I love doing this blog and I love Calvin and Hobbs as
Let's just say that they understand me very well!
Needles are the challenge that keeps on giving - over and
over. Let's think of the questions
Is it a bad needle right out of the package?
Closely inspect the needle under a magnifier and
Because the needle (most of them) has a flat
side, place just the needle (not including the shaft) on the edge of a flat
surface and roll it to see that it is straight and not damaged in any way.
Is it dull - how many stitches have I done?
Many machines have a 'counter' available. (When was the last time you went through your
manual to refresh your memory of where the counter is?) If you don't have a counter built in, you can
put an index card under the machine and put the date and an approximate number
of stitches - say 33K and keep adding. I
used to change my needle around 200,000 stitches.
Take into consideration the fabrics you are
using as well. If you are doing heavy
denim or vinyl? Those cut directly into
the number of stitches on a needle.
Be sure you are buying your needles in
bulk. At a 5 pack, they are
expensive. However, if you get 100, they
cost about the same as 3 - 5 packs of regular
needles. After about 15 of them, they
are FREE. Toss them!
Be sure to dispose of carefully, needles are not
nice sometimes. . .
Is it sticky, gummy or have a burr on it?
I clean a needle that is sticky with the:
Oil from my hair (run thumb and first finger
through your hair and on the needle.
Rubbing alcohol on a Q-Tip
Use a different adhesive, spray or self adhesive
Toss the needle.
My time is limited, how about you?
Did it get bent somehow?
A bent needle is a major accident waiting to
happen. Remove it immediately
Bending can be caused by the thread being too
tight on the upper threading. I actually
have had a spool of thread (the ones with the slice on the bottom to hold the
thread) catch and hold the thread. It
does not even matter which way the slit was facing either.
There is no way to press the needle back into
service, bending it back will not correct the issue.
Why are the needle holes visible?
You are using too large a needle.
The needle has become dull.
Change your needle.
Is the thread path correct?
This is a personal favorite of mine! When your machine is working at 500 or 600
stitches per minute, it is bound to be in motion at least a little bit. I am always careful to put my thread in the
correct position, but it can and may jump just enough to make you crazy. Furthermore, you can look at it and not see
the culprit. If I am having needle
and/or thread issues, I suspect the pathway.
It only takes a few seconds, rethread.
If you are still having needle issues, check
out this blog
to refresh your memory about what embroidery is supposed to look like. In addition, I am sure you have had some sort of issue which I have not noted here. After all, if it can happen, it will. That blog includes such items as a tension test for the various formats as well. Testing tension should be part of your normal maintenance of your machine.
Using good tools such as needles and
quality thread is the best path to results that you will be very proud to show or
give. This special from Madeira is a value that anyone can use. Getting samples of quality stabilizer is the best part. Try before you buy. I have tried and do like Madeira thread above all others!
I really appreciate your reading my blog
and hope you find a few ideas and thoughts that help you along the way. To Teach is To Learn and I have learned so much for all of you, THANK YOU!
Best wishes to you and yours for a joyous and
safe holiday season.