How often you should change your needle is a topic that everybody has an opinion on, and most of them are different. This is not very helpful when you want a simple answer. Let me tell you when I change my needle. I think about my needles like pencils. I wouldn’t ever want to use a blunt pencil.
When I start a new project or if I haven’t changed it for 10-14 days (I sew something most days) then I will change the needle. By doing this, I know that I am keeping my stitches the best they can be. If I am using a titanium-coated needle, I will keep using my existing needle for another week or part of a project before I change it. This is because the titanium coating on the needles is tougher and helps maintain the quality of the needle for longer.
Even when you change your needle regularly, sometimes a needle dulls quicker than normal. The following warning signs would prompt me to change my needle immediately.
- I see my machine is skipping stitches.
- The top thread is shredding.
- There is a build-up of bobbin thread nesting underneath my project.
- There is puckering around the stitches.
Finally, start to listen to your needles. The sound the needle makes as it pieces the fabric is very quiet. When a dull thud or popping sound can be heard, this indicates that the needle has dulled and requires changing.
But Which Needle Should I Use?
Later in January, I will be sharing more detailed information on which needle to use for which sewing job. When you use the wrong one, it can lead to the needle becoming dull quicker than normal.
As a quick guide before more information is released, I use 70/80 sharp needles for woven fabric (quilting cotton weight) and sew with 50w/60w cotton threads. For Jersey knit fabrics, I use 70/80 ballpoint needles and sew with 50w/60w cotton threads. I use 70/80 topstitch needles and polyester (Filtec) threads for free-motion quilting on my domestics sewing machine.