Friday, November 17, 2017

Machine Quilting Tip

Besides using a type of thread that your sewing machine likes (my machine is exclusive to Aurifil these days) the other really important choice is what type of needle to use. 
I use a different needle for quilting and for piecing. I know a few people who never change their needle until it breaks - I'm looking at you Louise!! LOL
I always change my machine quilting needle after quilting every large quilt, or after 2 or 3 small quilts. It is really important when your needle is making thousands of stitches through 3 layers of materials at a high rate of speed to have a sharp needle. Needles that develop spurs or become slightly bent can result in costly machine repairs. Needles are cheap but sewing machine repairs are not!

Here's my tip: place the needle container near your machine so you always know what type of needle you're using. You can see on the little ledge on the right side of my machine that I have my Schmetz Topstitch needle case there (and you can see that it's empty because I go through a lot of needles). It's a visual reminder to me of the type of needle that's currently in the machine. If I want to stop quilting and start piecing, I would want to change the needle. For precision piecing, especially with tiny pieces, I prefer the Microtex Sharp needles. 
Yes there is a difference!
If you have problems with tension, skipped stitches or thread breakage, I would encourage you to try a new and/or a different kind of needle.

It has been a long time since I stipple quilted anything. It's one of the quickest and easiest quilting designs to use and since the baby quilt has to be finished, it got stippled. And look at that... the binding is prepped and ready to go on!


Kate said...

Thank you for the great tip about needles. I've not tried quilting yet, but am really considering starting a quilt as you go project next year to get my feet wet. What size/type needle do you recommend for that type of quilting?

Deanna W said...

I have learned that lesson about changing needles.Puncturing those three layers takes its toll on the sharpness of the needle. I have tried the Microtex needle and love them. I have also tried #14 denim needle and they work too.The problem I have with machine quilting is at bulky seam allowances(it could only be two seams) the quilting skips stitches or more likely makes a loop or two on the back of the quilt. I haven't figured out what is the cause as yet.Any ideas that might help would be gratefully received.

stitchinpenny said...

As a reminder - don't drop the needles in the trash. Please put old pins and needles in some container before disposing of them.

I have small plastic boxes with latches at all my sewing stations so I remember to dispose of the sharp items safely. The boxes cost less than a dollar and can hold a whole lot of needles and pins. I then tape the boxes up and dispose of them safely.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I hate changing needles, but, I've broken 2 needles in 3 days, paper piecing. I do change the needle after lots of paper piecing blocks, since that paper really dulls the needles.

AnnieO said...

I like the microtex needles too. My machine does a lot better quilting with a bigger needle, like a 14. I like stippling too for a quick finish! Going to be quilting a baby quilt myself today and have a lot of basting to do on a big quilt.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Great reminder for people about needles. I have a range of needles I use for each purpose (I like the Microtex for miniatures, too). Also, proper disposal is important too. I'm lucky that my Vet clinic will take my little (old pill bottles) 'sharps' containers to dispose of with theirs.

Bonnie said...

Great suggestions. Hum, when I use up the 100 needles I've recently gotten I'll try the micro sharp. I actually have some in the collection of needles I have hanging around the studio. Thanks.

Chantal said...

Most interesting post. I didn't know much about machine quilting but now I know a whole lot more. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. Most appreciated. ;^)