Thread is wound onto spools in one of two ways – stacked thread or cross wound thread. Stacked thread is when the thread lays parallel to itself around the spool. Cross wound thread is forms an X around the spool. So what is the big deal you ask?
There are a couple things to know about how to position the spool on the sewing machine to achieve the best results. Stacked thread typically comes off the spool best if it is placed on a vertical spool pin. This will result in the spool needing to twist or spin to release the thread. This allows the thread to come off the spool in the smoothest manor. By placing stacked threads properly on a vertical spool pin will also allow the thread to not get caught in those pesky thread holder grooves carved into the ends of some spools. Cross-wound thread unwinds best if it is placed on a horizontal spool pin making the thread pull away from the thread core smoothly as each X is unwound.
Spool caps are designed to hold cross-wound spools in place on the horizontal spool pin. Match up the correct spool cap size with the spool cone end. Spool caps need to be positioned so that no thread can sneak between the cap and the spool and tangle. This will result usually with a broken needle or snapped thread as it becomes super tight. There are a few times when it is best to place a stacked spool on a horizontal spool pin. Some stacked slippery decorative threads such as rayon or polyesters sometimes what to puddle or fall off the spool resulting is a tangled mess while the spool is spinning. Again this tangling will lead to a broken needle or snapped thread. Change these unruly spools to a horizontal spool pin with the proper spool cap.
Thread stands are a wonderful addition to anyones sewing room. These stands allows users to use the larger cones of thread. Most larger thread cones are cross-wound. When placing this cone on a thread stand, the thread will travel upward to the guide at the top of the stand and over to the first guide on the sewing machine. Though this looks like it is on a vertical spool pin, the thread is actually still unwinding in the same way as it would on a horizontal spool pin. The thread is still being pulled off the spool releasing each of the cross-wound x’s very smoothly.
Thread stands are also good for fussy threads like metallics and nylon monofilaments. By placing these types of threads on a thread stand, it allows time for the thread to relax before it enters the first guide of the sewing machine.