sticky linty stuff that remains.
Run the machine, with no thread in it, quite slowly at first and perhaps more gunk will surface and you can swab that out gently with a cotton swab. Finally, run a clean dry swab over the metal parts in the bobbin/hook area to get any leftover oil, thread the machine, run it slowly and quilt with it on a sample to work out any leftover oil. I love this time as this is when I play and come up with exciting new ideas for designs.
Be very light handed and careful when cleaning/oiling your machine. Follow your technician's advice and check your owner's manual. My Berninas hum, and keep humming, and I take great care of them so that they do.
Keep quilting! It works out the oil.....and keeps your quilting zen going strong. Diane
I have two books about machine quilting on your home sewing machine, published by AQS.
Here is my first book, giving you an overall guide to quilting on your home machine. It helps talk quilters down from the ledge, jump in and quilt their tops successfully. Soon to be "out of print" - thanks for keeping it alive for so long.