Back to School Blog Hop… Change that needle!

If you’ve been following along on the Back to School Blog Hop I’d like to welcome you to my stop…

Can you remember the last time you changed your sewing machine needle?

Yes? Good job! I hope it wasn’t just as a result of a breakage?

No? You might like to go and change it right now! Really, right now!!

The right, burr free needle makes all the difference to your stitching, whether you are a garment sewist, a top piecer or a quilter. You’ll get a cleaner stitch and snagless sewing.

I’m a quilter who is usually stitching woven fabrics so I like a sharp needle. It might be a microtex needle, a top-stitch needle, sometimes a metallic needle or an embroidery needle and less frequently a denim needle or a quilting needle. They are all sharp needles.
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If I was stitching on knit fabrics I’d put a ballpoint needle in my machine.

It’s time for a story. Are you sitting comfortably?

Once upon a time all needles were sharp needles and all fabrics were woven. A sharp needle makes a clean hole through woven fabrics. Then knit fabrics came into the world and  round or ball point needles were introduced so they wouldn’t split the fibres of the woven fabric. Some lazy stitchers didn’t like swapping needles so those who make such things came up with the universal needle, kind of like a general contractor… perfectly OK at most things, a jack of all trades, but not the absolute best… The sewists who choose the right needles for the right jobs are the ones who get the very best results and live happily ever after!

Sam Hunter has an excellent tutorial on choosing your needle. I recommend you take a look at it. After you’ve chosen the right needle the only other thing is to remember they don’t mature with age. They just get old and dull. They are not sharp any more. That’s why you need to change them every six hours of stitching or so. If you use the titanium coated ones they do last a little longer. I usually let them go twelve hours or so but really I like the fact they are gold colored and they make me feel good when I use them!

Of course it goes without saying, don’t stitch over pins if you don’t want to dull the point of any needle and be careful to let it stop going up and down before you pull your work out of your machine. That’s a sure fire way to break your needle…. ask me how I know?

If you’ve never tried Superior needles I have a little give away for you… leave me a comment telling the world how often you change your machine needles and I’ll choose one winner to receive a packet of each of my favorite size titanium coated needles along with a little spool of Aurifl 12 weight and 50 weight thread to use with them.

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Only comments left on this blog post will count. I’ll choose the winner on Saturday morning so make sure to tell your friends to give them a chance of winning too. Just one comment each please and remember to make sure I have a way of contacting you.

And if you want to read all the other useful blog posts that have been written on this blog hop over the last four weeks here’s the complete list. There are just a few more to go…

Sept 1: Peta Minerof-Bartos of PetaQuilts – So, Does that Diagonal Method for a Pieced Backing Really Work

Sept 2: Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com – The Quilter’s Knot

Sept 3: Teresa Coates of Crinkle Dreams – The Importance of Pressing

Sept 4: Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts – Color Coding for Paper-piecing

Sept 5: Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio – How to Calculate and Cut Bias Binding

Sept 6: Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilt Studio – Credit where Credit is Due

Sept 7: Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts – How to Keep a Perfect 1/4” Seam Between Different Machines

Sept 8: Rose Hughes of Rose Hughes – Fast Pieced Applique

Sept 9: Megan Dougherty of The Bitchy Stitcher – The Care and Feeding of the Domestic Sewing Machine

Sept 10: Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Design Studio – Make a Mobile Art Kit

Sept 11: Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty – Log Cabin 101

Sept 12: Sarah Lawson of Sew Sweetness – Zipper Tips

Sept 13: Jane Victoria of Jolly and Delilah – Matching Seams

Sept 14: Jemelia Hilfiger of JemJam – Garment Making Tips and Tricks

Sept 15: Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios – Curved Piecing Without Pins

Sept 16: Misty Cole of Daily Design Wall – Types of Basting

Sept 17: Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams – Setting your Seams

Sept 18: Christina Cameli of A Few Scraps – Joining Quilted Pieces by Machine

Sept 19: Bill Volckening of WonkyWorld – The Importance of Labels

Sept 20: Jessica Darling of Jessica Darling – How to Make a Quilt Back

Sept 21: Debbie Kleve Birkebile of Mountain Trail Quilt Treasures – Perfectly Sized No-Wave Quilt Borders

Sept 22: Heather Kinion of Heather K is a Quilter – Baby Quilts for Baby Steps

Sept 23: Michelle Freedman of Design Camp PDX – TNT: Thread, Needle, Tension

Sept 24: Kathy Mathews of Chicago Now Quilting Sewing Creation – Button Holes

Sept 25: Jane Shallala Davidson of Quilt Jane – Corner Triangle Methods

Sept 27: Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies Quilting – The Power of Glue Basting

Sept 28: Catherine Redford of Catherine Redford – Change the Needle!

Sept 29: Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz of Fun From A to Z – French Knots, – ooh la la!

Sept 30: Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts – How to Align Your Fabrics for Dog Ears

October 1: Tracy Mooney of 3LittleBrds – Teaching Kiddos to Sew on a Sewing Machine

October 2: Trish Frankland, guest posting on Persimon Dreams – The Straight Stitch Throat Plate

October 3: Flaun Cline of I Plead Quilty – Lining Strips Up

 

I’m looking forward to reading your comments. Check back Saturday to see who won. GO NOW… change your needle!

 

50 Comments

  1. Suzanne said:

    I can happily say I changed my needle yesterday but only because I started a new project and after month of educational posts on the blog tour, it was a fresh thought. I liked the perspective you gave on the universal needle. It gives me pause as I confess I tend to use those a lot. Thank you for your insight.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  2. Alicia said:

    Hello, I’m new to quilting and love your tips, and your humor. Guess I’ll change my needle now…{smile}..

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  3. Debbie M. said:

    I probably don’t change my needle often enough. I tend to change it when my machine doesn’t seem right and then all is better.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  4. Ashley said:

    I try to remember to change every time I start a new project but that’s probably not often enough!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  5. Patricia said:

    I use the Superior Titanium Top Stitch needles and they stay sharp so much longer than any other type needle that I change less often. For me, changing varies on what is being stitched, so I don’t have a set amount of time for use. I’ve read; new project = new needle. However, I prefer to test stitch with a mock-up of the intended project and take it from there.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  6. Kathy C. said:

    I am pretty good at changing my needles because I routinely change projects, from quilting to costumes to bags. I tend to throw away (in an old prescription bottle) the needles instead of reusing them because I can never remember what I took out of the machine ;-/

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  7. Maureen Haynes said:

    I change my needle when I notice a problem with my stitches that isn’t fixed by adjusting the tension. I should probably change the needle more often.
    maureeneh52@hotmail.com

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  8. Nancy said:

    I Change the needle when it sounds noisy penetrating the fabric or when the needle breaks, or when stitching isn’t right and rethreading does fix it.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  9. Sandy K said:

    Well, honestly, I don’t think of changing my needle until I break it. I don’t sew every day, but I think a note on the calendar to change it out at least monthly would help me

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  10. Vicki H said:

    I didn’t realize there were so many different needles. I hope to get better at changing needles at least on every big project.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  11. Marci Roberts said:

    Thanks for the reminder. I try to change my needle every eight hours of sewing. It does make a difference!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  12. Jo N. said:

    I should change my needle more often. I don’t usually wait until I start a new project but I really don’t change it often enough. Would love to try the titanium needles.

    Jo N.
    richjo@telus.net

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  13. Jean Schowe said:

    I try to change my needle every 6 or 7 hours of sewing, but I don’t always remember. I know that before I start sewing today I will change my needle. Thanks for the reminder.
    sschowe @Comcast.net

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  14. Nancy E said:

    I try to change my needle every 6-8 hours. I keep a post-it label on the machine front with the current needle info written on it so I know where I am in usage otherwise I would have no idea how old it is. If I start a new project, like quilting instead of piecing, I change the needle then no matter the hours. Different sizes for different uses works for me. I store the old needles in a plastic film roll container….they are great for hanging pictures if you have plaster walls.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  15. Sherry Denton said:

    Thanks for the reminder, I need to change mine.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  16. Stephanie K said:

    Every project I use a new machine needle….if it’s a big project. Every step. great tutorial link. Thanks!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  17. Marika said:

    Found you through Sam’s blog hop. Thanks for the giveaway! I try to change my needle every project or so. Recently I have been switching back and forth between quilting and garment sewing so I’ve been changing the needle when I switch.
    marika (dot) zimmerly (at) gmail

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  18. LJ said:

    Too bad that needles don’t have a microchip in them to keep track of the hours!! lol I switch needles a lot and have no idea how many hours I’ve used that particular one. If I have any problems with stitching, the first thing I change is my needle and then I rethread my machine!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  19. ter said:

    i am soo excited…. i change my needle every few months… or when i go on retreat … freshing up all the tools… new needle ,, new rotary cutter blade and fresh roll of thread….
    then i know i will have a good time with no worries

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  20. I change with every new project or when I change between projects. Hope to see you at January retreat in temecula. Connie Peterik

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  21. Ruth said:

    I change my needle several times per quilting project. And whenever the stitch is off or sounds different. Ruth

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  22. Kathleen Herbach said:

    I changed the needle of my sit down machine after I moved it into my house. I did quilt a small wall hanging first but at least I eventually changed it!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  23. Valerie Boudier said:

    Shamefully, only when it breaks or I need a different size or type

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  24. Evette Barry said:

    Hi Catherine – I discovered you and your beautiful work on Quilting Arts TV. I can proudly say I changed my needle yesterday! I change it with when I hear that familiar ‘thwomp thwomp’ sound when the needle strikes the fabric. I hate that sound. My current project is sewing selvages into blocks and boy, needles take a beating with those thick edges! Lots of needle changes. Looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful work – especially the vintage inspired projects!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  25. Umaesew said:

    I frequently change my needle and always when I start a new project. The right needle for the fabric can make such a difference to your sewing!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  26. Linda Cartwright said:

    I have never heard of Superior needles. I change my needles with every new project. I hate it when I get a snag in the fabric from the needle.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  27. Diane Wagner said:

    I change my machine needle often because I tend to use different thread weights. I like 60 wt thread for piecing and 50 wt for quilting. Whenever I start a new project or switch to a different fabric is also a good time to check machine tension and change to an appropriate needle.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  28. Betty Acree said:

    I just changed my needle yesterday as part of my regular cleaning of my machine. I’d probably sewn about 6 hours with that needle. I take better care of my sewing machine than any other machine I own!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  29. Linda said:

    I change my sewing machine needles often–it makes a difference–I love Superior needles-thanks for the chance to win.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  30. Diane said:

    I am guilty of not changing my needle as often as I should especially since I switched to Superior titanium needles. I usually change ‘per project’. Thanks!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  31. Margaret Maxwell said:

    I love using Superior needles! Dr Bob says they tell you when it’s time to change them if you listen! So I change mine when I hear it…puck….puck..as it goes thru the fabric.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  32. Lynne Stucke said:

    I LOVE Superior Titanium needles – use them all the time, exclusively. And, I change them after every completed project…..which, according to your post, is N O T often enough. oops!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  33. Jeanine said:

    I try to change my needles on a regular basis, but, occasionally, I’ll wait too long, and then I’m reminded that it’s time by the noise and funky stitches.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  34. Debra said:

    I change them fairly regularly, depending on what I’m sewing. Never tried Titanium needles though. Hmm.

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  35. Tamie said:

    I know I don’t change my needle often enough and I really know better!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  36. Sandra Weimer said:

    I do try to change my needle often, but it probably isn’t every 6-8 hours of sewing. If my machine sounds different I do change it!

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  37. ginger said:

    Depends upon what I am sewing. Batiks about every 6 hours. Appliqué about 4 hours because of the fusible. Would love to the the Titanium needles

    September 28, 2015
    Reply
  38. Karen G. said:

    I change my needle now more than ever due to the wonderful advice given on quilting blogs like yours. Years ago, it didn’t occur to me. Now I know better!

    September 29, 2015
    Reply
  39. equitime77 said:

    I use different machines for different jobs and I forget how long that machine/needle has been there for. So as soon as I get the slightest problem in sewing then its straight into changing the needle. I use Schmetz only so its a good make. I dont use the cheap ones. I also do check the needles when I remember to do so. If they feel blunt or dont look straight or have hit needles etc then its in for a change. It makes so much difference having a fresh needle in.

    September 29, 2015
    Reply
  40. Courtney said:

    I got my first sewing machine last December. I’ve pieced and quilted at least three quilts and various other things and NEVER changed my needle. I’m so ashamed! I just keep thinking “Well…it still goes through the fabric, so how bad can it be?”
    A trip to the fabric store is in order for me!

    September 29, 2015
    Reply
  41. I don’t change needles nearly as often as I should. I’ve gone through maybe a dozen this year while sewing most days. Oops!

    September 29, 2015
    Reply
  42. Kristy said:

    I changed my needle last week. I typically change it after every quilt top I piece 🙂

    September 29, 2015
    Reply
  43. Sandra said:

    I should change my needle more often, I’ll be honest…if I notice an issue or if I can “feel” that it’s catching, I change it. And if I break it, well… Kind of like changing the rotary cutter blade, I keep better track of them actually! Need to smarten up here. 😉 Publicly shaming myself…lol

    September 29, 2015
    Reply
  44. robinttttt said:

    Currently my sewing time is very sporadic and hard to keep track of ‘one quilt top’ or every 8 hours. I change the needle each time I get a few hours to sew since I can’t remember when I changed it last.

    September 30, 2015
    Reply
  45. Lina said:

    I change my needle every time I start a new quilt project! I never tried titanium coated needles… I am having fun reading back to school blog hop posts!

    September 30, 2015
    Reply
  46. Michele said:

    As I am adjusting to my new computerized machine…last week I broke a record 3 needles – because I tried to use a non straight stitch with my straight stitch plate. I have to listen to the computer!!!

    September 30, 2015
    Reply
  47. MaryKay said:

    If I’m in the Sewing Studio, I change the needle every morning. Otherwise, I insert a new needle with each project — and clean and oil the machine before beginning. Thanks for the giveaway!

    October 1, 2015
    Reply
  48. Kathie L said:

    I know I’m a day late, but just wanted to say your tip is important. I try to change mine often.

    October 4, 2015
    Reply
  49. Judy Kroeger said:

    Just pieced a top for my Grandaughter. Before the borders go on the needle will need to be changed. Thanks for the reminder!

    October 4, 2015
    Reply

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