Thursday, February 25, 2010

Talk Back Thursday

Thank you so much to
Kelley, Faye, Patti, Paulette, Cindy, Kristine, Mary, Alison, Carla, Julie, Elaina, Summerset, Mamafitz, Meredith, Ivalyn, Cindy C and Claire S for talking back to my confession a couple of weeks ago! I confessed that, while I do change my sewing machine needle pretty regularly, I'm not that good at matching the needle to the fabric.

Turns out, I'm in the minority on this. Only 2 people reported being a little like me - shaky on the whole matching thing; while over a dozen people pay attention to at least the type, and usually the size, of the sewing machine needle that they are using.

Regarding sizes, Cindy explained that typically the lighter weight (or finer) the fabric, the smaller the needle size you want to use. Several people echoed this and reported that they try to use the smallest size needle possible for each project.

As you would expect, no two systems were exactly the same. The biggest discrepancy seemed to center around the use of the universal needle. While most people agree on things like, "use a stretch or jersey needle for knits", the opinions on the universal needle ranged from "never" to "usually" and hit most everything in between. ;)

I was especially intrigued by an idea that both Julie and Summerset proposed - they actually try several different needles on scraps of fabric and then pick the needle that gives the best looking stitches. Julie said that it's worth the extra time.

Finally, people provided a number of excellent resources for learning more about needles and fabric:
  • The most recommended resource was Sandra Betzina's "More Fabric Savvy", which I am embarrassed to admit that I own, and clearly need to consult more often! ;)
  • Apparently I also need to check my sewing machine manual and any sewing encyclopedia!
  • Patti provided this link to a resource by KwikSew
  • And Cindy provided this link to another resource - this page explained why there are 2 numbers on the packages of needles that I see - one is the American size and the other is the European size.
  • Alison pointed me towards Schmetz and, not surprisingly, their web site has a helpful page here.
  • And Ivalyn pointed me towards Thread magazine. A quick search of their site produced a number of relevant articles, including this one on needle types and this one on needle sizes.
Have I mentioned lately that you guys rock? Thank you so much for all your input on the selection of the best sewing machine needle! :)