A few reminders about needles

I have been teaching machine quilting quite a bit lately, it seems that there is a real upsurge in interest with quilters of all ages to be able to machine quilt their projects.

One of the things I find most amazing is that quilters don’t seem to be aware of the need to use the right needle for the right thread. Using the correct needle when working with different kinds of quilting threads will make all the difference in the world.

More of the easiest ways to improve your stitch quality is to REPLACE your needle. Choose needle size according to the thickness of your thread and needle type according to your fabric and thread application. In other words DON’T use the same kind of needle for all your quilting.

I use basically four types of needles when I am working.

I use a universal needle for regular piecing and sewing needs.

I use a quilting needle when I use cotton quilting threads.

IMG_0722 It says quilting needles right on the label and the card board backing is PINK.

I use an embroidery needle when I use rayon, polyester or other specialty embroidery IMG_0724threads. It has a YELLOW card backing.

I use a Microtex or sharp needle when I use silk, foils, or monofilament.


It has a BLUE card backing.

You can find all of these and more at your sewing stores.

These are all sharp pointed needles and will pierce your fabric. A universal needle is designed to separate your fabrics which is pretty impossible to do with most quilting projects. You can also use Topstitch or Denim needles as well as Metallic needles if you are using metallic thread.

Using the right tool for the right job will make it so much easier to achieve good results.

Another thing I do to make my quilting go smoothly is leave my thread in a small cup at the back of my machine. That way no matter what kind of spool the thread is on it will feed nicely through my machine. No tugging or catching.


I am working on a new project, a woodland house, using timtex as my “batting”. Timtex is a heavy duty, flexible but rigid material. I found that in order to pull my threads through the project I needed a pair of pliers. The pliers I am using are from Fons and Porters and have nice plastic tips on the ends. They made it so easy to work with the difficult material and my needle and thread. IMG_0718

6 responses on “A few reminders about needles

  1. maree

    That’s so clearly explained Frieda – thanks heaps. You are right when you say the right “tools” (in this case needles) will make such a difference to in our job, again in this case quilting. Gee, your latest quilting job looks like a bit of an excercise – your hands must get quite a workout having to handle pliers. Very intriguing. Ciao

  2. Barbara

    I agree that needles are important when machine quilting. But don’t rely on what one person says to use for a particular thread. I just keep trying different needles until I get it just right. I start with the thread manufacturers recommendations and if that doesn’t work, I keep trying. Different weight of bobbin threads can make a big difference too.

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