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Thread: What a difference a different needle makes

  1. #1

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    I've been practicing FMQ and was getting frustrated. I couldn't get my tension right and the thread kept breaking and the stitches just didn't look right. Then I remembered in a class I took with Judy Irish she said she only uses Microtex metalic needles. For everything, not just FMQ. So, I changed needles and poof... all my problems were gone :) Stitches are more consistant, thread doesn't break and tension is good!

    Off to have some more FMQ fun :)

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    a new sharp needle really makes all the difference in quilting- and piecing-
    any time you are having skipped stitches, threads breaking, uneven stitching chances are you need a new needle-
    the recommendation is to change needle every 8 hours of sewing time or with every new project...or if your stitching is no longer looking good....some fabrics dull needles faster than others. a sharp needle can make all the difference!

  3. #3
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I found the Organ titanium coated topstitch needles have eliminated all my tension and thread problems when FMQing. The 17/90 size works great for the size 50# thread I use. The needles last many time longer then regular needles. The one I'm using now has been in my machine for piecing for over six months and still sews like new.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl
    a new sharp needle really makes all the difference in quilting- and piecing-
    any time you are having skipped stitches, threads breaking, uneven stitching chances are you need a new needle-
    the recommendation is to change needle every 8 hours of sewing time or with every new project...or if your stitching is no longer looking good....some fabrics dull needles faster than others. a sharp needle can make all the difference!
    I am pretty good about replacing needles. I do it frequently, but I was using a universal needle I think? Or maybe a sharps? Don't remember now - will have to look. I stock up on them when Joann's has a 50% off sale.

  5. #5
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I like to use the metallic needles alot.. it makes seeing the eye of the needle soo much easier when doing other sewing .

  6. #6
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    glad you got it fixed, have fun


    Quote Originally Posted by Elisabethann
    I've been practicing FMQ and was getting frustrated. I couldn't get my tension right and the thread kept breaking and the stitches just didn't look right. Then I remembered in a class I took with Judy Irish she said she only uses Microtex metalic needles. For everything, not just FMQ. So, I changed needles and poof... all my problems were gone :) Stitches are more consistant, thread doesn't break and tension is good!

    Off to have some more FMQ fun :)

  7. #7
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    I'm starting to quilt my latest quilt, my first batik. The salesperson at the sewing machine store told me I need "sharps" to quilt a batik. So I took my universal needle out, put my new "sharp" needle in and had to do numerous tear outs before finally getting rid of the sharp and putting a new universal needle back in. Argh, that was a waste of money. I'll have to look for metallic needles and give them a try!

  8. #8
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    This is an interesting thread!!!I knew that there were quilting needles and they need to be sharp but I never heard of metallic needles. I learn so much here!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by carolaug
    This is an interesting thread!!!I knew that there were quilting needles and they need to be sharp but I never heard of metallic needles. I learn so much here!
    This place is great isn't it? I learn so much here too. That is what prompted me to share this bit of info with everyone.

    It is my understand (as I have yet to play with metallic thread) that the metallic needles are for when you use metallic thread. Makes sense, but when I was telling my mom about it, she thought metallic referred to the look of the needle, not the function of it. The hole is a little bigger so there is less friction with the thread. I'm going to try them for piecing too and see what happens. I would love to just use one type of needle and not worry about changing them out all the time.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skothing's Avatar
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    Micotex is different than metallic. Micotex needles do not make a big hole in your fabric when it goes down. Metallic needles have a lager eye.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MZStitch
    I'm starting to quilt my latest quilt, my first batik. The salesperson at the sewing machine store told me I need "sharps" to quilt a batik. So I took my universal needle out, put my new "sharp" needle in and had to do numerous tear outs before finally getting rid of the sharp and putting a new universal needle back in. Argh, that was a waste of money. I'll have to look for metallic needles and give them a try!
    that is odd...what thread where you using? and by batiks were they Joann/Hancocks or were they REAL batiks from Hoffman, Princess Mirah?..there is a difference...

    I use Microtex on batiks they make a tinier hole in the fabric...I also use 50wt thread!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    Quote Originally Posted by MZStitch
    I'm starting to quilt my latest quilt, my first batik. The salesperson at the sewing machine store told me I need "sharps" to quilt a batik. So I took my universal needle out, put my new "sharp" needle in and had to do numerous tear outs before finally getting rid of the sharp and putting a new universal needle back in. Argh, that was a waste of money. I'll have to look for metallic needles and give them a try!
    that is odd...what thread where you using? and by batiks were they Joann/Hancocks or were they REAL batiks from Hoffman, Princess Mirah?..there is a difference...

    I use Microtex on batiks they make a tinier hole in the fabric...I also use 50wt thread!
    I am using a varigated Metler thread 50wt. My fabric is all real batiks, including Hoffman all bought at top price at a local quilt shop! I can't tell you what size the sharp needle was because I was so mad I threw the whole package away, lol. The saleslady had helped me pick my varigated thread though, so she knew I was using the needles to do my free mothion quilting so I assume it was the right size. Now that I switched back to a univeral needle my stitches are just fine!

  13. #13
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    So would 17/90 Microtex needles be able to be used for everything?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raggiemom
    So would 17/90 Microtex needles be able to be used for everything?
    they should, be this why you must always practice on a sample sandwich..every needle/thread combination will vary not only by machine but by the fabrics used, the batting used, and by the person doing the FMQ....

  15. #15
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    If you're serious about learning about needles for different threads and jobs, check out this book. It's been in my reference files for years and was used daily in my former shop.

    http://pointwelltakenbook.com/

    Jan Bennett-Collier

  16. #16
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    here is the link when I posted about becoming "needle savy"
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-123199-1.htm

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan in VA
    If you're serious about learning about needles for different threads and jobs, check out this book. It's been in my reference files for years and was used daily in my former shop.

    http://pointwelltakenbook.com/

    Jan Bennett-Collier
    Many thanks for the ref - just ordered it

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    Quote Originally Posted by Raggiemom
    So would 17/90 Microtex needles be able to be used for everything?
    they should, be this why you must always practice on a sample sandwich..every needle/thread combination will vary not only by machine but by the fabrics used, the batting used, and by the person doing the FMQ....
    Thanks so much for this advice, am about to quilt my first project - a Canadian Comfort and remembrance project quilt on my new Bernina Aurora 450 with their BSR, with some trepidation I might add! I suppose I should make a few sandwiches and try out the pattern for the leaves as well as what I want to do with the sashing. The leaves are traditionally pieced all cotton, the sashing blackwatch flannel so perhaps I should different needles. Hmmm... so much to consider!

  19. #19
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    This has been one of the most informative threads. Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge. Definitely bookmarking this page.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elisabethann
    I've been practicing FMQ and was getting frustrated. I couldn't get my tension right and the thread kept breaking and the stitches just didn't look right. Then I remembered in a class I took with Judy Irish she said she only uses Microtex metalic needles. For everything, not just FMQ. So, I changed needles and poof... all my problems were gone :) Stitches are more consistant, thread doesn't break and tension is good!

    Off to have some more FMQ fun :)
    I know this is a basic question for you but how do you know what needle to use in your machine. Do you use a different needle for piecing and one for applique? How about FMQ? I look at the needles and really need some direction.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Diane

  21. #21
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    It would be good to bring this up every few months for newbies. I don't know how many times I've been exasperated by a broken needle or thread, to the extent I've been avoiding doing a project I'd like to quilt with metallic thread.
    Actually, I should consult with y'all whether it is wise to attempt quilting at all with metallic thread? Is it? Or am I dreaming in gilt technicoulour??!!

  22. #22
    Member adrigram's Avatar
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    I'm with you - haven't used anything else since finding Microtex needles - denim, knits and everything else so far.

  23. #23
    Junior Member sewtruterry's Avatar
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    Sorry in advance regarding the length of this post but this is something that I deal with on a daily basis with a lot of people.

    The most important issue when selecting needles is to know what brand your machine uses. Your dealer should be able to help you on that one. If you do not have the right brand of needle for your machine you will have problems some may be small others may be big. The next issue is making sure when starting any FMQ is to insert a fresh needle. Then if you start out with the lowest number possible for your project and you are experiencing thread breakage check your thread path first to make sure nothing is getting caught where it shouldn't. Then change the needle and if that doesn't help go to a larger eye needle. If you are still getting thread breakage the thread could be the culprit. It may be too old, it could have been stored wrong, or it may be the wrong kind of thread for the batting or the fabric. I have seen a lot of quilters try to use all cotton thread with polyester batting. The batting acts like sand paper and shreds the thread. At that point either put up with the problem by constantly rethreading or change to another type of thread of the same color. Also when FMQ and you are changing directions like a corner or a circle the more drastic the change in direction the slower your hands need to go. in fact hovering for a split second on the corner will give you a nicer corner. Hope this helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by union lady
    Quote Originally Posted by Elisabethann
    I've been practicing FMQ and was getting frustrated. I couldn't get my tension right and the thread kept breaking and the stitches just didn't look right. Then I remembered in a class I took with Judy Irish she said she only uses Microtex metalic needles. For everything, not just FMQ. So, I changed needles and poof... all my problems were gone :) Stitches are more consistant, thread doesn't break and tension is good!

    Off to have some more FMQ fun :)
    I know this is a basic question for you but how do you know what needle to use in your machine. Do you use a different needle for piecing and one for applique? How about FMQ? I look at the needles and really need some direction.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Diane

  24. #24
    Super Member terri bb's Avatar
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    that helped an incredible lot!! what a fantastic post and thank you to all for the answers; i have had the same sigh omg i can't believe it broke again dammit syndrome and have finally found out that if i use aurafil thread only it helps. ive had too many chicken claws on the backside of my work when doing meandering stitches, or you will sew for 2-3 feet and then hear a pop from the bobbin jumping and look underneath and you have miles of loopies from your bottom thread the entire time. i finally have had to go to a small square and just 'play' for a second before i put whatever it is im working on back underneath the needle to save myself hours of heartache! i seem to slowly be getting the hang of it and this post was great! i did not know there was a certain brand of needle for every machine. i use universals from my lqs size 80/12 i believe and they seem to work okay. thanks muchas! :)
    Quote Originally Posted by sewtruterry
    Sorry in advance regarding the length of this post but this is something that I deal with on a daily basis with a lot of people.

    The most important issue when selecting needles is to know what brand your machine uses. Your dealer should be able to help you on that one. If you do not have the right brand of needle for your machine you will have problems some may be small others may be big. The next issue is making sure when starting any FMQ is to insert a fresh needle. Then if you start out with the lowest number possible for your project and you are experiencing thread breakage check your thread path first to make sure nothing is getting caught where it shouldn't. Then change the needle and if that doesn't help go to a larger eye needle. If you are still getting thread breakage the thread could be the culprit. It may be too old, it could have been stored wrong, or it may be the wrong kind of thread for the batting or the fabric. I have seen a lot of quilters try to use all cotton thread with polyester batting. The batting acts like sand paper and shreds the thread. At that point either put up with the problem by constantly rethreading or change to another type of thread of the same color. Also when FMQ and you are changing directions like a corner or a circle the more drastic the change in direction the slower your hands need to go. in fact hovering for a split second on the corner will give you a nicer corner. Hope this helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by union lady
    Quote Originally Posted by Elisabethann
    I've been practicing FMQ and was getting frustrated. I couldn't get my tension right and the thread kept breaking and the stitches just didn't look right. Then I remembered in a class I took with Judy Irish she said she only uses Microtex metalic needles. For everything, not just FMQ. So, I changed needles and poof... all my problems were gone :) Stitches are more consistant, thread doesn't break and tension is good!

    Off to have some more FMQ fun :)
    I know this is a basic question for you but how do you know what needle to use in your machine. Do you use a different needle for piecing and one for applique? How about FMQ? I look at the needles and really need some direction.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Diane

  25. #25
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elisabethann
    I've been practicing FMQ and was getting frustrated. I couldn't get my tension right and the thread kept breaking and the stitches just didn't look right. Then I remembered in a class I took with Judy Irish she said she only uses Microtex metalic needles. For everything, not just FMQ. So, I changed needles and poof... all my problems were gone :) Stitches are more consistant, thread doesn't break and tension is good!

    Off to have some more FMQ fun :)
    I bought some of the metallic needles from Schmatz or whatever. LOVE THEM! They are pricy, but darn they work good.

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