Sunday, December 21, 2014

Machine Needles

Long, long ago when I was young and learning to sew, there was one package of machine needles.  When one broke you replaced it with another.  Sometimes you needed to get a new package of universal number 80/12s.

When someone comes in and says she wants to start quilting, the first question we ask is, "Do you have a sewing machine?  Do you know how to thread it?"  If she starts, it won't be long before she needs more sewing machine needles so we recommend the same universal 80/12.  We may ask if it is for machine quilting and recommend a 90/14 needle.  But in this modern age of choice, the variety of machine needles by a variety of manufacturers can be overwhelming once you start researching and looking for the right tool/needle for the job.

A common needle problem is skipping stitches.  A worn needle may be the cause.  A commonly heard suggestion is to change the machine needle every 10 hours of sewing or with every new large project.  Another cause may be the size of the needle is too small.  Try moving up one size.  If you are using a 70/10 go to a 80/12 or 90/14.

If the thread keeps breaking it may be the needle causing problems.  Change the needle in case there is a burr.  It also may help to move up a needle size.  The larger needle will make a larger opening for the thread so there is less friction and stress on the thread as it moves through the fabric.

There are different types of machine needles for different sewing jobs.

Quilting and topstitch needles have a larger scarf on the back of the needle so the thread fits closer to the needle and there is less drag on it as it moves through the needle.
Jeans needles have a sharper point and are useful for Brenda's bags.  If you have skipped stitches on multiple layers of a bag, the jeans needle may help.
Titanium needles have a coating that makes them about 5 times stronger than other needles so the added expense is worth the extended usage.  They still should not be used to sew over pins.  My experience is they bend instead of snap off.

Schmetz needles have a wonderful website full of educational information about the anatomy of a needle, usage charts and more information that you ever thought you needed to know.
Superior Threads website has great information.  Look at the top of the web page for the Education articles.  There is a ton if helpful information about home machines, long arm machines and industrial machines.
These 2 websites should keep you busy learning for many hours!  Ask for a variety of needles in your  Christmas stocking.

No comments:

Post a Comment