Tip Tuesday: Hand & Sewing Machine Needles

Schmetz Universal - Sewing Machine NeedlesThreading needles, dropping needles, finding needles, storing needles. When it comes to those pesky needles, it can be nice to have a little help working out the details. We use needles for free motion quilting, hand quilting patterns, quilt binding, and so much more. These needles are everywhere!

Thank you to the many other quilters who were willing to share their favorite tips about sewing machine needles with the rest of us. The quilting community continues to grow!

Tip #1: A Handy Household Tip
Used sewing machine needles make great “nails” to hang picture frames on the wall. The needles are strong and make only a small hole.

Tip #2: Needle Threading Help
To simplify threading needles, cut the thread with a pair of curved tip scissors, so the thread is cut at an angle and it easily slips through the eye of the needle.

Tip #3: Changing Needles
When changing the needle in my sewing machine, I insert a piece of paper or cloth over the throat plate before I loosen the needle. This keeps the needle from falling down into the machine through the hole in the throat plate.

Tip #4: Curved Needles
Try a curved needle for tying quilts. The curve in the needle brings the point of the needle back to your hand easily and save strain on your fingers.

Mariner's Star Pincushion - Sewing Machine Needles StorageTip #5: Divided Needle Storage
A small embroidery floss container is perfect for storing sewing machine needles. You can store a different size in each compartment so it’s easy to find the one you need.
Fons & Porter’s Tip:
Use the Mariner’s Star Pincushion to store your needles. It’s also the perfect place to stick them when you’re changing out needles on your sewing machine!

Tip #6: Finding a Needle
I like quilting by hand so, sometimes, my needle gets lost. You know those free magnets you get from advertisers? I thread up to 6 needles at a time and stick them on one of those magnets.

Tip #7: Heavy Duty Needle Threader
I use dental floss threaders to thread needles when I’m working with pearl cotton or embroidery floss.

I hope you found these tips for hand and sewing machine needles as helpful as I did. Do you ever use any of these? Leave a comment with a tip of your own and I’ll use it in the future!

Happy Quilting!

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Fons & Porter Blog

18 thoughts on “Tip Tuesday: Hand & Sewing Machine Needles

  1. I have 2 tips. 1. I use a removable pencil eraser (the kind that you put on your pencil when you have used all that pencil ‘ s eraser) on the screw that I need to loosen to change needles on my machine. It will give you leverage and not hurt your fingers.
    2. I hand applique with silk thread. To keep it from coming unthreaded, I go through the needle twice. It works great!

  2. Another tip for you. I have tremors sometimes which makes it hard to thread a needle. I no more than get the thread through the eye of the needle than my hand shakes it back out. I cut the thread at an angle and them coat the end of the thread with clear nail polish to stiffen it. When my hand shakes, the thread is stiff enough to stay in the needle.

  3. I just finished quilting a wool crazy patch with a sheet for the block backing. Then batting and heavy wool backing. I used perle cotton for quilting. Rather hard to pull the needle through but the finished project wasn’t bad. Very heavy with all the wool.

  4. when doing hand sewing, I use bent needles so I don’t need a thimble. That way, you don’t push on the eye of the needle. No more sore fingers!

  5. You can buy a magnet tool. It has an extending wand so it closes up to the size of a pencil. I got mine at Harbor Freight Tools but other hardware stores probably have them too. Very handy.

  6. When I put a needle in my sewing machine, I use a small little sticky note on the top of or face of the machine with the needle size, type and brand on it so I don’t forget which needle I’m using. Works well if I haven’t been at the machine for a few days. Also, when I change the needle for some reason, I stick that needle I just took out to the sticky note and put it in a separate needle box/container for used needles. Never loose track of new and used needles or sizes this way.