If you’ve ever wondered when to change your needle, the time to change that needle is now.
Whenever I get a new [to me] machine, I treat it to new oil, and a shiny new Microtex needle. I mostly use Schmetz in the 80 or 90 size because I mostly sew through several layers. In fact I don’t buy anything else.
If the machine is not new to me, I usually replace my needles when I break them. Apparently, I break them often enough to not have to change them for any other reason.
Well, the other day, I was piecing strips for one quilt, and squares for another, and my fabric kept moving away from my stitch guide. I found it annoying, but I suffered through, until I saw it – a skipped stitch!
I remember reading other peoples complaints on skipped stitches, but It never happened to me before. One common suggestion was to change the needle. I peeked into my little bag of tricks I keep on my sewing table, and saw a brand of needle I hadn’t used before, but got for free with one of my fabric orders. It was a Groz-Beckert Mictrotex size 70. I didn’t feel like getting up to go get my box of stuff that would contain the needles I usually use, so I thought I would try these.
My seems instantly became straighter, and I barely had to touch the fabric as it feeds through. Shown below are two seems. The one on the left looking like I was drinking heavily, and the top one is after the needle change.
Now, I don’t know whether to feel smart, that the new needle solved two problems, or dumb that I didn’t do it earlier.
So here is what I learned:
1) I only use my Featherweight for piecing, therefore it dosn’t need a 80 or 90 size needle.
2) Because I only use my FW for piecing, the needles do not break, therefore I will have to employ the rarely used sewing technique of replacing a prefectly good looking needle, just because it’s probably time.
3) When your machine is skipping like a school girl, it does NOT mean it’s happy.
I prompty placed the remaining 70 size needles in my Featherweight gear bag, where they now belong. Then I oiled her because I couldn’t remember that last time I did that, either. In my defense, I’ve only had Mustang for a year, and I overhauled her good when I got her. If she likes 70 size needles I will get her all she wants.
The package discription says:
“The very fine and tapered point of this Microtex needle is ideal for very fine fabrics, preventing runs. Recommended for silk, microfiber, batiste, organza, fine muslin and taffeta. Also recommended where discrete seams with very fine thread are desired”
But don’t let that fool you. It’s ok to use a 70 size needle for piecing quilting cotton, just like it’s ok to change a perfectly good looking needle after a year of sewing – preferably before begining a new project. The perfectly executed stitches are all the evidence we need.
All seams matter.