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Thread: how do you know when your sewing machine needle is dull?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Denise's Avatar
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    I've been wondering, how do you know that your sewing machine needle is dull and needs to be changed? Someone told me sometime ago that when your sewing your machine will give a clunk sound, as the needle is sewing through the material. Also that your threat will break. I thought this might be an interesting question for some of the new sewers as my self. Denise.

  2. #2
    Norah's Avatar
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    Well, I would think that those signs are a little late to change the needle. The clunk in mine means the needle is bent or broken. When it is dull, the needle tends to pull threads in the fabric, or break threads in the fabric, but if you listen carefully, the motor labors a little harder and the needle makes a different noise as it hits the fabric when the needle is getting dull. Sometimes, I stop and feel the end of the needle to see if there is a tiny spur on the end. That happens to me when my needle is having problems. How about the rest of you?

  3. #3
    Boo
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    Senior Member Boo's Avatar
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    Yep, the sound changes, but I couldn't hear it at first. It took some experience to be able to notice the difference. A good rule of thumb has been to change your needle with every 8 hours of sewing. Now that does not mean you change the needle every day. Those guidlines mean a sewing machine sewing constantly for 8 hrs. While I may spend an entire day sewing, that day also includes pressing seams and trimming and a break now and again. When I find my brand of needles on sale I stock up. The sharper the needle, the less likely the needle will go looking for path of lease resistance when you are aiming for the exact center of two seams, as in star points. Always remember that the better our tools, the better our success. A new sharp blade makes cutting accurate strips a breeze. I always delint my machine and change the needle at the begining of each new project.

  4. #4
    gr8tchr4u's Avatar
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    I find the rule of every 8 hours of sewing a bit hard to keep track of, but I've noticed that you can hear a definite sound as the needle gets dull, although that isn't the best rule of thumb.

    I will take out the needle and compare it to a new one - if it's noticably dull, I don't use it. Also, I will do a 'test push' of it through my fabric. If it won't go easily, pitch it and use a new needle!

    I know a lady who bought a tomato pin cushion for her various machine needles and marked the sections 'metallic', 'quilting', 'leather', and other types of needles she used, that way if she needed to change needles between projects, she could do so and keep track of them. She also sharpened them with the small emery 'berry' before using them again. She said this helped her keep track of the dull and the useful. :)

  5. #5
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    When your needle is dull you will hear a "pop pop or thud thud" sound each time the needle penetrates the fabric.
    You can put your finger against it and it will not feel sharp.
    If you have a magnifier take a look at the dull needle versus the new needle. What a difference!
    Joyce

  6. #6
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    :? Sometimes New Needles are just plain no good then you have the same problems,I always change needles and thread first before checking for other problems!!!! :wink:

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    :? Ok sooo I clicked the button tooo much been a long day and night, :? :wink:

  8. #8
    ButtercreamCakeArtist's Avatar
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    I tend to goof off and break mine before they get a chance to get dull.

    Hey, do you reckon the one in my 1908 singer treadle is overdue for a change?! LOL! (maybe it doesn't even have one in it, I was JK--just kidding--...Mom gave it to me. I should have it tomorrow).

  9. #9
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    Dull needles will skip stitches, too.

  10. #10
    live2teach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ButtercreamCakeArtist
    I tend to goof off and break mine before they get a chance to get dull.

    Hey, do you reckon the one in my 1908 singer treadle is overdue for a change?! LOL! (maybe it doesn't even have one in it, I was JK--just kidding--...Mom gave it to me. I should have it tomorrow).
    LOL, Miranda I'm with ya there! Mine usually break before I need to change them. Not always, but every now and then.

    I HOPE you have it tomorrow too, that means I'll have my house! LOL!

  11. #11
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    Sorry, this is off the subject. I just have to know -- Norah, is that your puppy? What kind of dog and what is it's name. He/she is adorable!

  12. #12
    Senior Member annmarie's Avatar
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    Danna - if you click on this link & scroll almost to the bottom when you get there, Norah talks about her puppy:

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/15/2250.page#27280

  13. #13
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    Even though this is an older thread, I am so glad it was bumped up to the top somewhere.

    I've only changed my needles when they break. I've never done that because they were dull. I didn't realize that machine needles COULD get dull. They are at a point all the time. My machine has been making a thud thud sound the last two times I used it. I packed up early yesterday and was trying to figure out where to take it to get it fixed. I'M SO SILLY!!!

    Oh, another question: How does one de-lint a machine. I tend to get lint all up into my presser foot. I use a 1/4" foot. So I have to take the foot off and wipe the shaft/ankle whatever area with a damp lint-free cloth. I do the same thing to the presser foot to get all the lint out. Is that what you were talking about??

    Melissa

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by annmarie
    Danna - if you click on this link & scroll almost to the bottom when you get there, Norah talks about her puppy:

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/15/2250.page#27280
    Thanks!

  15. #15
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    Melissa,
    I use a small art paint brush, to delint my machine. Also remember that by using the dull needle for so long , you could be damaging your machine , from the force of the needle trying to get through your fabric.
    Elaine

  16. #16
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    Hmmmm.

    I have to find a repair shop around here to have her checked out. I have 3 machines, but she works best for me. I changed the needle today, first thing b4 sewing and the noise and breaking thread is gone!!

  17. #17
    live2teach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpeters1200
    Hmmmm.

    I have to find a repair shop around here to have her checked out. I have 3 machines, but she works best for me. I changed the needle today, first thing b4 sewing and the noise and breaking thread is gone!!

    I am glad that helped you fix your machine! Funny, how when those problems arise, that is usually all it is. I didn't know to change my needle that often, but I do now! :D

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