I tried out a lot of tips for easier stitching with metallic threads today, but this one thing made way more difference for me than anything else. Thread lubricant works! I applied it to the thread itself by squirting a couple of drops on a scrap of fabric and then running the free end of the thread through it, picking up a light coating of lubricant as it went. I then threaded the top of my machine with the lubricated end of the thread, and I couldn't believe the difference.
See the looped, loose stitches on the back of this sample? It's the second line of stitching from the top. That's BEFORE tread lubricant. The rest of the stitching was done AFTER thread lubricant. Wowser. Here's the front view, all done after the lubrication:
MUCH better. Sorry about the photo quality...we'll get much better shots in the studio Wednesday for the February/March issue of McCall's Quick Quilts.
You can buy thread lubricant at any quilt shop or fabric store. The one I used was a Collins product, available on Amazon.com and lots of other places. If you're planning to stitch with metallic thread, this is definitely something you want to have by your machine!