Monday, March 18, 2013

Needle Replacement

When do you change your needle?  Recently I conducted an informal survey at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo and found that 46% change their needles with every new project or every 4 to 10 sewing hours.  That was a pleasant surprise, but again I was asking attendees at the largest sewing party in North America.  Hmmmm 46% . . . . 

What is everyone else doing?  That leaves many sewists waiting to replace their needle until it snags, pops or breaks.  Well for those of you that never change your needle - you know who you are - or wait until the needle breaks, take a look at this magnified pic of a used needle.  The needle on the left has been used, yet a closer look tells a very different story.

This needle is not as sharp as it looks to our naked eye.  Look at that giant burr and striations!  What is it doing to your fabrics?  Is it compromising your machine?  Just like a razor gets dull and pulls at a beard, a machine needle is similar and needs to be changed.  The general rule of thumb is to change your needle after 8 hours of sewing time.  Fabrics with different finishes and even your sewing technique may determine needle replacement more or less than every 8 hours.  In the meantime, here are a few clues to help you to determine when to replace the needle:

Broken or Shredded Threads
Skipped or Uneven Stitches
Puckered or Damaged Fabrics
Popping/Clunking Sound Made by Sewing Machine

Yes, your machine talks to you.  Look and listen.  Change your needle.


1 comment:

  1. Dang! I need that picture to show my 4-H kids. The older ones are pretty good about switching needle types for different fabrics. But, getting them to buy needles all the time can be tough.
    Laura in Puyallup