(In your best Count Dracula imitation now!)
“On the Eighth Day of Vishing
I’d like the vorld of machine needles to be reveeeeaaaled to me”
Revelation 1: You should change your machine needle after 8 hours of sewing. This doesn’t mean 8 hours of sewing, pressing, cutting, but after what would be 8 hours of straight sewing. I make it simple by disposing of the needle when I’ve finished my project. Afterall, the needle is the smallest expense for your project, yet one of the most vital to achieving perfect stitches and problem-free sewing.
True Tale: One of our staff members was chain piecing the diagonal seam of half square triangles for her quilt. She could hear a “thumping” as she stitched, and from the sound could tell that the needle was dull and having a problem piercing the fabric. But she had lots to do, just wanted to get them done, and figured she would change the needle later. Well, when she finished and cut them apart, there were snag lines perpendicular to the seams through all of the pieces. Since the fabric was a dark print, the snags showed light, and she did not have enough fabric to re-make them. So she decided to solve the dilemma by colouring in with a pigma pen all the snags. She certainly regretted not taking the time to change the needle earlier; it would have been a lot faster than colouring the snag lines, and working through the angst and disappointment.
Revelation 2: There are different types of needles – one type does not suit all purposes.
Revelation 3: There are different sizes of needles within each type. The size must fit the thickness of thread used. (Thread comes in different “weights”, which refers to the thickness.)
Revelation 4: As a result, you will need many different needles for different fabrics, sewing applications, and sizes of thread. Breakage of thread and skipped stitches are often the result of not having the right type and size of needle for the purpose.
There is lots of information on the web about needles, and I can refer you to the Schmetz Needle site below, which is the brand we carry. We have most of their household types of needles available in many sizes.
What is handier, however, is the Schmetz ABC Pocket Guide to needles. No need to turn on the computer to get the information you need.
Revelation 5: What to do with those needles that you have used a little, but their time of usefulness is not over? Well, some of us use pin cushions which we’ve marked with the various types and sizes of needles to place them in. Others put all their needles in the appropriate sections. Everyone has their own way of organizing them.
A pin cushion came out this year that was perfect for this purpose. It has 12 segments, which can hold 12 different types/sizes of needles. You can write on this cushion with a pigma pen the various sizes or types, so there’s no need to have a “map” for the cushion. And since many of the types of needles are colour-coded, you can even match the needle colour to the segment colour. For example, you can put your green coloured quilting needles in the green segments, with each green segment for a different size (75 or 90). Below is a sample belonging to one of the staff, which is set up to her preferences:
We have brought in these pincushions and the Schmetz ABC Pocket Guide for needles, and have packaged them together so you, too, can be informed and organized.
- Each set is $9.99.
- This product can be found at: http://webstore.quiltropolis.net/stores_app/Browse_Item_Details.asp?Store_id=487&page_id=23&Item_ID=10077
Vanting to make your life easier, darlings,
Final Revelation: Want to keep track of what size/type needle you have in the machine? Use a distinctive pin, such as a hat pin, and place it in the corresponding segment in the pin cushion.