The other day I was sewing out an embroidery design on a piece of ribbon that I was going to attach to a quilt as a label. All of the sudden, half way through stitching out the design my normally well behaved machine gave a clunking noise and, after stopping the stitching, and examining my project I found a birds nest that could have accommodated an ostrich underneath my project.
So, as many of us who enjoy sewing, I started the process of troubleshooting. I first checked the threading---making sure that the thread hadn't become caught coming off the spool or come out of the lifter arm on the topside. I examined the bobbin thread and made sure that it was properly threaded and flowing out of where it should be.
Then I examined the needle and realized I hadn't changed out the needle from a large quilting project that I'd worked on last. Well, no wonder my poor machine was experiencing technical difficulties! Not only was the needle the wrong kind for my current project, but the needle was dull from all that quilting. I changed to an embroidery needle of the proper sized for the close woven ribbon and had no other problems after that.
Today's sewing machines do wonderful things. And they are very sophisticated and designed to work with the tools we have available today. That means that a home sewing enthusiast needs to brush up on the needles and feet that are available and when and how to use them.
Vintage machines like Grandma and Mom used could, and often did, go years on the same needle. (Although running on the same needle for years is not something I would recommend---those poor machines are not at their best with an old, dull needle.) In fact quite frequently we have customers come into the sewing center and brag that the same needle has been in the machine for years. But the modern machines that handle tension control and automatic adjustments for you need to have good sharp needles that should be swapped out after each project, sooner for those large quilting projects.
And today's needle assortments come in all sizes for all different uses. We have specialized needles not only for embroidery, but for delicates, denim, stretch knits, quilting, and others. Each of these needle types have a special design making them a solution for their designated purpose. For example, a Microtex needle has a specially designed tiny, sharp point to get through those delicate, sheer fabrics---a solution that wasn't available to Grandma's vintage machine.
So if you're having issues with your machine, after checking the threading, try another needle. Head over to our website to check out all the types of needles we have available. Come see us in the store to stock up so you'll have plenty of needles on hand for your next sewing projects.