This is Part 9 in my Video Series featuring the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. I’m happy to hear from quite a few of you out there via Facebook and YouTube that you received this machine for Christmas. Congratulations!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!
I’ve been wanting to do a video and blog for a while now on sewing machine needles, because it’s another basic part that you need to know when sewing on a sewing machine. I wanted to make it a little more interesting than just showing how to take your needle out of your machine and insert a new one, so I had to dig though my “needle stash” to find something special to show you. After all, isn’t that part of the reason we sew?? We want to make things a little more special or unique than what we can purchase in the retail market?? Well I do!!
First, lets start with the basics. There are a variety of Sewing Machine Needles and Specialty Sewing Machine Needles on the market for use with your sewing machine. The most common needles to use in your machine are the sharp pointed needles used for woven fabrications and ball point needles used for knitted fabrications. There is also another very common needle in the marketplace called the Universal Needle. It’s supposed to be used with either a woven or knitted fabrication, but I never use them. I stick with either the sharp or ball point needle only. I rarely use my regular sewing machine for sewing knits because I prefer an Overlock Machine for that job. Below are the needles I regularly use. On the left are what I use to do topstitching on a heavier weight fabric. It’s a stronger needle and can handle many layers of fabric. The needles on the right are standard sharp pointed needles I use on my woven fabrications.
I use Schmetz and Singer needles in my machines. On page 16 of your manual, it states to use Singer brand needles for best results. I do not suggest you use any needles in your machine other than Singer if you are not comfortable in doing so. I’m simply sharing what I use. Not sure if using any needles other than Singer brand will affect your warrantee.
The first thing I show you on this video is how to change the needle in your machine. The manual will always tell you to shut off your machine and I think that’s a great rule to follow. I don’t like my fingers that close to the needle to begin with, but unless the power is off, there’s always a chance for something unfortunate to happen. You could really get seriously injured and your machine can get damaged. Why take the chance??
Specialty sewing machine needles add some versatility to a project and some are designed to work with decorative stitches in your machine. The most common of the specialty needles are the double needles. These are needles that have more than one needle attached to a single shank. They come in a variety of needle widths, which means, how close or far apart the needles are from each other. These needles are used to create a decorative effect on your project or top stitching. There are also, triple needles which can give even more interest to what your creating. Keep in mind when using any of these needles in your machine that stitch width is always a concern. You never want to set your machine to do a wider stitch that the needle can clear the presser foot. In this video demo, I used a twin needle with the needles 1/8″ apart. On page 86 of the Quantum Stylist 9960’s manual, twin needle instructions are written. All stitch patterns except #’s 101-116 can be used with the double needle feature. Just be sure that your stitch pattern and double needle will work together without the needle hitting the presser foot. *Please note: This machine did not come pre-packed with a twin needle.
A Wing Needle is another Specialty Needle that is used to create an heirloom quality to your decorative stitching. It’s also called a Hemstitch Needle. As it sews, it creates a small hole within the stitch pattern of your machine. It can be used in hemming an heirloom item or to create a decorative element to your project. For my demo I used the same poly/cotton woven fabric I use for all of my demonstrations. If I had used a fabric with a looser or large weave like a linen, the holes would be more prominent. The Master of these techniques is Martha Pullen from Sew Beautiful Magazine. If you’re interested in creating heirloom items, please check out her ideas and learn her techniques. She has written an extensive collection of books detailing a variety of heirloom projects and designs.
Below, the Wing Needle is on the left and the others are 2 versions of Twin Needles. The twin needle in the center has a 3/16″ needle separation and the twin needle on the right has an 1/8″ needle separation.
There’s one other specialty sewing machine needle that I use and would like to share with you. It’s a needle called the Metallica or Metafil Needle and it’s specially designed to be used with Metallic Threads. It has a larger eye in the needle which doesn’t cause as much abrasion to delicate metallic threads. I use these needles in both my sewing machine and embroidery machine when I use decorative metallic threads.
There’s always a great debate on how frequently to change your sewing machine needles. Frankly, that’s a question that can only be answered by you. Ask yourself a few questions if you’re unsure?
How much did I sew with this needle on my project?
Did the needle perform well or did it skip stitches?
Is this the same type of needle I need for my next project?
My personal feeling is that needles aren’t very expensive, so I will change a needle and discard it after each project. I don’t ever want to risk damage to my machine with a slightly bent needle or a dull needle. As I said, it’s a personal preference.
The last thing I’d like to share with you about sewing machine needles is a TIP on how I dispose of them when I’m finished using a needle. I keep a repurposed candy “sprinkles” jar on my sewing room window sill in front of my sewing machine. It’s easy to drop in the used needle and then I always know that it’s safely disposed of and won’t end up in anyone’s foot accidentally.
I hope you find this information and video about sewing machine needles helpful and will explore your options. There’s an unlimited amount of potential in trying the different stitch options available in the Singer 9960. By adding decorative threads to your specialty needles, you will make your own unique combinations to personalize your projects and garments.
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