New needle - how frequently?
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William Safley
(wsafley) - MLife

Locale: Eastern NC
New needle - how frequently? on 12/12/2013 13:15:22 MST Print View

How frequently do you have to change your needle when working on a fabric like M50? When/how do you know it is time to replace a worn needle?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: New needle - how frequently? on 12/12/2013 13:47:45 MST Print View

The _old_ advice was to change to a new needle for every new sewing project.

I'm still looking for new advice, because I tend to use one needle until it breaks.

--B.G.--

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Changing the Needle? Frequently! on 12/12/2013 14:07:20 MST Print View

From the bible for sewers of Civil War re-enactment duds, Elizabeth Stewart Clark's "The Dressmaker's Guide", p. 125:

"The number one mistake sewists make when using a machine is neglecting to change the needle! A dulled needle causes skipped stitches, ugly snarls, fabric pulls and undue wear to the machine itself. Plan to change your sewing machine neeedle after every 4-8 hous of sewing time, and more frequently if sewing on tightly-woven cottons or any kind of silk. The cost is minimal, adding perhaps $2 to the average project, and you'll save a tremendous amount of aggravation!"

I'd class nylon fabrics with silk, or worse. They dull the needle really fast. Think every 2-3 hours of sewing time.

Edited by hikinggranny on 12/12/2013 14:10:38 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: New needle - how frequently? on 12/12/2013 14:10:27 MST Print View

I've wondered that also. Tend to never change needle. Heard same story about changing for every project.

Sometimes it'll get bent a little then drop stitches.

Sometimes I'll change needle and the new one doesn't work so good. I just need to get a type/size of needle that works.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: New needle - how frequently? on 12/12/2013 14:13:30 MST Print View

Sometimes I'll pull fabric through too much and the tip of the needle hits a metal plate and breaks spectacularly. Like if I'm sewing velcro or foam/2 layers of 200D/3D mesh.

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: New needle - how frequently? on 12/12/2013 15:18:33 MST Print View

Change the needle when it gets dull. you can tell it's dull because the sound it makes changes (it sounds sort of like 'thump thump thump'). Every couple of hours of use is probably about right for a household needle in nylon (which is really hard on needles).

needles are cheap. If in doubt, change it.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: New needle - how frequently? on 12/12/2013 20:36:16 MST Print View

> The _old_ advice was to change to a new needle for every new sewing project.
> I'm still looking for new advice, because I tend to use one needle until it breaks.

Me too. I find that a needle with a bent tip is TERRIBLE, but that only happens when I try to sew through the plate. I have sewn several of my silnylon tents on the same needle. And I am probably still on the same #100 needle on my old black Singer after sevral packs.

Maybe, just maybe, the steel in the needles has gotten a whole lot better since that advice first started to circulate pre-WWII. Modern needles don't get blunt the way they used to, imho.

Cheers

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Burr on 12/12/2013 20:53:21 MST Print View

Change when burr has formed that catches thread or fabric and frays it.

You can sharpen a needle with a fine sharpening stone in a minute.

Randy Smith
(PapaSmurf) - F

Locale: Dream Hammock
listening to needles on 12/13/2013 09:06:33 MST Print View

I also go by the (pop, pop, pop) sound to know when the needle is getting dull.
If I don't bend or break it first, I can get maybe 6-8ish hours out of a needle.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: listening to needles on 12/13/2013 09:28:38 MST Print View

Does this advice only apply to pointed needles or do rounded tip (ball tip?) needles suffer the same problems? I use a rounded one under the advice that it pushes the fabric threads to the side instead of trying to pierce them and this was better for tougher fabrics that incorporate dyneema threads and such.

Randy Smith
(PapaSmurf) - F

Locale: Dream Hammock
Re: Re: listening to needles on 12/13/2013 09:46:44 MST Print View

This is for sharp point needles. Can't speak knowledgeably about ball point as I've never used them.

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: Re: listening to needles on 12/13/2013 19:30:59 MST Print View

Ball point needles get dull too. Fabric is tougher stuff than it's given credit for, and it's rough on needles.

They also don't work well on tightly woven goods. On knits, where the yarns have inherent mobility because of how the fabric is formed, they can displace yarns, and not cut through them. On woven goods, there's less mobility in yarns, and the needle will penetrate by forcing its way through. With a sharp point, it cuts the yarn; with a dull (or ball) point it breaks them. Try a sharp (that's a style of needle point) needle, you may well be presently surprised at how well it works.

@Roger: The big advances in needles since WWII have been in specialized point shapes for specialized purpose, and in the coating/plating they get. Decent needles are chrome plated, which reduces the wear they get and reduces the operating temperature. Better needles have TiN or similar coating, which is even better. There are other coatings in use, too.

But really, buy yourself a christmas present, and change the needle. You'll notice the difference.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: listening to needles on 12/14/2013 01:55:23 MST Print View

> Decent needles are chrome plated, which reduces the wear they get
Hard chrome? Very good point. Thanks.

Cheers