Titanium Needles?

Good Morning, Quilters!

Just a quick tip (pun intended) about Titanium sewing machine needles…

At an educational seminar at the BERNINA Creative Center, the technical director confirmed that Titanium needles are much stronger and last much longer than standard needles.

The down side to extra-strong needles?

When things go awry–as they often do…

Titanium needles can do much more damage to your sewing machine than a needle that breaks more readily.

Damaging your sewing machine is bad enough, but…

Many of you may remember this image:

Xray Sewing Machine Needle in Index Finger

I stitched through my finger and the needle shattered.

Thank goodness the needle broke!

I shudder to think if it hadn’t!


Inattentive Quilting-A Cautionary Tale

What YOU can Learn from My Injury

Titanium needles?

Not for this quilter!


PS…All tutorials, images (including X-rays), and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

50 thoughts on “Titanium Needles?

  1. Good morning Lori, I am so sorry about your finger! I understand your trepidation about using titanium coated needles. I don’t know of any solid titanium ones. I understand the coating to be tiny and simply give the needle a slicker surface which does not heat up as much as a standard, non-coated needle.
    I am super careful with my machines, making sure the machine is off and/or my foot is off the foot pedal. I don’t need my cat laying on the pedal and sending my machine off to the races when I am not there.
    Thanks again for sharing your experience!

  2. Thanks for this Lori. I read a piece on titanium needles some time ago but didn’t know of anyone who’d used them. I won’t be letting them near either of my precious Berninas.

  3. Lori, not sure what information was imparted by Bernina about the needles, but I think it might have been one of those myths! There is a great article about titanium needles at http://www.superiorthreads.com/education/infographics/superior-needle/. I buy my needles from the manufacturer, of these, but the info is the same. Your injury could have been caused by any needle, not just a titanium needle. I (now) use them for all my sewing, and the breakage is no better or worse than any other needle I have ever used. I personally like having a needle that is smoother and last longer in my machine at all times.

    • I was not using a titanium needle! I was glad the needle broke. I am happy to check out the article you linked. I want people to have all the information.

    • Beth, I agree with you. I do not believe titanium coated needles to be inherently any more dangerous than a standard needle. The titanium coating makes them smoother and the tip and eye are better protected from wear….but that’s about it. If anything makes the difference in terms of sewing through your finger, it’s probably the machine (and its operator) and not the needle. My first machine was a cheap Brother machine from Costco and could barely sew denim, let alone go through a finger. When I got my Janome, I managed to sew right through my fingernail and finger, no problem. Ouch! Take it from me and Lori…Sewists should practice safe sewing regardless of the needle type!

  4. I don’t use the titanium needles. I didn’t know about the strength of them in the way that you described, but I was told they last longer so that all makes sense to me. I broke a needle (regular not titanium) in my finger twice. The first time it happened I was lucky. It did have a section protruding out of both the front and back of my finger. I was able to pull that one out myself. The adrenalin rush prompted me to attempt to get it out. I measured the needle and was confident I removed the whole thing myself. I did go the doctor and just got a tetanus shot. It happened again two years ago when my foot hit the foot pedal as I was trying to remove thread that became entangled in the foot. This time the needle broke off within my finger like on your X-ray. There was no way I could get it out. I had to have surgery to do that and the surgeon said “Amy, you did a really good job on this one.” It took him half an hour to get it out. Thankfully, no tendon damage was done. I do consider myself careful–it happens so fast!!!

  5. Lori-
    Thank you for the reminder. I have been guilty of putting the needle in place- not using the needle holder-, but using my fingernail under the needle to push the needle in the holder. Can you believe it? No more foolishness here.
    I did recently purchase an Omnigrid ruler grip with suction cups. It holds the ruler and keeps your fingers away from the rotary blades.
    Do you have any other tips (no pun intended) about rotary blade safety?

    • Save yourself money and go into your local Bunnings or Mitre10 and get the bathroom handles,that have suckers. Quilt shop sells,them in pink for $50, hardware shop $9.95

    • My “4” cents’ worth…1) I put Omnigrip film on ALL my rulers that don’t come with some kind of fabric grips on the underside; 2) if possible, I hold my ruler firmly with thumb and three fingers, with the pinkie off the ruler but firmly up against the edge to steady it; 3) for long rulers, cut halfway, close cutter and hold the ruler steady while repositioning your other hand, then complete the cut; 4) CLOSE CUTTER AFTER EVERY CUT!!! It gets to be a habit, like buckling your seat belt as soon as you get in the car. Better safe than sorry!!!

  6. Well, who knew that so many have punctured self and lived to tell? As for me, my stomach quite turned over, reading these notes and I pray that this never happens to me, as I would no doubt pass out while still impaled to the machine.

    • The fact I got from the tip was that a titanium needle might do more serious damage to sewing machine if something went wrong.. I am already able to do that.. LOL

      Seriously, our son raced on his titanium frame bicycle and that is as close as I need titanium to be to me. I only impaled my left forefinger once. Husband had to come and turn the wheel to raise the needle up out of my finger ( yes, while I screamed like a banshee). That was approx 40 years ago… so far, thank you, Lord,… have not done it again.

  7. Thank you for posting this! I’ve wondered about it but haven’t taken the time to investigate. I have noticed lately some needles tend to shatter to pieces other than just break… That’s annoying finding all the pieces… And had a piece fly up and poke my lip once! Time to wear sewing goggles… Lol! It was not a bernina needles BTW.

  8. I use titanium needles in my domestic machine and my longarm. I find the performance superior as they are less prone to burrs and slide in and out of fabric better whIch I believe in the long run, make things safer by being so stable. You can still break the needle- it is just a thin coating on the surface of the needle. I have found, over 4 years, the titanium more stable, accurate, and makes a consistently clean hole in the fabric. I use Organ/Superior in the domestic. I find it worth the extra money. There is no reason to fear.

  9. Yikes! I can’t imagine any manufacturers that would make solid titanium needles for machine sewing for the reasons you listed. However, I love titanium coated needles for FMQ! As Christina said in her comment, they’re more durable due to the coating, but not a stronger needle. I would recommend them for anyone who struggles with breaking thread and skipped stitches as I did. I use Superior’s, but other companies offer them, also. Thanks for all your great information, Lori!

  10. I’ve been using titanium needles from Superior Thread almost exclusively for a couple years now. Ive had several break, mainly because I have the wrong needle plate on when starting a zig-zag stitch! They don’t shatter, they break cleanly and so far have stayed in the fabric. I’ve never had one fly towards my face. And I’m thankful I’ve never gotten my finger in the wrong place at the wrong time! I do plan to do more research on them and I appreciate hearing more comments from everyone reading your blog. It’s good to share our experiences!

  11. I use Organ brand Titanium needles all the time in my Bernina, Singer Featherweight and Brother PQ1500. The needles are only coated with titanium so that they go through the fabric easier. These needles will still blunt just as easily as an ordinary needle if it hits something like a pin.

    There are however, heavy duty Titanium needles which are designed for sewing multiple layers. These needles weigh more than the average needle and I am wondering if the Bernina person was referring to those.

    • I love the titanium needles. They do last longer and are indeed stronger and slicker–I agrree with Superior on their studies. If a needle is going to go through my finger, I would rather it be titanium. I don’t need extra pieces of needle fracturing around inside the bone or tissue. That situation becomes a real problem for removal (speaking as a physician).
      There is also the problem of broken needle pieces falling down into the machine and causing problems. I periodically break a needle but with the titanium, there is only one piece to find.

  12. Och, my grand mother said you were never a proper seam mistress until you had but a needle though you finger, thankfully I still am not one!! Hope all is well now

  13. I’m confused – what did you learn they would do to a machine? I use Superior titanium needles and haven’t had one break – yet. You were using a regular needle and it shattered. Right after you sewed your finger (one week) I sewed through the tip of mine, missed bone just through the nail and flesh. First time in over 60 years of sewing, it will be fine with me if it’s another 60 years.

  14. I broke a titanium (coated) needle yesterday. It broke into three pieces just like a regular needle.

  15. I use titanium needles a lot (I do a lot of machine embroidery, and I like that they are stronger and have a larger eye). Too me, they are equivalent to a jeans needle in that the eye is larger (at least the top-stitch ones I buy from the manufacturer) – easier for me to thread. They do last longer and are a bit stronger. I have had one go through the side of my finger (yes, as you – ouch), and I have also had one break occasionally. I have found now that I am much more careful about taking my foot off the pedal when I do anything with a needle, and I keep hands well away while sewing!

  16. I also use titanium needles.They do last longer. I find that they often bend instead of break when it hits something other than fabric. When they do, because of the noise I’m startled and so everything stops, so I have had no damage to my machines. I, too, have put a needle through my finger and yes it was due to carelessness..I now use a stiletto to reach in close to the needle!

  17. I’ve put only one titanium-coated needle in my machine so far, and it broke very quickly. That’s why I haven’t put another one in, although I will eventually. They are not any less likely to break, as several people have stated.

  18. I used titanium needles for years on my Bernina 180 for embroidery. Way back in 2002 wen I got the machine there wasn’t any warnings about titanium and in fact because they are slick we’re good for embroidery. When titanium needles “break” they don’t snap like a regular needle. Instead they bend and look sort of like a fish hook. This is why they can do damage to your machine. The bent needle can do damage. I did break a very few titanium needles but no damage to my machine. Once I found microtex sharp I stopped using titanium. These are my findings.

  19. I would suggest anyone who has concerns to read the article on Superior’s website & then see if your machine’s manufacturer has any recommendations/ prohibitions on their use. Like some of the others, I have been a fan of Titanium needles since they came out & love that they stay sharp longer, mainly for embroidery. But I DO use them if I have a large sewing/ quilt project ahead of me. As a precaution, I printed out Lori’s photo, framed it & have it by my machines. My Pfaff 7570 (an older model & my primary quilting/ sewing machine these days) will not engage unless the presser foot is down, so I use “Needle Down’ & lift the presser foot when I stop. That way, even my fat cat can’t engage it!

  20. Lori, we had some copies of your book in the store I work at. We sold out! Need to order more. If you ever do a book signing stop by in Tacoma, Wa.

  21. Owie-owie. I’m not even sure is I use Titanium needles, but I have broken many a needle. Got a new”Janome so I’m hoping it gets better since I gave my Brother to my new grandson in law.

  22. Thanks a lot, Lori! As I was reading your message, I was thinking that I should use all my regular needles and, then, buy Titanium needles, but NOT!

  23. I also tried Titanium needles from Superior, no complaint about the strength of the needle, but I did forget to set my machine back to a straight stitch when I changed my foot. Needless to say the needles are indeed very strong, needle didn’t break like other needles and my computerized machine just kept trying to sew. It finally did break off but not before it was bent completely sideways. Thankfully I didn’t damage my machine but will be a lot more careful from now on.

    • Thats a very easy mistake to make and I think the kind of thing that can damage your machine!

  24. I sewed thru my finger recently learning on the new to me, Bernina 730, nervous foot on the pedal it broke the needle in 3 pieces and almost sent the machine flying thru the air but caught it just in time. Various unpleasantries did fly thru the air!
    I wasn’t using a titanium needle. But after wearing a titanium hip for several years and knowing the needles are just coated I have no problem using them.
    (I did have to give up the titanium hip after my thigh bones were shattered in a fall.)

  25. Pingback: Spring Quilt-a-Long: The All-Important Stabilizing Step | The Inbox Jaunt

  26. I’ve used the titanium needles, sold by my Bernina dealer, and have broken one recently. It just snapped in half. I have recently purchased and am using Chrome needles by Scmetz. They are fantastic!!! Slides through the fabric with multiple layers of adhesive too. I’ve only had close calls putting a needle through my finger but did slice off the tip of my finger which was glued back on by the ER Doctor. Cats playing jumped on my feet just as I was cutting and startled me. Just like all machinery and tools, use with caution and follow the manufactor’s instruction. Turn off that machine when doing any maintainence.

  27. I try to use titanium Needles as often as possible. They last forever. I am very heavy stitcher, thread painting, lace work as well as other techniques using standard Needles after suggest change intervals. I would be changing Needles almost daily especially when creating lace designs. I could put 250k stitches a day on a needle.

    Titanium holds up. I can heavily use them for a week or two putting between 1 and 2 million stitches on a needle before changing. So for my usage they are well worth the cost and possible issues.

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