How Often Do You Change Your Needles?

Fish Free Motion QuiltingDid you know that the most important thing you can do to ensure good quality stitches when you are free motion quilting is to have a perfect needle?   Because there is no way to visually tell when a needle is damaged or worn out,  it is recommended that you discard your needle after 4-6 hours of sewing.  (For free motion quilting–I would err on the side of 4 hours.)  A damaged needle will result in poor quality stitching and-worse yet-can damage your sewing machine.   If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your needle–it’s time!

Hope you have time to stitch today!  (with a brand new needle)


Please join us this Friday for a group discussion about needle selection.

20 thoughts on “How Often Do You Change Your Needles?

  1. Just had a laugh with my beloved I was telling him about the changing needles every four to six hours and he said wow and said that’s a lot of needles! I suddenly realised he might think you had to change it even if you hadn’t been sewing that would be a lot of needles. I had heard you change your needle for every project. Made me laugh anyway xx

  2. I’m terrible at changing needles; it either has to break or I have to see the stitching deteriorate. I’ve heard about ‘a new needle for each project’ rule but if everything works fine then isn’t that ok? It seems quite wasteful to throw away a perfectly good needle.

  3. I change the needle when I hear it make a popping noise as it’s going through the fabric regardless of free motion of regular stitching. Love having a new needle, clean bobbin and oiled race — zoom zoom zooooommmmmmmm! and away we go practicing all Lori’s wonderful designs — I love the perfectly imperfection of each! Thank you!!!

  4. I’ve learned the hard way that it is SO important to quilt with a fresh needle. If you are investing all your time and effort into quilting a project, why not make it shine by using a sharp needle. The difference is amazing!

  5. ***Love*** your blog, which I stumbled on a few weeks ago. I keep finding references to earlier posts that I want to read (a 5 lesson assignment?, all about threads, etc.), but I can’t always find the original posts. Is there a way to search for them, or to access archived posts? Also have a college age daughter, she is studying near you in St. Paul.

    • There is a search box in the right sidebar that should help. Whenever I reference an old post, I try to use a hot link directly to it. Is that not working. Please let me know what you are trying to find and I will make sure you find it!

      What college does your daughter attend?

      • Oh, *that* search box (not sure how I missed it before!). I’ll go give it a try. Sorry to read about your finger this morning–I did the same thing a few weeks ago for the first time in my life. I pulled the sharp end out, and had visions of an X-ray, but swept the floor nearby–an infrequent activity–and found the missing middle section of the needle. Sorry that yours was a little more serious. My daughter is in her first year at Macalester–a looong way from the West Coast where we live. Hope your girls are closer to you.

  6. I change needles after every project and when I finish a top and get ready to quilt it. Needles are the cheapest part of each project and one of the most important!
    Hehe …I have a friend who never changed her needle until it broke, she used the poor stitch quality to convince her hubby she needed a new machine!

    • You make a great point, needles are the cheapest part of a project, so why get stingy there?

      You have a very funny friend! (Does she change her needles regularly now?)

  7. Any tips for needles when using invisible thread when free motioning? I just finished 3 t-shirt quilts and went through about 8 -9 needles, they kept braking.

    • I rarely use invisible thread, as I, too have a lot of problems with it. Do your needles only break with invisible thread? If so, did you try different needle sizes and types? Try an embroidery needle and slow down a lot. I will ask the group next Friday in Open Line Friday…maybe a reader can add more suggestions.

      • I tried different size needles, going slower, moved the thread to my thread stand and still broke needles. I spoke with the quilt store where I bought my machine and was told it’s the thread. I read somewhere a tip on how to stop the thread from twisting but cannot remember where or what the tip was!!!! Thanks for your reply.

  8. last spring I was introduced to the titanium coated made by Superior. They are said to last 5 to 8 times as long as the regular machine needles. I was having trouble with my Organ needles, so I bought some. I am impressed by them. Google for them to find where you can buy them. I just took a queen size quilt off the frame and put another quilt on, have been quilting for a bit and the needle is still doing fine.

    • I’ll give them a try. I didn’t know Superior made needles–on the other hand I am very glad my sewing machine needle BROKE–I can’t even contemplate if it hadn’t!

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