How often do you change your sewing machine needle?
I used to go for a LONG time and only changed when they broke, now I change as soon as I hear the pop in the fabric.
I have always been a needle changer - as soon as my stitches change or I hear that dull sound, I will change the needle.
I took a 2 workshops with Sue Nichols ( fabulous!) and she likes using the Schmetz Microtex needles. I bought them and I love them. They are especially great for sewing batiks and machine applique.
Here is a link that might be useful: Schmetz microtex needles
I love Schmetz needles, too. I change frequently - like MRG says, if you're hearing a change in the stitching, the needle is dull. Even if not hearing a change in stitching, I change the needle with every bed-sized quilt top, on average. That's at least 15-20 hours of actual sewing time, and that's a whole lot of stitches.
I find this topic interesting, Vicky! I suspect (with absolutely no authoritative reason, LOL) that people who use needles far beyond their life are the same ones who cut with dull rotary blades.
I do NOT mean that to sound accusatory, but I really am curious! Is anyone willing to confirm? (I know, probably better not to have asked!)
I used to be one to change mine when it broke. I now change mine with every new quilt. I use Schmetz jeans/denim needles size 10/70. It is small, sharp and helps me achieve the scant quarter inch on my quarter inch foot.
I change them when they make the thud sound or when I change the type of fabric or thread that I am using. I keep an assortment of sizes and styles and use mostly Schmetz but have tried others.
Curious if anyone has used any of the tools that are designed to sharpen machine needles?
I change very often. I do a lot of different sewing projects between quilts and just change my needle when I clean my machine which is pretty often. Especially if I am using that insul-bright stuff....sewing into a metal-like substance definitely dulls a needle.
My repair person told me that whenever anyone brings in a machine that "has a problem", the first thing they do is change the needle and clean the bobbin area, and that usually fixes the "problem" right then.
I change needles pretty regularly....I just changed my blade and wondered why I waited so long.
The answer is not nearly often enough and each time I do, I wonder why it took me so long. Yes.....I am familiar with that thud,thud,thud. Last time I was at the fabric store, I bought several packages of machine needles with good intentions. No, I haven't changed them since. I do change my rotary blades and thanks for the reminder. I used it to cut paper for one of my husband's craft projects. My bad.
Don't feel bad Calliope. My husband was putting down padding for our new laminate floors and didn't have a sharp razor in his box cutter to cut it with. I handed him my rotary cutter and large mat. He thought that was the best thing since sliced bread! He even used some of my long rulers! Boy was that blade trashed after he was finished. He tried to put the rotary cutter in his tool box. I told him I will buy me a new one and then he can have it.
"He tried to put the rotary cutter in his tool box." Oh my gosh, you have me laughing out loud. I also check my husband's woodworking shed when I miss specialty tools. I used to be in engineering and had kept a few of my nicer drafting instruments. My best mechanical drawing pencil went missing along with the special sharpener. After giving it up for lost, I mentioned it to him years later and he had 'borrowed' it to mark wood to saw. Definitely overkill. A piece of chalk would have done fine. I have reminded him many times to bring it back to me and it's still up there.
I was one that used the needle far too long, and yes Mary I was the same with the dull rotary blades lol!!!!!
I change with each project now and I use the appropriate needle for the fabric (denim etc.,)
Jayne, a lady on the other side of the pond says she sharpens her needles with something she has made herself. I'll look for it and post, I've wanted to try it to keep the needle sharp all thru the project but haven't yet.