When a thread breaks on e500 embroidery machine

Kathy Strabel

Greetings and wishing everyone a better 2021
I am having a problem with thread breaks on a particular project--also getting some of those "loopies".  I will provide as much info as I can so that someone might have a good comment or recommendation without having to write out things I have already tried.  Here goes:

I am embroidering on those 100% cotton tea towels, not the flour sack kind, but the ones that look more like a linen fabric, Made in India, and sold in quilt stores/craft shops all over. Towels are machine washed, dried and lightly ironed, stabilized and hooped properly.

The design I am using is a pair of designs digitized by the same person and purchased from a large and trusted online source. One is a rooster, the other is a hen and a chick, in a very simple redwork-type of format. One color throughout.  The rooster one gave me a bit of trouble in the form of a couple small bird nests on the test stitchout, but the stitching on the "good" piece (tea towel) went beautifully.

I started this project with a new needle, in my preferred type and size  metallic type, size 14. Very much like a topstitch needle, except made for metallic threads. I have used this type and size for a few years and it has always worked very well. I am using the same spool of thread for both designs. It is a Floriani thread that I have used successfully before, though not a brand-new spool.

So now I am doing the hen and chick design; I did not do a test stitchout because it is basically the same design as the rooster--same towel, same thread, checked the upper and lower threading--all fine. Nothing odd about the bobbin area, the spool of thread is mounted correctly and engaged in all the guides from my spool stand to the guides on the machine itself. No changes to tension upper or lower. Same, same, same. About every few hundred stitches, I get a large loop up top, and if I don't catch it immediately, it makes a small bird nest on the back.  If I do catch it immediately, I back up the needle to maybe 30 stitches before the loop formed, and re-stitch. However, it does not appear that the new stitches get a lockstitch--it just seems to start stitching without a lock stitch. And, since I am manually stopping the machine to cut the loop, I don't get any error code showing.  I am concerned that the design will pull out where I have made the repairs. Tea towels get washed a lot! 

On this same note, my thread will occasionally slip out of the needle's eye--usually it is when the needle is traveling to a new section. But aren't I supposed to get an error code, and the machine should stop and tell me there is a thread break? I do not see anything on this in the Instruction Book.   My brain is foggy on this---I may be confusing this with my previous machine of another brand???  I don't mean this happens occasionally with this particular project, I mean overall occasionally it happens.

I last cleaned and oiled my e500 about 10 days ago.  Reassembled correctly and no problems. For luck, I replaced the new needle I used yesterday when I started this project, with another brand new needle. Still getting the loopies. I always use the lower stitch speed of 400SPM.  I am stumped because the companion piece stitched out quite nicely, but the hen design just is not working well. The only difference is the design itself, all other things are the same. Oh, the hen design is not appreciably more fancy than the rooster one--no lines of jerky satin stitches, etc.

So, I hope I have provided enough info--maybe too much??    Comments welcome.
Happy NEW  Year!!!   Kathy S.   Camas WA

Jim Stutsman

Diagnosing from afar is dodgy at best, but I'll take a chance. The loop is happening either because a stitch was skipped, or because the needle went into the same hole as a previous stitch. If it were skipping it could be due to the machine being very slightly out of time, but far more likely would be a burr on the hook race, bobbin case, or needle plate. However that would show up in pretty much every project, so we can probably rule that out. You said the designs are "simple redwork-type", which I assume means straight stitch lines as opposed to satin stitches. A size 14 needle, regardless of type, measures 1.4mm in diameter. If any stitch is shorter than 1.4mm it can result in two stitches through the same hole, which will result in a loop on top and usually a nest underneath because the bobbin thread did not catch. You might try a size 11 needle, not necessarily metallic. Metallic needles have a very large eye, which could be working against you here. If the tea towels have a fairly open weave, that also could lead to two or more stitches in the same hole.

Years ago I nearly had to buy back an MB-4 machine. The owner was trying to use it commercially. All the designs that she bought were well digitized, but very detailed. Using a size 14 needle and 40wt thread she had exactly the problems you are having. We went through a lot of trial and error until we switched to a size 8 needle and 60wt thread. At that point it performed beautifully and she had no more problems.


Kathy, you also mention that you’re concerned about the ends coming undone in the places where you restart the stitching, which you are right to be concerned about.  The solution is to pull up the bobbin thread, keep a long tail of both the upper and bobbin threads to secure on the back after you have completed the embroidery. If it’s a fill pattern or satin you can hold the threads in position so they get stitched over to secure them. The digitizing doesn’t know where you’ve had the problem so it can’t have a tie-in. Tie-in and tie-offs are set by the digitizer not the machine. 
Another problem you mention that I have had is with the thread brand you’re using, it always causes stitching problems on my machines. The needle comes unthreaded, I get thread loops, and it also shreds right at the needle in spite of everything I try. That brand did better on my Babylock machine than the 12000 and 15000.


Kathy Strabel

Favymtz--Thanks for the advice on making sure that I get a tie-off (manually) when I need  to re-stitch an area. My last embroidery machine would give an error code, stop the machine, and let me fix a problem. Then, I could send the needle back a few paces, and it would re-start stitching, but also would do a lockstitch when it would resume stitching. I guess the e500 does not have this feature. Too bad, because that was very convenient.  It was a machine of another brand.   

  ALso, I have been using Floriani threads for most of my embroidery life--about 10 years--without much problem, but you say it is not good in your machine.  What thread do you use?? I only have the one machine, the e500, for embroidery these days.   I did notice that my old machine performed very well with Coats and Clark embroidery thread, but the e500 hated that thread., so I had to replace every spool of the Coats and Clark with Floriani.  Whoo, that was an expensive week!!  LOL!!

One more thing, which I did not mention before is that the thread I am using for the rooster and hen embroideries is Floriani black color. I have heard that black thread is notoriously hard to manage, is prone to breaks, and can be stiffer and less elastic than other colors, due to the chemicals involved with the black dye. Maybe that has contributed to my problem with my current project?       So many variables involved in the embroidery process!!   

Kathy S. Camas WA   HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!  

Ceil J

I too find Floriani to be very slippery.  My 15000 uses it but it's the only thread that I use with a net.  It is gorgeous thread, however.  I use Madeira as I received a fantastic deal on the complete set in storage drawers but, if storage wasn't an issue, I'd use Robson Anton.  It seems to be wound the opposite of other brands and is my go-to brand when I need to purchase a large spool.  You also can't go wrong, in my opinion with any of the Superior Threads lines.  Hope this helps.