Yesterday’s tip was about changing your sewing machine needle more often. One of the suggestions I had was to change your needle after every quilt. But I actually use more than one needle when I’m making a quilt, and you probably should, too! Know your needles! I’ll break it down by steps in the quilt making process.
Piecing and Assembly
For piecing most patchwork, I like to use an all purpose needle. Nothing fancy, not too thick. This is your regular, everyday needle. A microtex needle has an extra sharp point that works well with the denser weave of batiks, or curved piecing, where you need a bit more precision.
Whether your using a walking foot or doing free motion quilting, you will need a more heavy duty needle to get through the 3 layers of your quilt sandwich. Quilting needles have a special tapered shape and slightly rounded point to go through many layers without damaging your fabric, or any seams you might be stitching over.
If you do a lot of free motion quilting and you’ve ever noticed your needle bending or deflecting while you’re moving your quilt sandwich around under the needle like I have, I prefer to go with a denim needle, which has a stronger shaft that’s more likely to stay straight and resist bending when you’re pebbling away at high speed.
Another needle you might want to try if you use thicker thread or get a lot of thread breakage is a topstitch needle. It has a longer eye, which causes less friction as the thread goes through your quilt sandwich.
When you’re attaching or finishing binding by machine, you’re still going through all the layers, so you want all the benefits of a quilting or denim needle. If you didn’t piece your binding before quilting, it’s not the end of the world if you keep the heavier needle in to piece your binding. If your quilting was done by hand, on a longarm, or just on a different machine, you’ll want to swap your piecing needle out for something heavier to attach the binding to avoid skipped stitches, thread breaking, or breaking or dulling your needle. It’ll also make it easier to pivot for mitred corners.
I’m sharing 12 days of mini-tutorials and sewing tips to help make your sewing merrier! Read all the posts here.