Needles One of the most significant parts of today's home sewing/embroidery machines is often the least appreciated and often ignored â€" the needle. We spend thousands of dollars on the most advanced machines, acquire the best digitized designs, use the most beautiful threads and fabrics to produce our projects, but all too often this is all for naught because we either use an old, worn, damaged, or wrong needle. Needles can be damaged by normal use. You don't have to hit a pin while sewing to damage it. They can become dull or bent through normal sewing. Even some new needles have defects. Any of these conditions will contribute to frustrating thread breaks and a frayed look on your finished projects. The best advice is this: When you start a new project, start with a new needle. It's the least expensive part of the entire project. Overall, a clean, well functioning needle will result in sharp, well-shaped stitches. Needles are inexpensive and easy to change. Keeping a good needle in your sewing machine is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to improve your embroidery and quilting projects.
The eye of the needle is punched out during the manufacturing process and it is difficult to make the eye smooth. Only thirty percent of manufactured needles pass inspection and the other seventy percent are melted down to start over. It is estimated that ten percent of new needles have burs that may snag the thread. If you have a problem with a particular thread, first change the needle, even if it is new. This may solve the problem.
Needle Type and Size A general rule is to use a needle whose eye is 40% larger than the diameter of the thread. A 75/11 or 80/12 needle may be just right for a 40 wt. thread but will not work well with a heavier thread. If you are using a 35 wt. or 30 wt. thread, a larger needle (90/14 or 100/16) is essential. If you are using a heavier thread, a Topstitch needle works best since it has a deeper groove in which the thread lies as it moves through the fabric. If you are having problems running specialty threads, try a Topstitch size 90/14 or 100/16 and the trouble will likely disappear.