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Tufting Wiki (FAQ)

Tufting Wiki 

Welcome to our WIKI, it awnswers most of your question with regards to tufting in general. This is an ever changing and evolving resource for your questions, queries and concerns. Please read through the below content before sending your questions incase an answer already exists. This guide is set up using thehelp of reddit, which offers a great community for sharing knowledge about this topic too.  

 

For complete beginners: 

What is tufting? 

Tufting is essentially a type of textile weaving, not unlike loop and hook weaving or traditional carpet making. More modern forms of tufting involve the use of a machine known as a tufting gun. This is a hand operated gun which when used on an upright, stretched piece of fabric will allow you to create patterns with yarn, resulting in rugs or other fluffy surfaces.  

 

What do I need to start tufting? 

 

Where can I find tufting guns? 

We have a selection of different tufting guns, please refer to our comparison table.  

 

What yarn can I use in my tufting gun? 

Basically, any yarn that fits through the hole! The AK-II loop pile tends to handle the thickest yarns. The other can also handle quite some. Very soft yarns are harder to cut for the scissors of a cut pile machine, so try to avoid those.  Wool yarn is best for rugs as it is the most resillient. The wool has natural advantages, such as dirt repellance. Acrilyc is a good yarn to practice, it is very cheap. 

A more comprehensive guide of different yarns and their respective properties is included below. 

What fabric can I use to make tufted rugs/ other things? 

The gold standard fabric for tufting is called ‘Monks Cloth'. It is a strong and durable fabric with holes large enough to allow the gun to easily thread through without ripping holes or damaging the fabric. Monks cloth is originally a 100% cotton cloth. There are variations however that make it specifically good for tufting, by an added guideline weave (the stripes) and a mesh with polyester material.  You can find our premium fabrics that are al very suitable for tufting  right here.

Your fabric must have some flexibility which allows the needle of your gun to easily work through, without being too elastic. One of the most important elements of tufting is having a firm and consistent amount of pressure on your fabric as you work, it your fabric is too elastic this will not be possible and may warp your designs. 

How do I get my design onto my fabric to tuft? 

Most people approach their pieces in two different ways. The first is to draw directly onto your fabric, in which you take any marker/ pen and draw your design onto the back of your fabric. Remember that you work from the back of your piece meaning that your final product will be reversed (which is particularly important to remember if you are including written words in your work!). 

You can also project your image/ design onto your fabric if you are wanting to have a very clean guide to work from. You can use a projector, or overhead projector, or print out your design, stick it behind the cloth and shine light through the back.  

Getting started with the starterkit:

How much does tufting cost? 

Generally speaking tufting like any form of creative art or hobby has costs involved, however over time as you accumulate the basic elements (gun, frame) the cost becomes lower. 

People often ask how much the average piece costs to complete, however this is like asking ‘what is the length of a piece of yarn?’ (get it?). The answer to this question will come down to three basic elements;

1 – How much do you value you time at?

2- What quality of yarn are you using (this is where the biggest price differences are)?

3- What size is your piece? 

 

When you are looking to sell your own rugs, we made a blogpost that helps you decide on the price. Read it here.

 

Something to consider before throwing yourself into this wonderful form of art… 

Tufting is a relatively ‘new’ medium of art. Unlike painting, embroidery, sculpting and all manners of other artistic expression, picking up an industrial looking machine to loudly punch carpets into an upright frame has not reached the masses quite yet (despite what tiktok would have us believe). This means that we are still learing as a community, past time has been amazing to see how creativity has grown with regard to this medium. We rely a lot on the community, and encourage you to do so as well.  

 

What are the different tufting guns

 

What is the difference between a loop pile and a cut pile tufting gun? 

As a very basic overview, loop pile is where the yarn is not cut as the gun moves across the fabric, meaning that the finished look is that of small bumps (loops) where the yarn weaves through your fabric. Alternatively, cut pile involves the gun cutting each length of yarn as it weaves through the fabric.  

 

Can  I adjust my tufting gun?

How do I adjust the pile height of my tufting gun? 

This will vary depending on which tufing machine you have. Loop piles are generally the easiest to change. Please consult the machine manual for more information.  

 

How do I use a tufting gun?

How do I actually use a tufting gun? 

Your tufting gun has arrived, it is plugged in and ready to go, your frame is set, fabric is stretched and gun is threaded... now what? 

Push the needle and foot of your gun into your fabric and apply significant pressure. I push my frame against a wall when I work as sometimes the pressure can cause my frame to shift backwards. If your pressure is not consistent, or too light then the yarn will not effectively pass through the fabric as you work, and may even push out towards the back of the fabric. This may cause all sorts of issues ranging from tears and yarn fallout, to inconsistant pile on your piece. 

Rotate your machine with you, in the direction that you want to go. Using the handle of the machine to help prop up the machine, and take some of the load weight off your wrist. The foot of your machine must always be in front, guiding your work. Don't ever 'backtrack' or drag the tufting gun. 

 

How do I thread my tufting gun? 

There are threading tools you can use to thread your machine, however many people will just use a piece of wire or a paper clip. Machines can differ in this aspect, but generally every machine has a yarn guide at the top and a needle hole at the front. The machine needs to be threaded through the yarn guide and then through the needle hole.  

 

What maintenance does a tuftinggun need?

  •  For general care, always keep your tufting gun lubricated before use (see the manual of your machine).
  •  Lubricating grease or oil can be found at all hardware stores or bike repair stores, butter can also be used as a substitute.
  •  Make sure your yarn feed is smooth and without any disturbance, knotted or fuzzy yarn can cause jam to the gun.
  •  Always unplug the socket before checking and debugging, 
  •  Maintain a clean and organized work space to prevent any injury.

Take breaks in between tufting sessions and check on the joints often, don’t over work the machine. If you hear any sudden noise or unpleasant cracks that disturbs the consistent motor sound, stop and unplug immediately, check and tighten all parts manually. if this persists or the machine is damaged, contact us via email.

 

How often should I oil my tufting gun ?

Short and safest answer is to oil your machine every time you use it. 

If you are using your machine a lot, or for very long periods of time it is crucial that you oil your machine to ensure optimal performance. 

A drop of oil is sufficient for this process. We recommende sewing machine oil, it is colorless and odorless.  

 

Where should I be applying oil to my machine? 

This will depend on what kind of machine you have. Generally on the moving parts, the parts that could suffer from frictional resistance. Please consult the manual of you machine.  

 

What is the best way to feed yarn into my machine? 

If you have purchased a ball of yarn and have threaded the strand into your machine, it is likely that you will soon be frustrated by how often the strand drops out as you work, leaving you to thread your machine all over again. 

Ideally you want your yarn to feed smoothly into your machine so that it does not jam, kink or become caught. This is very very sensitive, the smallest friction will cause your machine to unthread.  

The best way to ensure consitent yarn feeding is by using cones. Often you can buy your yarn already on cones, elsway a yarn winder might help you out.  

Lots of tufters have come up with interesting ways to creatively feed their yarn; if you’re interested in engineering your own yarn feeder or trying out a new method, you might try connecting with other tufters through Tuft the World’s Mighty Network. 

 

Features and characteristics of tufting gun models 

Generally speaking there are 3 different kind of tufting guns: 

  1. Loop pile 
  2. Cut pile 
  3. Loop & cut pile (alternating/ adjustable) 

As you are researching tufting guns you will find that machines are usually labelled with a numerical and alphabetical value that indicates the kind of pile and the model. 

AK-I AK-II and AK-III 

  • This link includes a chart created by Tuft the World for the machines they sell (AK-I AK-II and AK-III). This chart gives the best overview of the differences including cost and ease of use. 

https://tufttheworld.helpdocs.io/l/en/article/d2g73xm74k-comparison-chart 

  • The AK-I AK-II are widely regarded as being the best tufting guns for beginners. They are relatively light compared to other machines, are simple to use and are significantly easier to fix and repair than ZQ model machines. 

ZQ-II and ZQ-III 

On their website Tuft the World explain that they have recently stopped stocking ZQ model machines. The reason they site for this decision is that many of their customers were having issues with their machines, and that ultimately it is harder to use for beginners than the AK models. 

Below is a link to a video created by Tuft the World that shows the difference between all 5 of the above mentioned machines if you are looking for a visual guide: 

https://tufttheworld.helpdocs.io/l/en/article/7yqtrqh63h-comparison-video 

The ZQ-II is considered to be a bad options for beginners in that it is very heavy and difficult to use. Furthermore, switching from cut to loop pile (or vice versa) is a difficult process, with even the smallest error potentially breaking the machine. 

 

Where can I find a product manual for my tufting machine? 

The machines purchased in our shop come with a digital manual. Please navigate to the manual page and find the model you have to see specific information on your model. 

 

How do I return my tufting gun to its factory setting? 

Some of the problems you may encounter with you gun as you are tufting can come as a result of over adjusting your machine. Below is a link for a post by the wonderful Tuft the World which explains exactly how to return your machine to it's factory setting. 

https://tufttheworld.helpdocs.io/l/en/article/054g1umr33-how-to-return-machines-to-their-factory-setting 

Tufting gun alternatives

Non-Mechanical Tufting Devices 

There are a number of alternatives to tufting guns that can be used to get a similar result with a little more physical effort. 

Punch Needle 

A punch needle tool can be used to pierce fabric on one side and create loops on the other. The effect of using this tool is an embroidery type pattern on one side of the fabric you work on, and a loop hooked rug on the other. This is a relatively simple and cheap alternative to a mechanical tufting gun and can be a good way of incorporating loop pile sections into your work if you only own a cut pile machine. 

Below are some helpful links to Youtube videos to get you started: 

Phentex Machine Punch Needle 

This form of punch needle more closely resembles the structure of a tufting gun, however it requires the user to manually punch the fabric with yarn. 

Incredible tufter u/SarahVitak has uploaded a great video explaining how to use this type of tool: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTkf1e7JCtw&t=599s&ab_channel=SarahVitak 

 

Yarn FAQs 

What types of yarn are there and what should I use? 

Different types of yarn have different properties, each with their own set of pro's and con's. The most important things to consider when deciding which yarn to use are: 

  1. Where your piece will end up when it is finished? 
  2. How durable does it need to be? And, 
  3. How flexible does your piece need to be? 

Generally speaking, all yarn will fall into one of two categories: synthetic and natural. 

Features and characteristics of yarn types 

Wool yarn is the 'go-to' fibre for floor pieces, having been used in carpet making for many hundreds of years. Wool pre dates any synthetic fibre and plastic in general and so most commercially available carpets are made of wool yarn. Wool is durable and tends to hold its shape after much foot-traffic which makes it ideal for any floor piece that will be treated as a typical carpet or rug. Depending on the quality of wool yarn you are purchasing, and its size, there can be great variation in how soft and malleable wool is. Typically, wool is slightly courser than other variations of yarn (which is in part due to it's durability). By nature, wool yarn sheds slightly though this will depend on the type and quality of wool yarn used, how it has been processed and it's length and diameter of fibre.Keep in mind that some people are allergic to wools, which is particularly important if you are intending to sell your work. 

Acrylic yarn is a very popular yarn fibre, in part because of it's relatively lower price point and availability. Acrylic yarns tend to come in many colours and are available at most craft and hobby stores in abundance. Acrylic is a fantastic place to start, and perfect for beginners who want to work on a piece that will not be subject to repeated interaction. Depending of the quality of acrylic yarn, it's size and the length of your pile there will be some variation in how soft acrylic yarn is. Generally speaking acrylic fibres are soft to the touch (especially when compared to most wools). 

In researching acrylic yarns and tossing up between different products you are likely to come across two different, more common variations. Polyester is characterised by its soft touch and can be cleaned easily. Polyester is typically combined with other fibres in order to improve it's strength. Polypropylene is a strong and durable synthetic fibre, characterised by its resistance to staining and dirt build up. As is typical of polyester, polypropylene is also commonly combined with other fibres to improve its shape holding capacity. 

The major draw back of acrylic yarn is that is absolutely does not stand the test of time when used for floor pieces where it tends to pill and fray easily. An example of this may be seen below in a post by tufter u/rokfaks

https://www.reddit.com/r/Tufting/comments/k8leli/acrylic_yarn_over_time/ 

Cotton Yarn is a form of vegetable yarn (along with linen) which is another popular choice for tufting. As far as natural fibres go, cotton is a cheap alternative to traditional wool yarns. Often available as organic or recycled, cotton yarn is a great option for tufters who are wanting an environmentally conscious option that is relatively more durable than acrylic. Cotton is not ideal for cut pile tufting or carpet making in general as it does not have the strength to maintain it's shape. Unlike wool, cotton yarn is not 'bouncy' in that it does not spring back into shape when stretched. Cotton tends to be lighter weight than other natural fibres, making it a good option for tufters who want to make wearable pieces. Like any yarn, variation in quality means variation in features such as durability and softness. Variability in lustre of cotton yarn (shiny versus matte) is an indication of mercerisation, a treatment process that strengthens the yarn making it easier to dye and less likely to shrink. Cotton yarn is ideal for tufting bath mats that are no pile (not suitable for cut pile) due to it's breathability. 

Silk yarn is traditionally used to create ornate and intricately patterned rugs. Silk is among the most expensive fibres with which you may construct your piece, and is also very fine, meaning that you may need more product to complete your piece opposed to wool or acrylic. 

Viscose yarn is an incredibly soft yarn which is semi-synthetic, meaning that it is a blended yarn comprising natural and synthetic fibres. Viscose is made of regenerated wood cellulose. I am yet to find any tufters who have extensive experience using viscose yarn in their work, however viscose yarn is relatively common in commercial carpet making. Viscose has a silk-like quality in that it is exceptionally soft and can be manipulated to bare aesthetic qualities of other natural, animal and synthetic fibres. Viscose may be used as a cost effective replacement for silk, however it is still significantly more expensive than most yarn varieties. Unlike most synthetic fibres viscose can be died quite easily which may account for its relative difficult to source in multiple colours. Compared to wool yarns viscose lacks durability and clean-ability, making it similar to acrylic yarns in that it is not ideal for an area of the home that get's a lot of foot traffic (bath mat, hallway runner). Furthermore, viscose does not perform well when wet. For these reasons, viscose is very often mixed with other fibres (typically wool or synthetic yarn) to improve it's elasticity. 

Bamboo yarn is another less common fibre of yarn used for tufting. Bamboo yarn is made of 100% bamboo pulp fibre and is characterised by its softness and permeability. Bamboo is softer to the touch than cotton and like viscose, is a cost effective alternative to silk. Bamboo is flexible by nature and responds well to stretching with relatively high elasticity compared to other natural fibres such as wool. Bamboo dyes significantly better than cotton or viscose. Despite these positive features, bamboo is not commonly used in carpet making (traditionally used in garments) so its specifications in ornamental or carpet pieces is not yet clear. 

Jute & Sisal are a popular material used in creating floor coverings for high traffic areas such as kitchens or door mats. They are natural fibres that are dried and processed before being weaved (often by hand). I am not familiar with anyone who has tested this material in a tufting gun, and given it's inherent rigidity and low flexibility I would approach with caution when testing this fibre. 

 

What size yarn should I use? 

"If it fits, it sits"... generally speaking, anything that will thread in your machine can be used to tuft. 

Here is a visual guide from Tuft the world that will help you visualise what is meant by 'yarn size', and give you an idea of how much variation there is. 

https://tufttheworld.helpdocs.io/l/en/article/uggjxgjgtw-what-size-and-kind-of-yarn-can-i-use 

With this being said, be reasonable about your expectations and approach with common sense. Of course you could use embroidery thread in your tufting gun, however given the nature of primary tufting cloth it is unlikely that it will maintain consistency or give you an appealing pile. Conversely, if you were to push through 3 strands of very thick wool you may put pressure on the machine and create larger than ideal hole in your backing fabric. 

 

Can I thread more than one strand of yarn in my tufting machine? 

Yes! As stated just above, anything that fits in the eye of your tufting gun will work. 

 

What is the difference between threading one strand of yarn versus many? 

This will come down to what aesthetic you want in your final piece. For a sparse, less dense feel you would want to thread less into your machine. Conversely, for a denser and tighter pile you may thread 2 or more strands into your machine. This decision is entirely yours to make and warrants some testing before you dive into your main project to see what works best for you. 

 

How much yarn do I need for my piece? 

This will depend on a number of factors, namely how dense you want your final piece to be and what fibre yarn you are using. For wool, 12 mm pileheight it is about 2.5 kg per square meter.

 

Can I thread multiple lengths of yarn into my machine at once? 

Yes! Especially if you want a thick/ dense looking finish, or if you want to provide some depth by including different colours. This is particularly good when colouring hair or something similar. 

Frame FAQs 

What do I need to make a frame? 

For a basic frame you will need lengths of wood, screws and carpet edge strips. It is a relatively cheap and easy process, though will take some time and planning. 

Here are some other great guides ad videos to get you started: 

How large should I make my frame? 

This is entirely up to you and will be informed by how large or small you want your pieces to be. Keep in mind that you can include more than one piece on a single stretched piece of fabric, and then finish them individually. 

If you are just starting out I would recommend something 900mm X 900mm (35.4 in X 35.4 in). This is because many suppliers will list 1m X 1m (1.09 X 1.09 yard) pieces of monk’s cloth. This will allow you to have a bit of overhang, making stretching your fabric easier. Of course you can buy different lengths of monks cloth that are larger, or cut these lengths to be smaller which will then mean you need a different sized frame. 

Be mindful that it is significantly more difficult to complete a large piece when you are relying on a frame smaller than the total size of your piece. For example, you want to create a piece that is 3 meters by 1 meter. You are better of to create a frame that will fit these dimensions, opposed to using a 1 meter by 1 meter frame with the hopes of stitching the pieces together to finish. It is certainly possible, but much trickier and leaves you open to mistakes and miss matched lines. 

 

How does the fabric stick to the frame? 

In order to adhere the fabric to the frame you will need to attach a gripper to the frame. This will allow you to stretch your fabric while you work, however unlike a glue or adhesive, the cloth is easily removed once your piece is finished. 

The most typical/ common gripper used in tufting frames is carpet gripper. When laying carpet in a traditional setting (on the floor of a home, office, etc), carpet gripping segments are laid on the perimeter of the room in order to affix the carpet cleanly. These grips usually consist of a piece of thin plywood (or similar), with many small nails along one side which face away from the frame, and a small amount of larger nails used to fix the grip to the frame. 

 

Primary and Secondary Tufting Cloth & Monks Cloth FAQs 

What is Monk’s cloth? 

If you have googled "what fabric do I use for tufting" then I am sure you have come across the term 'Monks Cloth'. Generally speaking, monks cloth is a good option for tufting, however as the community of non-commercial tufters grows, there is some debate regarding its efficacy. 

Monk's cloth is typically made of 100% cotton, polyester or a cotton/ polyester blend. Though relatively similar in appearance, many users of r/tufting have identified polyester Monk's cloth, or a cotton/polyester blend as being ideal for tufting. This is because cotton is more likely to rip and tear and can be less malleable to work with on the frame when stretching. Furthermore, 100% cotton monks cloth is more easily 'overworked', which is important to keep in mind if you intend to make a piece that is threaded with dense yarn or with a lot of closely tufted sections. 

As with most of the answers in this wiki, there is no 100% final answer as to what is 'best'. Some people still prefer to work with 100% cotton as it may suit their ideal finished product, or in order to have their pieces be environmentally conscious with 100% natural fibres. The choice is yours and will take some practice and testing to see what works best for you. 

At this stage, the 'gold standard' for ideal primary tufting cloth is either 100% polyester or a polyester blend that is 26 wefts per inch. If you look at the point end of your tufting gun it becomes clear why there is a need for flexible fabric with 'holes' large enough to allow the needle to puncture and move. 

 

What is the difference between primary and secondary cloth? 

Primary tufting cloth is the fabric that you will be working on while you create your piece. This is the fabric that you will stretch onto your frame and use your tufting gun on to bring your designs to life. 

Secondary tufting/ backing cloth refers to the fabric you will attach to your piece once it has been finished and sealed with an adhesive agent. Depending on whether your piece is ornamental or destined to be walked on should inform what secondary backing cloth you use. 

 

How much should I stretch my cloth? 

This requires a bit of trust and intuition but the basic aim is to have your cloth tight enough so that you can flick it with your fingers and get a nice, firm, almost drum like resistance. Begin by lining up the top of your fabric with the frame and once secure, pull down the bottom edge of your fabric to catch on the bottom of your frame. This technique will allow you to have a nice base with which you can work your way around and tighten the stretch. 

 

How can I use my scraps? 

Tufter u/failedartstudent posted a fantastic picture that provides a way in which you can use fabric off cuts on your frame. 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Tufting/comments/kdw2dx/tiphack_for_using_fabric_scraps_that_are_too/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 

 

Rug Finishing FAQs 

How do I finish my rug? 

Ultimately, you need to seal your work so that the threads do not become loose and fall out. There are a number of ways you can do this, the most popular being PVA glue, liquid latex or carpet adhesive. There is some debate about whether PVA glue and liquid latex will damage certain forms of yarn, and some have personal preference for their finishing agent. At the end of the day, my advise would be to start small and simple with what you can afford and have access to (usually PVA glue is good for beginners) and then if/when it becomes economical, make the investment in commercial grade carpet adhesive. 

There is also some debate about which glue to use depending on whether you are making a wall piece versus a floor piece (a more traditional rug). Carpet adhesive/ glue is the most effective for floor pieces, however it tends to be more expensive than other glue alternatives. 

Here is a comprehensive guide to finishing your rug by the wonderful Tim Eads: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ysn4ObadRE&ab_channel=TufttheWorld 

 

What glues/ adhesives/ sealers can I use to finish the back of my piece? 

The answer to this question starts just above in the previous point, but to cut a long-ish story short: the most materials used for finishing a piece is carpet adhesive, PVA glues, PVC glues and liquid latex. At this stage, non-commercial tufters tend to most often use Latex based glues for their work. 

 

Which glue should I use depending on what type of piece I am making? 

Please be mindful that there is no single answer as everyones work is different, with different intentions for their piece and as a very new art form there is no concrete answer to what the 100% perfect glue is. A lot of this will require trial and error and testing. With this in mind, anything that has an adhesive agent will work (within reason). 

Limited flexibility pieces- wall hangings, tapestries, etc: If you are working on a piece that is not going to need much manipulation or flexibility then PVA glue varieties work well. Unlike other adhesives, PVA has limited durability and would not have staying power if your piece were to find its home on the ground. This is also true of bath mats where the adhesive would be unlikely to withhold repeated moisture. 

High flexibility pieces- Clothing, bags, etc: For a piece that needs a lot of flexibility inherently, you should be aiming to use an adhesive that is similarly flexible. Liquid form latex, or an adhesive that has a majority latex compound would be most suitable. 

Highest durability pieces- floor pieces, rugs, mats, etc: Anything that is being used on the ground, or is likely to experience a lot of traffic needs to be sealed with a durable and strong adhesive. Some forms of latex are also designed for durability that would work equally well. 

 

Glueing the back of your rug:

How do I cover the glue on the back of my rug once it's dried? 

Some people prefer to cover the back of their glued piece once it is finished. This may be an aesthetic discussion, or to protect the rug if it is being used as a floor piece. 

One of the more common means of covering the back of your piece is felt. You can use crafting felt for this, however suitability of this fabric will be dependent on where your piece will be placed/ used. A polyester felt is ideal for this. 

You can also use canvas, muslin, linen, etc. As long as you are considering how your piece will be used and where it will be placed, it doesn't really matter what you pick. A woven fabric that is thinner in general is usually best as it will be more forgiving of the variations on the back of your piece, some of the thicker fabrics may not be as flexible and will therefore show lumps and bumps more clearly. 

Applying the secondary backing and tape:

See also this guide

How do I trim/ cut/ shave/ carve/ sculpt my piece?" 

Some people create dimension, layers and variance in their work by cutting back yarn, or shaving at different angles. 

This may be done with shears, shavers or scissors for larger sections, as well as tweezers for finer details. 

Sheep shearers are often used to do rough cut backs, usually to the back of the piece as they are less precise. However they are not ideal for carving out dimension into your design. 

Scissors are the simplest and easiest option. You can manipulate the angle of your cuts and control exactly where you are cutting. Of course, this will be much slower than other options, but definitely the best place to start. 

Hair cutting shearers are another option, however be mindful that they are not designed to cut through yarn, and so the speed is slower than ideal and may catch depending on what yarn you have used in your piece 

Carpet carvers are the ultimate device for carving dimensional angles, and clean lines into your work. They are however the most expensive option available, so be mindful of this when you are making your decision to invest. 

Many will completely cut back longer pieces of yarn before finishing their work so that finishing is cleaner and easier. 

Be mindful that it is much easier to trim your pieces while they are still on your frame. Depending on what changes you are wanting to make, be sure you have made up your mind before sealing your piece as it will be difficult to completely remove yarn once your piece is sealed and dried. Conversely, shaving back your work may be easier after glued and dried. 

Carving, vacuuming and end result:

 

 

How can I hang my masterpiece? 

There are a number of different options here, that will depend on how large/ heavy your piece is, and what aesthetic you are looking for. You can mount a finished piece on a wooden frame, which will allow you to hand it as you would any frame. Alternatively some will sew hooks into their backing fabric, or make a loop with their backing fabric at the top of the piece to then file through a piece of wood to then hang like a tapestry. 

HELP! Why is my ----- doing this? 

"Why is my fabric ripping when I tuft?" 

In some cases it may be a combination of the things listed below, so please read through and consider your set up and materials before posing your unique question to the group. 

How are you holding/ manipulating the machine? 

  • Your tufting gun should only be moved in the direction that the foot is facing. What this means is that as you work, you should be leading your yarn with the foot/ needle and never dragging it back on itself. 

Cloth 

  • The cloth you are using is not ideal for tufting and is being damaged as your needle works. Please read our section on primary tufting fabric for more details about ideal fabric for tufting. 
  • Your cloth needs to be stretched as tightly as possible (and comfortable) onto your frame before working. It should feel taught to the touch, with some bounce/ flexibility to be expected. 

Yarn 

  • One of the most common issues is that your yarn is falling out of the machine as you work. The main cause of this is that your yarn is not being effectively threaded into your machine as you work. Please see above where we go into more detail about ow to properly feed your yarn into your tufting machine as you work. 
  • If your yarn is very thin it may be falling out as you work. Please see above where yarn size is explained in more detail. 

Overworking 

  • The question of what your fabric can or cant take is complex, and will depend on a number of factors including materials you are using and which tufting machine you're using. Many tufting guns have a speed dial which can be adjusted, making it possible to control trigger pressure. If your speed is too high it is possible to rip the piece you are working on. 
  • If you are working in a small space with a lot of detail, or are overlapping your tufts many times it is likely that you will rip your backing fabric. 

How do I fix holes in my fabric? 

For large holes or tears you will need to patch it. This involves taking another seperate piece of cloth (possibly in a section of your frame that is not going to be included in your final piece) and then sewing or glueing it in place. Visually, if you imagine your piece as it is sitting on your frame, you want to attach your patch from the same side that you work from (the back). 

Ideally you want to fix large holes once your piece is completed. If a large hole has formed in your work, try to leave this section and work on the rest of your piece in an attempt to avoid putting any more stress on this section of your piece. 

For smaller rips or tears you may be able to stitch the fabric 'closed'. 

 

"The yarn is falling out while I work! Why isn't my yarn looping/ stitching through the cloth?" 

There are a number of reasons why this might be happening, check the following: 

  • Make sure that you are using the correct cloth. Have a read of appropriate cloth types to use for tufting above. Some cloths like canvas are too rigid and do not have sufficient flexibility to allow the needle to punch through without ripping. 
  • Your fabric needs to be completely and evenly stretched on your frame. Make sure that when you push on your fabric there isn't too much give. 
  • Ensure that you are applying pressure on the machine and the fabric as you work, dont be shy, one of the most common problems with yarn fall out is that the machine is cutting the yarn before it has the chance to meet the fabric properly. 
  • Check that your yarn is appropriate for your fabric. While you can use anything to tuft (within reason), sometimes running 2 lengths of yarn at the same time can help improve the thickness and durability of the stitches. 
  • Check on your machine, is it may need some love (oil, cleaning). 

"My tufting gun is jammed/ not working!" 

This is a complex question as there are different gun suppliers, different reasons for the same issue and variations in how each person uses their gun which all have an impact on creating and fixing problems. 

Go to the supplier 

First and foremost, your first point of call if you suspect you have a serious issue with your machine, such as bent/ broken pieces (scissors is a common example), needle is not working despite machine being powered, etc, is to go directly to the supplier of your machine. This is made exponentially easier if you have purchased your machine from a reputable seller with an existing feedback platform and customer service portal. 

As much as the members of r/tufting can help you troubleshoot and offer their advice and experience, your best option is to communicate directly with those who supplied you with your machine. 

machinetufting.com have a great post that covers the basic and fundamental maintenance and care for your machine. 

https://machinetufting.com/blog-1/2018/10/11/maintenance-and-care#:~:text=Make%20sure%20your%20yarn%20feed,space%20to%20prevent%20any%20injury

Here is a video posted by Tuft Love in which they troubleshoot a jammed machine that may help guide your efforts to solve a more complex problem 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFlcAPUfF5M&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=TuftLove 

Go to a peripheral expert 

Alternative to the above advice, contact a local repair person who has experience with sewing machines or similar electronics. 

 

My machine wont turn off! 

The information included in this answer comes from a post by tuft the world. I have briefly touched on the main points made in their post below, however make sure you go and read their more detailed explanation, which includes figures and a video you may follow to solve this problem. 

  • A part of your machine is applying pressure to the trigger mechanism. A fix for this is described in the link below. 
  • Part of your machine has become misaligned (the grounding bar). A detailed description for this issue, and a video covering how it may be fixed is included in the link below. 

https://tufttheworld.helpdocs.io/l/en/article/brvcora5fb-my-machine-won-t-turn-off 

 

Why is my machine making a beeping/ whining/ high pitched noise? 

In a machine like tufting gun, noises are often an indicator of internal parts not operating optimally or rubbing together. Applying oil to your machine on a regular basis should minimise this occurrence, remembering that it is unlikely you will 'over oil' your machine, so be liberal with your oil and how often you are applying it. 

 

"Why isn't my cut pile gun cutting?!" 

The information included in this answer comes in large part from a post by tuft the world. I have briefly touched on the 3 main points made in their post below, however make sure you go and read their more detailed explanation: 

 

There are a couple of reasons why this may be happening: 

  • The yarn that you are using is not course enough for the scissors to cut through effectively 
  • The machine you are using has been adjusted to much. Troubleshooting for this problem is detailed in the above link. 
  • A part of your machine, close to the foot of the gun needs adjustment to allow the scissor blades to be pushed together. A video working through the process may be found via the above link. 

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