One of the most dreaded problems of all those who use embroidery machines is birdnesting. Birdnests are annoying and time consuming to deal with and in worst-case scenarios, they can even ruin an entire project being sewn on the Janome MB-4S. So what, exactly, are birdnests and what can be done about them? Read on to learn how this problem occurs and how to best avoid it.

What Is A Birdnest?

Nowhere near as cute as the name might suggest, a birdnest in machine embroidery terms is a knot of thread that occurs on the underside of a project. Even though the knot is not visible on the front side of the design, they are problematic because they affect stitching, the design, or could be pushed down into the throat plate of a Janome MB-4S, affecting how the fabric sits in the hoop. A big knot that is pushed into the throat plate may cause the entire design to pop off the hoop before it is finished and require careful removal from within the machine as well.

What Causes Birdnesting?

Birdnesting is caused by different problems with the thread and the way the needle passes through the fabric when using machines like the Janome MB-4S. There are a few common ways this can happen, including the use of an improperly threaded upper strand that is too slack, or an unthreaded take-up lever. In these instances, the loose top strand can become looped and be pulled through the bottom cord, resulting in a bunched up knot on the underside.

Other reasons for birdnesting with Janome embroidery machines include forgetting to insert a bobbin or improperly inserting the bobbin so the thread does not flow freely. A tightly tensioned bobbin used with a looser top cord can also result in a messy knot on the underside of the design. Hoop problems, such as a loose hoop that bounces on the machine, or bounce caused by fabric that sticks to the needle are other main causes of birdnests.

How Can Birdnesting Be Prevented?

Since most birdnests occur due to thread tension problems, the most important factor in preventing them when using a Janome MB-4S is ensuring proper tension of both the top cord and the bobbin. Always make sure the cord is properly threaded onto the machine and that the bobbin is correctly inserted. In addition, stop whenever the hoop begins to bounce or “flag” and correct the problem before continuing. Check the fabric tension and the needle to eliminate bounce and give the needle a sturdy surface to sew through.

Last of all, once sewing has begun on embroidery machines, listen for binding or straining sounds that could indicate thread problems and watch for warning signs like thread break alerts. If things don’t sound right, or a break message pops up, stop and check all of the above to avoid the possibility of a birdnest.

Birdnesting is a common and frustrating problem encountered with embroidery machines, yet it is something that can be easily prevented. Before beginning a design, always perform the tension checks referenced above and make sure the bobbin and hoop are set correctly to facilitate easy stitching. For the best results with the Janome MB-4S, take a few extra minutes to prevent the frustration of birdnesting!

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