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Thread: Is it really BAD to use regular needle instead of quilting needle???

  1. #1
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    Is it really BAD to use regular needle instead of quilting needle???

    Hi...well I am just about to embark machine piecing my first top...nervous as everything.
    Anyway....as I am reading different posts here and articles, I find I don't have "quilting" needles, just the everyday (I guess they are called "universal") needles.
    So my question to all you veteran machine piecing people...is it BAD if I DON'T use a quilting needle?? I am using all cotton fabric.
    All help appreciated.
    Thank-you
    Vi

  2. #2
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    No its not BAD!!! I have used universal with no problem, and can not tell the diffrence of finished product. Of course I only make quilts to keep warm and to snuggle under. LOL

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    No its not bad... before they had all of these special needles ... we used the ones we had and our quilts somehow lasted.
    Do check the size , bigger is not better , especially when it comes to the piecing.

  4. #4
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    I use a "topstitch" needle - recommended by my quilt shop clerk. It is designed to hold two threads so I have a better chance of getting the thing threaded! I was using universal needles before that.

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CDcQ8wIwAQ#

    I used to get them at Wal-mart, but they haven't had them lately. Now get them at Joanns.

    The link shows a size 16 needle. I get a size 12.
    So many quilts, so little time.

  5. #5
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I have always used Universal needles. My eyes are not good enough to tell the difference in needles & don't want to bother with switching needles with regular sewing tasks.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kacklebird's Avatar
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    I haven't made many, but I use Universal too
    Kathy

  7. #7
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    I buy what's on sale and change them around like crazy (except for jeans and ball point). Neither my machines nor me can tell the difference.

  8. #8
    Senior Member fatquarters's Avatar
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    Well maybe I'm the dummy, I always use universal for piecing and quilting for quilting the sandwich, although have been told at the quilt shop that denim needles are good for the quilting too.
    fatquarters

  9. #9
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Universal isn't wrong if that's all you have, but I think there's better choices. I use a microtex (aka, sharp) instead of a universal needle. Universals have a slightly rounded tip and the microtex has a sharper, thinner point so it's perfect for piecing, appliqué, and quilting. Here's some info on how to choose and the differences between needles. http://quiltbug.com/articles/choosing-needle.htm
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  10. #10
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I use topstitch needles for piecing and machine quilting. I don't use quilting betweens when hand quilting. I use no. 10 sharps.
    Got fabric?

  11. #11
    Fabriclovr
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    As a quilter for may years, I have used many different needles to piece (sew together) my quilts. I prefer the Quilting 7/11 or a universal 70/10. You will find that the smaller the needle, the smaller the hole the needle has made in the fabric and so the less damage to the cotton threads (warp and weft threads) that make up the yard goods. The seams tend to lay better because they don't have a large hole to 'bend' over and when sewing a 'scant' quarter inch seam, that will make a difference in the overall size of the finished block.

    Top stitch needles are made for just what they are called, top stitching. Universal needles have a rounded tip and 'push' their way through the warp and weft threads, so they don't damage the fabric, but they do push the threads out of alignment just slightly and can cause puckering depending on the weave or thread count of the cotton or the stitch length you are using. (shorter stitch length means you are placing more thread per inch into the weave if the fabric, pushing the weave apart causing puckering, than a longer stitch length which tends to have more thread lay on top of the layers and not go into the weave)

    Quilting needles have a point and 'pierce' the fabric. Although this does cause a small amount of damage to the fabric, the small size of the needle, minimizes this damage. Because they pierce the fabric instead of pushing it out of the way, the fabric does not pucker as much with the smaller stitch lengths used in quilting because you are actually cutting the threads of the fabric to make way for the 'spool' thread.

    If you don't have either one of these needles in your kit yet, a NEW universal 80/12 will work just fine. and you shouldn't worry about puckering and such just yet. As for the quilting portion of the quilt, I use a Jeans 90/14 because they are sharp and strong and made to go through denim so going through the quilt top, the batting and then the backing at high speeds, does not slow this needle down. There are many different thoughts on what needle to use for the 'quilting' portion, that is your personal preference.

    You will get a lot of answers to this question, all are right and all are wrong depending on whom you ask but I think everyone will agree that a universal 80/12 with 100% cotton thread like Gutterman or Arifil will be your best bet for your 1st quilt.

    Good luck and post pictures of your progress and finished 1st quilt!
    Last edited by Fabriclovr; 02-17-2012 at 05:48 PM.

  12. #12
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanTx View Post
    I use a "topstitch" needle - recommended by my quilt shop clerk. It is designed to hold two threads so I have a better chance of getting the thing threaded!
    thanks, Jan, I didn't know there was a difference in the eye. I need that, as well.
    Nancy in western NY
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  13. #13
    Senior Member ChaiQuilter's Avatar
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    I've pieced with universal, quilting, and top stitch needles and have seen little, if any difference

  14. #14
    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    I use universal needles and see no issue with them. Looking forward to seeing your projects. No bad with using universal needles.
    Desiderata (Max Ehrmann) - Walk placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

  15. #15
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    I have used both universal and quilting needles to machine quilt. It all depends on the sandwich (batt), fabric and thread. If I have trouble with one, I try another. For piecing, I usually use a universal. Use what works best for your machine.

  16. #16
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    HI again ....just wanted to say a big "THANK-YOU" to everyone who answered my question. Looks like I will use my universal for piecing and my denim for quilting. As for posting a pic of the quilt...this may take awhile till I get it together and done..so don't look too soon LOL.
    This Board is sew fantastic
    And will keep watching this for any future answers or helpful hints.
    Vi

  17. #17
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    Use what you have and then buy Quilting Speciality needles when you need new needles. I stock up on them when Joann's has them on sale. I like top stitching needles and use them for both. Can see no difference. You can never have too many needles. Try different kinds until you find what you like.

  18. #18
    Super Member gardnergal970's Avatar
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    One thing besides needles that help with piecing...I had trouble with the needle pushing the fabric down into the hole for the needle and causing a mess. I found the best solution for me was to get a single hole plate for over my bobbin. It doesn't happen at all now and piecing is much more productive and pleasant. However, I didn't remember to change the plate when I wanted to zig-zag and you guesses it....I broke a needle. The price of learning but the two different plates are well worth it for me. Piecing is the part of quilting that I enjoy the most. So fun to see the pattern emerge as the pieces go together. Have fun and remember....perfection is a process so don't be discouraged when seams don't match or points disappear into the seam. You'll figure out how to do it so that it pleases YOU. Welcome to the wonderful world of quilting. Make it your own.

  19. #19
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I use regular sharps for piecing and quilting.

    If you notice that you're getting skipped stitches when using a universal needle on wovens, switch to a sharp and your skipping will almost always go away.

    Universal needles were supposed to be the "easier" way to sew both knits and wovens without having to keep sharps and ball points. In practice, they don't sew wovens as well as sharps and they don't sew knits as well as ball points. Even sharps sew knits better than universals.

  20. #20
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I have seen people use all different kinds of needles, quilting, universal, topstitch, go ahead I won't tell the quilt police LOL!!!

  21. #21
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    Wow! I didn't know there was such a thing as a quilting needle! I just use universal.

  22. #22
    Super Member donnalynett's Avatar
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    I use #14 sharps.

  23. #23
    Super Member paulswalia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    Universal isn't wrong if that's all you have, but I think there's better choices. I use a microtex (aka, sharp) instead of a universal needle. Universals have a slightly rounded tip and the microtex has a sharper, thinner point so it's perfect for piecing, appliqué, and quilting. Here's some info on how to choose and the differences between needles. http://quiltbug.com/articles/choosing-needle.htm
    Ghostrider, thanks for the excellent link!

  24. #24
    Super Member Amythyst02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Painiacs View Post
    Wow! I didn't know there was such a thing as a quilting needle! I just use universal.
    Me either!! I was beginning to think I was the only one that did not know this.
    Amythyst

  25. #25
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    I use size 12 or 14 universal needles for piecing and size 16 for quilting (I only stitch I the ditch or cross hatch.) For hand quilting, I use embroidery crewel needles.
    One step at a time, always forward.

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