Since we will be quilting our Jolly Jelly Roll quilts this week, I thought it was an appropriate time to talk about sewing machine needles. Needles are often the least expensive but one of the most important components of making a successful quilt!
If your needle is old, bent, or flawed, it will make quilting much more difficult. Often times when you think thread or tension is the problem, it may actually be your needle!
My favorite needles to use for both piecing and quilting are Superior’s Titanium Coated needles. They come in a variety of sizes and work wonderfully. There are a lot of different types of needles out there – really more than you need.
The titanium needles are perfect for sewing, piecing, machine applique, and machine quilting. They work well with metallic threads, too. So forget about having different needles for different purposes, ie: universal, ball point, sharp, or metallica needles. Just stick with the titanium topstitch needles for everything and all you have to think about is which size to use. They last much longer than most of the other brands, too.
So how do you know which sized needle to use? It depends on your thread. The titanium needles come in 4 sizes – 70/10; 80/12; 90/14; 100/16. They have a much larger eye which allows the thread to pass through with less tension and therefore fewer thread breaks.
Size 70 needles are for very fine threads such as 60 weight cotton or polyester, monofilament, #100 and silk threads. I use these with silk thread for machine applique that blends into my quilts.
Size 80 needles are for for fine threads such as 50 weight cotton or polyester. I use these for piecing quilts together and sometimes for allover stippling with cotton thread that blends into the top.
Size 90 needles are for medium threads such as 40 weight cotton or polyester. This is the also the needle I use for decorative threads and metallics. The thread does not shred!!
Size 100 needles are for heavier weight cotton or polyester threads. I’ve only used these needles once so far when I quilted with a 30 weight variegated thread. It worked like a charm with no thread breaks or skipped stitches!
I use the 80’s & 90’s most often in my everyday piecing and quilting. Since these needles last for a long time I can usually piece and quilt a medium throw sized quilt with just one needle.
I’m still not convinced that Superior Threads offers my favorite thread, however. You can read my opinion about the company here on my soapbox, but I do love their needles!