Needle Do or Needle Don’t

Posted by on January 13, 2011

I once had a friend say “Everyone’s quilt deserves a new needle.”  

When asking this question to Quilter’s you will get many different views. Some Quilters Believe and live by this policy others feel if you do not feel or see the difference in your needle while quilting why replace it.

The needle manufacturer thinks you can get 40 hours of sewing out of one needle. We have seen things like chalk or fabric paint,  dense batting, dense quilting or that white on white printed fabric dull needles quicker than that.

The general opinion of the longarm quilter is that other things are happening to the needle, not just the tip becoming dull. Needles can warp if the timing of a machine and the direction you are sewing bring the hook point in contact with the needle.  We could go on and on about the combinations of things that can influence the condition of the needle.  When you take the time to think about it needles  are not very expensive, so there is no need to stretch the life of a needle. It is always best to error on the side of changing the needle more often than not.

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8 Comments »

  1. Sheila says:

    What Needle size, would you use for monofilament?

    It is suggested on Superiors site to use a topstitch needle. How does that equate for a needle for the Tin Lizzie..

    What brand of monofilament has anyone had success using on your Tin Lizzie. The one I bought breaks extremely easy.

    • kelleyn says:

      Hi Sheila… The monofilament thread I have been successful with is from Superior. It is polyester and not nylon. Often the breakage is from friction/heat from tension that is too tight, cotton batting or a needle that has a “bulging” style scarf. We endorse the Gros-Beckart brand of needles because they run cooler. I have found that it is needful to loosen the needle tension more than usual when using monofilament. The needles have a groove running down the front where the thread is designed to “hide” when the needle is in the fabric. This protects the thread from friction. It is important that the groove is the best size for the thread so it both fits and doesn’t flop around in the groove. Try using a size 16 needle. That has been successful for me. It is also best to use a thread sock while using the monofilament. Please let us know if this is helpful. We love to help you.

  2. I purchased a Tin Lizzie sitdown machine. Which needles will work on that machine? Where can I find information about needles that will work in this great machine? It does not make sense to me that one size fits all for the various threads that I use.

  3. Linda says:

    My Ansley 26 keeps breaking needles. I quilt for about 5 minutes and it breaks the needles. The machine makes a big “clunk” sound.

    • kelleyn says:

      Hi Linda! Please call 888-QUILT-18 for support. It sounds like your machine may have knocked out of time. One of our technicians will get you back on your way… Thanks for the question!

  4. Wilma Richard says:

    I bout a used Tin Lizzie 18 and it just keeps breaking needles. I quilt for about 5 to 10 minutes and it breaks the needles. I am not sure what I am doing to cause this.

    Also if I run the machine with no cloth or quilt it runs fine for about 10 minutes then it breaks the needle. I have adjusted the tension on top like everyone is telling me

    I don’t know anyone in Omaha, Nebraska that can repair this machine. Can you help me this was a very big investment for me even though it was used.

    Wilma Richard
    402-680-7657-cell

  5. There are many conditions that can affect the life of a needle. I don’t change as often as I should…not the cost..it’s the fact that changing the needle and not getting it back in right can cause more headaches than I want to deal with, especially if the quilt I am about to start is for a customer.
    So, if the stitching is perfect, and the needle is not burred and looks good…I’m not messing with it. I change them about every 10-20 hours…40 hours is a week, which in quilting terms…may be months. About once a month, or 20 hours is enough. Depending on where purchased, the Groz-Beckert needles can run from $4.00 to $12.00 per 10 pack. I get mine from Columbia River Quilting Supply…$4.00 per 10 pack…I buy them by 100’s…very reasonable that way.

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