There are two things to share today – one a tip and the other a funny story about hats.
First the Tip Jar – Needles. If you sew, you use needles. Hand or machine – maybe both. You know they come in different types and sizes, and you know that unlike thread, the bigger the number, the bigger the needle. Depending on your machine, the flat side of the shank goes to the back or to the side – affecting whether the eye is open from front-to-back or side-to-side. It always messes me up when I switch from Bern to Feather.
Most of us sew with a Universal needle – or we should be sewing with it. It’s the most common type of sewing machine needle and it’s used for most sewing of woven and knit fabrics. It has a slightly rounded tip – not that you’d be able to feel that if you poked it onto your finger.
There are some who believe that as quilters, we’re better off sewing with Microtex or Sharp needles but it isn’t necessary. They’re nice if the fabrics are very delicate – like a lawn or voile – but even then, a Universal needle is still recommended. A Quilting needle is for machine-quilting 3 layers – fabric-batting-fabric, not for piecing two layers of quilting-weight cotton.
The size of the needle is more dependent on the thread being used than the fabric being sewn – fine thread warrants a smaller needle and a thicker thread needs a bigger needle. For a finer thread like DMC 50 wt. Embroidery thread, Aurifil 50 wt. Mako or Presencia 60 wt., consider using a 75/11 or 70/10 as it might give better results. An 80/12 works well and is the most versatile when it comes to the threads many of us use for piecing.
If you’re using a 40 wt. or 28 wt. thread for top-stitching or other decorative stitching, the needle size should be increased to a 90/14.
Most sewing machine manufacturers recommend changing your needle every eight hours of sewing. You’re keeping track of that, right? That’s why I use my “five-bobbin” method – it’s not based on anything except being a reliable, consistent reminder.
Sewing over pins is discouraged – strongly… and “some of us” do it anyway. And if we should “clip” a pin even a little bit, we need to consider changing the needle, especially if we can see or hear any difference in the quality of the stitch. “Hear”? Yes, that’s often the first indication that your needle might have lost a bit of its tip.
For many of us, when we have problems with the thread breaking frequently or stitches not being straight and even, our needle might need replacing. Why? Because sometimes the needle has an imperfection that we can’t see. For common problems and troubleshooting – Sewing Needle Troubleshooting Guide.
For all sorts of terrific information on sewing machine needles, I recommend the following websites:
- Schmetz Needles – terrific source of everything you’ve ever wanted to know about sewing machine needles.
- Sew Mama Sew
- Craftsy – How to Choose A Sewing Needle
- Joann.com – Sewing Needle Basics
- Singer Co.
Just a pretty picture of some Bella Solids – even with a completely random assortment of colors, I love the way they look.
Now for my funny story… about two months ago, a friend commented that I didn’t have a “signature” on my e-mail. You know – name, company, address, etc. It had my name… what else did I need, right? Apparently, this friend thought it a bit “lacking”.
So I decided to change that and put… what? As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have an official title other than “wearer of many hats” so I decided to do what I often do… have a little fun. So my new signature-line stated – Hat Collector / Marketing Department.
I didn’t think anything of it when Barb Groves of Me & My Sister gave me a yellow plastic hard-hat with “Moda Warehouse Spy” on the side of it during set-up at Quilt Market. Then Jennifer Keltner of Martingale gave me a plastic Viking helmet – that’s the horn in the lower left of the picture… not sure what’s going on but okay. By the third hat – a racoon cap from Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique – I knew something was up but I hadn’t connected the dots. In my defense, it was booth set-up and there was a lot going on.
And then I ran into one of the sweetest, funniest, loveliest of Moda Designers. When she said, “When did you start with Moda? How did I miss that? How long have you been in Dallas? By the way, I have a hat for you!”… I knew what was going on. And I knew who was behind the hats…
Yep. Her. My boss – ModaLissa. (This was taken last Friday when her adorable grandson, Nolan, came for a visit with his Mom, Misty. Everybody in the office hopes they come back frequently.)
I have the hats displayed in the office and I forgot to get a picture – every time I thought about it and was about to take a picture, I was interrupted and forgot all about it. I promise to remedy that next week.
I’m thinking of becoming a “Diamond collector” in September. What do you think? Ideas?
Happy Friday and have a terrific weekend!