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Thread: Needle size for machine quilting

  1. #1
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    Needle size for machine quilting

    I've always used a size 14 for machine quilting. Yesterday I was reading a article in a magazine that says for 50 wt thread you should be using a size 12. News to me! What size do you use and does it make a difference? Where do you get your size 12's from? Thank you!

  2. #2
    Super Member Ariannaquilts's Avatar
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    I use whatever needle is handy usually it's a 90/14 quilting needle.
    Maria
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    Are quilting needles different from sewing needles? Those of you who quilt on your DSM, do you change to a different sort of needle for quilting?
    Lisa

  4. #4
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe'smom View Post
    Are quilting needles different from sewing needles? Those of you who quilt on your DSM, do you change to a different sort of needle for quilting?
    I usually go up a size, from a 12 or 14 for piecing to a 16 or 18 for quilting. I find that if I don't use a 16 or 18, I get skipped stitches. And I use a topstitch needle. The eye is larger, and the scarf (a groove in the needle) is longer, which protects the thread more from the friction as it moves in and out of the fabric.

    Generally you want to match the size needle with the size thread, but IMO you can't go wrong with a topstitch, because as I said, the eye is larger, so it accommodates different weights of thread.

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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    I usually go up a size, from a 12 or 14 for piecing to a 16 or 18 for quilting. I find that if I don't use a 16 or 18, I get skipped stitches. And I use a topstitch needle. The eye is larger, and the scarf (a groove in the needle) is longer, which protects the thread more from the friction as it moves in and out of the fabric.

    Generally you want to match the size needle with the size thread, but IMO you can't go wrong with a topstitch, because as I said, the eye is larger, so it accommodates different weights of thread.
    i keep forgetting about the topstitch kind. thanks
    Nancy in western NY
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  6. #6
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    For regular sewing it is recommended that you match the size of the needle with the size of the thread. I do use a 12 for piecing with 50 wt thread on my vintage machines. I do most of my quilt on my Bernina and I use a 90/14 either topstitch or quilting needle and haven't had any problems. You can buy 80/12 needles most anywhere you buy 90/14's, I guess. Most of the places that I buy needles have a variety of sizes.
    Patrice S

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  7. #7
    Junior Member charley26's Avatar
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    I use an embroidery needle size 11. I found that I was getting a lot of skipped stitches over the last few months, and that there was no difference with amount of skipped stitches with a quilting, topstitch or the size of the needle. I thought that my Janome was 'ill'; I read somewhere about trying embroidery needles; I did, and all was well. I use Gutterman thread.

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    I usually forget to change my needle when I switch to quilting, then when my thread keeps breaking I remember to switch to an 18. Then all is well. I piece with an 11,12 or 14. Whatever is handy at the time, but really prefer the 18 for quilting.

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    I use a 90/14 for just about everything and haven't had any troubles. The only time I use a different needle is when I need a specialty needle, like a jeans or leather needle. I sew with a variety of cotton and polyester threads and don't have problems with any of them, whether piecing or quilting.

    It probably depends greatly on your machine. I would imagine that the spacing tolerances vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and probably even within the same model due to variances in manufacturing and any wear & tear on the machine. Needles don't cost that much - if you're having troubles I'd say pick up a variety pack and try them all out and see what makes your machine happiest!

  10. #10
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I agree with sewnoma. It took a lot of trial and error on my new to me brother pq 1500. Straight stitch will be fine with any needle/thread combo. FMQ had breakage at the needle and I have played around with different threads and needle size combos and it is mostly fixed. The machine doesn't like to go fast in one direction and sometimes I forget!
    Alyce

  11. #11
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    I don't know anything. I use 75/11 for everything.
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    I go to Superior Thread's website to read their recommendation on any question about needles/thread. There is a wealth of information there.

  13. #13
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    For some reason when I use topstitch needles the holes can be seen in my fabric. I've been using 14's.

  14. #14
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    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I use a 14 for piecing and sometimes a 16 for FMQ quilting. Depends on how many seams the quilt has.
    Another Phyllis
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  16. #16
    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    I use a 12 for everything and I have no skipped stitches.

  17. #17
    Super Member copycat's Avatar
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    Yes the needle size and type will make a difference. Try to match the needles size to the weight of the thread. You may find a free needle guide at your local quilt store or sewing center or online. I like to use the Microtex needle or Quilting needle because the needle tip is very sharp and pierces through the 3 layers of the quilt sandwich well. I usually use a 80/12 or 90/14 depending on how thick my thread is. I buy my needles from Sewing With Nancy's website on black friday when there are deals or at Walmart.

  18. #18
    Power Poster ube quilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    I usually go up a size, from a 12 or 14 for piecing to a 16 or 18 for quilting. I find that if I don't use a 16 or 18, I get skipped stitches. And I use a topstitch needle. The eye is larger, and the scarf (a groove in the needle) is longer, which protects the thread more from the friction as it moves in and out of the fabric.

    Generally you want to match the size needle with the size thread, but IMO you can't go wrong with a topstitch, because as I said, the eye is larger, so it accommodates different weights of thread.
    Yes, top stitch needles are wonderful.
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  19. #19
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    I am fairly new to free motion, but I use a 14 or 16 top stitch needle for most of my free motion. I use a 12 or 14 top stitch for my piecing. So much easier to thread

  20. #20
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    A lot depends on the thread weight. I usually sew (and quilt) with basic 50 wt so a 80/12 works for me. But for 40 wt I use a 90/14. There is no guarantee that I will switch out the needle if I go down to a 50 wt thread either.

    If you have established a pattern that works for you, there is no need to change it.

  21. #21
    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    It does depend on your machine, too. It's a Singer 301 that uses a 12 for everything. When she has a cord issue and I had to quilt on a Necchi, I had to experiment to find a needle it liked. I think it was a size 14 topstitch needle that worked best.

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