SCHMETZ Needles, Part 2

Caring for your sewing machine needles is a key part of successful quilting. We went straight to the source for a few tips & tricks and are pleased to present Part Two of our guest series with Rhonda Pierce of SCHMETZ Needles.  Thank you, Rhonda!

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Sewing machine needles do NOT last forever!  The tips get dull and burrs develop in the eye.  Needles work hard at fast speeds.  They penetrate not only the fabric, but fabric dyes and finishes.  Mix in our personal techniques of nudging or pulling fabric while sewing and you realize that little 2” piece of steel, the SCHMETZ needle, endures a tough life.  Look and listen!  When the needle gets dull or has a few burrs from working so hard, not only will you see compromised stitches, but your machine will talk to you.  Watch this SCHMETZ video for a few simple clues to when to change the needle:

Just to recap these are the clues to changing the needle:

  • Threads are breaking or shredding
  • Skipped or uneven stitches
  • Puckered or damaged fabrics
  • The sewing machine makes a little clicking sound at stitch formation.  The sound graduates to a popping sound, then for really dull needles, escalates to a clunking sound.

The solution is easy.  Change the needle!  The sewing machine needle is NOT a permanent machine part.  The needle is meant to be changed.  Changing the needle is the easiest and most economical way to improve the quality of your stitches.  The rule of thumb is to change the needle after every 8 hours of sewing.  If you are a power quilter, this may be too infrequent.  In fact more than a few power quilters have whispered that they change the needle every 3 to 4 hours.  See what works for you.  Start each project with a new needle.  A good practice is to change the needle with every bobbin refill.

Remove pins BEFORE sewing over them. Sewing on a pin will bend, damage or break the needle.
Remove pins BEFORE sewing over them. Sewing on a pin will bend, damage or break the needle.

Next time you buy Aurifil thread from your favorite quilt shop, remember to pick up a couple packs of SCHMETZ needles.  If you are like me, there is nothing more irritating than being in the sewing groove at 2AM and not having the right needle.

For more information visit  While on the site download the SCHMETZ Color Chart for posting in your sewing room.  iPhone can users download the free SCHMETZ App.  The SCHMETZ Android version is expected soon.

— Rhonda

To view Part 1 of this series, please click here 

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RP15-125-sendRhonda Pierce has a dream job . . . teaching sewing and quilting enthusiasts about the most important 2” piece of steel in the sewing machine – the SCHMETZ needle.  As  spokesperson for and Marketing Director for Euro-notions, Rhonda enjoys sharing needle knowledge in classrooms and sewing shows throughout North America.  She is delighted with the ingenuity and remarkable creations that sewing enthusiasts share.  Next time you see Rhonda with her SCHMETZ “Super” Needle, it’s 17” tall, tell her which SCHMETZ needle is your favorite.

SCHMETZ online:
Website — Blog — Facebook — Pinterest — YouTube — Inspired to Sew


  1. Just thinking about what I could make with a 17″ needle!
    One tip I have, is to be sure threads are secured under the foot, before removing fabric from the throat, to prevent undo pulling of the needle.

  2. Every time I place an order from an online source that has free shipping with a certain dollar order, I make up the dollars to the minimum by buying needles. I probably change them more frequently than most, not only because the stitch quality is better with a newer needle, but because it saves wear and tear on the machine.

    I use an old pill bottle to store used needles, throwing it out when it is full.

    On occasion, I need to change needle sizes before a needle is ready to be thrown out (the drawback of doing multiple types of projects at once). I have a flower shaped pincushion, and have marked each “petal” with a different needle size. The still-not-worn-out needle I take out temporarily goes in the pincushion on the petal with the appropriate size.

  3. One tip was to change the needle with each bobbin fill. Well, a bobbin is only 20 minutes of real sewing so that seems a tad too often.

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