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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Batting and Needles

by Haley Ping

As a beginning quilter without many tools or experience, I've always used what the LQS recommended when I first started and haven't tried anything else. In fact, I haven't bought batting in a few years because I'm such a slow stitcher but the Quilter's Dream Cotton batting packaging looks familiar. lol Soon I have to get another package for the newest quilt I've almost completed.

For hand quilting needles, Piecemakers were recommended and so that's what I use. Apparently size 9. I don't know the differences between sizes. One thing I do notice about the Piecemakers brand is that I quickly wear off the chrome coating on them! This happens with my steel crochet hooks too, where I hold them they turn black from use, rather quickly too. Is it just me?

Also, the only reason two are missing from my package is I lost one somewhere, the other is in my pincushion. Are needles ever "used up" and in need of replacement?


  1. Yes, most betweens are used up fairly fast. Some get bent and broken.
    I've not heard of Piecemakers. Do they hold up well strength-wise? I like the name of them though!

  2. I usually lose them pretty regularly, but I recently read a suggestion to toss them after 8 hours of stitching. I'm not ready to go to that extreme, but after I read that, I changed to a new needle and did notice there was less "drag" and it was easier to stitch. Still deciding on how often is realistic for me.

  3. The bigger the number, the smaller the needle (and the smaller the stitch).
    Needles tend to become blunt. You will notice the difference when you use a new one. Mostly I quilt with more than 1 needle at a time. And sometimes they break, bent, get lost mysteriously. So I always have several packages, because I don't want to go out and drive a long distance just for some needles, instead of quilting.

  4. Needles do become blunt. A good rule to follow is one package of needles per quilt. I will thread 10 needles at a time and use all 10 when quilting a quilt. Once the quilt is finished I wrap these needles up in tape and throw away. The next quilt gets a new package of needles. You will always be working with a sharp needle this way. It took me awhile to get over the feeling of "wasting", but it's a small extravagance. It's nice to work with good tools and a sharp needle is one of the most important.

  5. I usually bend my needles long before they are dull. The denser the batting the more likely I am to bend the needle. I only toss them out when they bend or break. I only thread and use one at a time but that is just a personal preference stopping to re-thread is a good break.

  6. I continue using my needles when they are just slightly bent--they seem to fit my thumb and finger. I change them when the bend becomes more obvious or when the needle breaks. I use Roxanne needles, which come in a tube of 60--I have two tubes because I lost one, bought another, then found the first. I've been quilting since 2000 and haven't used up either tube. I love the Roxanne applique and basting needles too. I had the same problem with taking the finish off my needles when I was pregnant with my first child. My doctor said it was because my skin was more acidic--who knows? But I had to be careful not to leave the needle in my sewing b/c it could discolor the fabric.

  7. Hi Haley, especially when you are using a gadget on the under hand, like a quilt spoon or an Aunt Becky, your needles will get blunt very easily. But also with a regular use your needles wear out. A needle a day keeps the doctor away! I fully agree with Marjorie to use a needle per 8 hours. And because I use several needles at once, when I am fulltime quilting, a package of 10 is used up in one or two weeks. Sharp needles make your stitches easier.

    And you have been using the same brand needles for a while now. Experiment with sizes and brands, you might find out something else fits you better.

    I started with a 7, now I work with a 12....


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