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Batik fabric and needles - confused

Batik fabric and needles - confused

Old 10-31-2018, 04:28 AM
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Default Batik fabric and needles - confused

This is my first quilt using batiks. Also, after years of using primarily Universal needles (sometimes Quillting needles) - 80/12 - I'm confused as to what should be the driver in picking the needle for free motion quilting. I have seen that all sizes and types are used. I have stuck with primarily Universals simply because it seemed to work fine on my machine and I didn't realize that I might get even better results if I paid more attention!

I am using a variegated Aurifil 50 wt thread. I understand that batiks are more tightly woven. In my trials of needles on non-batik fabric, I have seen nice results with a 90/14 Top Stitch. But the needle is bigger - and I am worrying about whether the holes left in the batik fabric will close up when washed. I did try this needle, and it worked fine, but the holes... Also, I think that is a bit larger than technically needed for my thread. So wondering if maybe an 80/12?

OR...

I have seen Microtex Sharps recommended (descriptions of needles indicate they are good for batiks and also leave smaller holes). Yet it also indicates that these needles are thinner. For FMQing batiks, will this be a bit flimsy? I'm not sure I quite understand the difference between the sharps and top stitch needles.

Do I stick with 90/14 (for tightly woven fabric and quilt fabric)? Or do I go down to a 80/12 because I think that is appropriate for my thread? But will it be not as well suited to the fabric? Top Stitch or Microtex? Will the holes kind of disappear at least somewhat when I wash?
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Old 10-31-2018, 05:31 AM
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Your quit is beautiful!

Try a small quilt sandwich matching fabric and batting types. Then try the different needles and check the results. Write the needle size/type on the sandwich sample for later reference. Each project is different and the results can vary. The Topstitch 90/14 have been recommended by some quilters.

Yes, needles can be so confusing. I've been using the microtex for machine EMB with good results. They go through the thick layers and no problems. I only worry or change needle type size if there are issues with breaking threads.

Hope that helps!
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Old 10-31-2018, 10:38 AM
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I like the idea of trying out different needles on quilt sandwiches. My best guess based on experience is that 80/12 microtex would work well. However, a lot depends on you FMQ technique. If you quilt fast you might need to move up to a 90/14 microtex to prevent the needle from flexing as you quilt. I prefer microtex because of the smaller holes and sharper point. I will switch to topstitch if I am having trouble with the thread. Aurifil 50 never gives me trouble, though, which is why I would choose microtex. In general, I want to use the smallest needle size for the thread that does not cause the needle to flex. If you FMQ with foot pedal to the floor, then you might need to go up a size because you will be moving the quilt faster which in turn puts more stress on the needle between stitches.
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Old 10-31-2018, 02:51 PM
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I don't use batiks.

I piece with 90/14 needle and quilt with 90/16. All holes totally close up after I wash and dry quilt.
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Old 11-01-2018, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Rhonda K View Post
Your quit is beautiful!

Try a small quilt sandwich matching fabric and batting types. Then try the different needles and check the results. Write the needle size/type on the sandwich sample for later reference. Each project is different and the results can vary. The Topstitch 90/14 have been recommended by some quilters.

Hope that helps!
Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
I like the idea of trying out different needles on quilt sandwiches. My best guess based on experience is that 80/12 microtex would work well. However, a lot depends on you FMQ technique. If you quilt fast you might need to move up to a 90/14 microtex to prevent the needle from flexing as you quilt. I prefer microtex because of the smaller holes and sharper point. I will switch to topstitch if I am having trouble with the thread. Aurifil 50 never gives me trouble, though, which is why I would choose microtex.
Thank you! I picked up a Microstitch 90/14 needle yesterday (store was out of 80/12). Going to try to pick up an 80/12 today. I also picked up 80/12 Topstitch needles to compare. I would say I quilt at a medium speed. So probably good to try both sizes. I have a few extra squares from the top, so will give it a whirl with different needles to see what works best.

I will say it felt different (and sounded different) quilting on the batik (I tried a topstitch 90/14). It's like I need to figure out my speeds again, because I was getting smaller stitches than I normally get. A little too small. I've got to slow down from my normal speed I think, it seems a bit more difficult to move the batik through.
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Old 11-02-2018, 02:05 AM
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I have used the Microtex 80/12 for quilting with Batiks. If you have extra fabric to make a test quilt sandwich, that would be great.
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Old 11-02-2018, 04:05 AM
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I find I get better stitch quality using a larger needle (90/14)Quilting needle when quilting on my DSM. Long arm needles are Huge, so I wouldn't worry about too large of a needle on Batiks.
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Old 11-02-2018, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Kris P View Post
I find I get better stitch quality using a larger needle (90/14)Quilting needle when quilting on my DSM. Long arm needles are Huge, so I wouldn't worry about too large of a needle on Batiks.
This is good to know (the comparison to long arm needles). I was most concerned about leaving bigger holes that wouldn't close (being a batik - I have never worked with those before - but have read various warnings about leaving needle holes). I did spend some time on a small sample with the different needles. Of course, the sample didn't have near as many seams as my quilt. But still gave me a feel.

While it worked fine on the sample, it seemed like I was getting thread nests at the start of FMQing with the Microtex 80/12 (I very rarely get thread nests, so I am attributing that to the needle). I switched over to the topstitch 80/12 - which seemed to eliminate that problem. But I've just started, so if any hint of an issue - I won't hesitate to switch to the 90/14.
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:52 PM
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You are on target...90/14....the holes do close up.
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