Replacing Needles Often

Old 09-26-2020, 06:24 AM
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Default Replacing Needles Often

A couple of weeks ago Iceblossom noted over here

https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintag...g-t312392.html

about believing in replacing needles often, and I didn't think much of it.

The last week or so I'd been cleaning up a barn find 15 clone

https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintag...d-t311795.html

And was running into some troubles. I couldn't get the lower main shaft to spin freely and based on the rusty oil dripping out of the oil holes assumed there was significant rust binding things up that I couldn't get to. Finally I looked at the bobbin end of the shaft and found that the part noted by the arrow had been bent and was scraping against the fixed housing during the stitch cycle. Once I bent enough in the other direction things started moving. I put it all back together, using a new needle, and tested. There was a lot of noise and scraping sounds, etc. A little more bending here and there, adjusting the housing for the hook, and I still couldn't get it to sew past 2 stitches as the thread kept breaking below the needle plate. I thought the timing might be off and must have hand turned a couple of hundred stitches watching the hook work properly, and then watching the thread break.

After about 5 hours of this I was ready to consign the completely intact machine to "parts" status, and then Iceblossom's words rang in my ear: I believe in replacing needles often. I did just that, getting a needle from a different container this time, and I sewed stitches until I ran out of thread. Hopefully this is something I won't forget soon.
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:27 AM
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LOL, thank you so much! I'm so glad it worked for you.

I can't tell you how many times over the years someone (often me) is having weird problems and we start doing everything we can think of... and maybe some of those things just coincided with getting another needle.

Even a brand new needle can have problems but needles are cheap compared to our time and fabric
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Old 09-26-2020, 07:12 AM
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Those are true words of wisdom from Iceblossom!

Our LQS owner says after every 8 hours of stitching to change the needle. If there are any issues, change the needle first.

The simple process can correct many issues. I change needles between projects.


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Old 09-26-2020, 07:24 AM
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Checking my needle is one of the first things I don any more. It wasn't always the case either until I began reading here. I pick up vintage machines from time to time and if they are not rotating that is now the first thing to be checked. Again thanks to Iceblossom.
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Old 09-26-2020, 07:48 AM
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Huzzah for collective wisdom.
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Old 09-26-2020, 08:51 AM
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LOL

You are spot on, a bent needle, a burr in the tip, general wear, etc. can cause issues, usually hickups with dragging fibers up from the fabric, uneven stitching, etc. Another strangly common thing like this is "needle in the right way": old straight stichers aren't fool proof, when you are new to them it's easy to get it wrong, and going from one model to another it can be very easy to make the mistake. Not all 15s are the same, and going from a 66 to a 201, I personbally need to think twice.

When you take on vintage machine expect full assembly of bobbin case and top tensioner, excessive cleaning and oiling, days of repeated efforts, thorough scraping out of groves and corners, heaps of cotton swabs,... Some times you get a nice, clean machine, but usually they always need cleaning and oiling.
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:00 PM
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I have to tell you about needles. My quilting friends would tell me you change the needle after sewing for 8m hrs. or when your needle makes a popping sound while sewing. I tried remembering the 8 hr. rule, but I could never notice the pop sound the friends were talking about. Well, I hear the sound they were talking about. I sew with my hearing aids on now. LOL
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Old 09-27-2020, 06:48 AM
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For those of us who enjoy using (or in some cases can only use) vintage needles, and don't love the idea of tossing them when they dull, there are ways to hone or even sharpen dulled needles.

Alex Askaroff has a video about it and also mentions some history (professional sewists back in the day having to purchase their own needles from their salary): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPtfwSjft84

I prefer these honing stones from Spyderco that have a groove along their length -- I tend to hone a needle before every project now, even if it's new.

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Old 09-27-2020, 07:08 AM
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I change my needle often now, I didn't use to but with my newer Pfaffs it seems to fix the problem most of the time. Just last week I was starting a new project and put in a new needle, started sewing and the needle feel out. Reinserted and tighten and retighten the needle and it fell out again. Got out my tool that came with the machine to help insert said needle and retighten again and needle fell out. Got another needle out and inserted and worked perfectly. I can only assume that the first needle had a weird defect of some kind, that needle went into my used needle bottle never to see the light of day again. Lesson learned is that even a new needle can be a bad needle.
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Old 09-27-2020, 12:41 PM
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I have bought packages of faulty production, both thread and needles. It took me time to realize it was the needles. A low price brand out there makes needles less polished than the common brands, and they act up more often than others. Even the best of brands have had complaints on this site, but I have to admit, the well known good quality brands have given me little to no trouble. If a needle doesn't sew past two stitches it's usually seriously damaged, or it's something else.
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