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Quilt Tips From Quilters Around The World

Pins and Needles

If you find the needle hard to thread on your machine put a piece of white paper behind it and the hole seems to pop out for you to see! - Dorene in Oklahoma

When hand quilting, I like to load at least 10 needles to have them ready at hand, to make threading the eye of the needle easier I first run the end of the thread across the top of a candle or soap holding it (the thread) down firmly between my thumb and the candle or soap as I draw the it across the candle or soap, this makes the tip of the thread slightly stiff and therefore makes threading the eye of the needle much, much easier, especially after you have been quilting for awhile and your eyes are tired, and of course for those of us who's eyes are just not that "young" anymore :0), then for easy keeping, I insert each threaded needle side by side into a thread card (like the ones you use with counted cross stitch to wrap your skeins of thread around) and wrap the length of thread around the needle so that nothing gets tangled up and then place it in a zip lock bag. This allows for easy access, saves time so that I don't have to stop and re-thread a needle each time I reach the end of the current thread I am quilting with, helps keep my stitch accuracy going because I don't have to break my momentum, and if I want to take my work with me, I just pop the zip lock bag with the pre-threaded needles and my project in my quilting bag and away I go! I have found that I really do get a lot more handquilting done this way, because it is easy to "find" something else that needs to be done if I have to stop and rethread each needle every time I run out of thread or try and hit that tiny eye 10 times and fail 10 times. Having the pre-threaded needles just makes it so much easier and fun. - Pam in Iowa

When changing the needle, place a small mirror on the bed of your sewing machine and you will be able to see where the flat side of the needle goes. - Rose in Florida

To keep track of the various types of machine needles I use, I took a pin cushion and divided it into sections using a permanent ink marker. I then put an initial in the divided section (i.e. U for universal, S for Sharps). When I switch needles during projects, I simply stick the needle in the appropriate section on the pin cushion. - Jen in Chicago

If you have a hard time threading a needle from one side, try turning the needle around and thread the other side - every needle has a front and back side - sometimes this helps. - Rose Mary in Washington

If you're having trouble threading the needle on your sewing machine, take the needle out and thread it, then put it back into the machine, being sure that it is installed in the right way. - Mary in New York

If at first you do not succeed in threading a needle...turn it around. Because needles are stamped in their production, one side is easier to thread than the other. - Lois in Illinois

Department stores with makeup counters will often give samples of makeup in little plastic vials that are great for keeping quilting needles in. Wash out the makeup, stick a label on it as to the size of the needle and carry it with you in your on-the-go sewing box! - Amy in Virginia

I use Velcro to keep my machine needles organized. Take the fuzzy and non- fuzzy side and stick together, put the size on the sandwich, in goes the needle and "Ta Da".Organized! - Connie in Washington

If you trim any type of thread, even for machine threading, to leave a beveled edge with a sharp point to it, it will go through any needle! - Paula in Texas

I use a long barbecue tongs to pick up things from the floor around my sewing machine. I also attached a magnet to it to grab pins, etc. or I can hold my magnetic pin cushion with it and gather them up that way. Saves bending and eyesight. - Marlene in North Dakota

After seeing a used sharps container in my doctors office, I made one for my sewing table. I took an empty white plastic aspirin bottle, drilled a small hole in the cap, and stuck on a bright label that says used sharps. Now I can safely dispose of broken needles and bent pins, right through the hole in the top. For something larger, such as used rotary blades or razor blades, I can unsnap the top. When its full, I can safely throw the whole container away. - Bryn in Massachusetts

When my needles need replacing, I use them to hang pictures. Makes a small hole in the wall and are very strong. - Joyce in Alberta

After every project I throw away my sewing machine needle and I put them into an old prescription bottle. That way nobody can get hurt when you dispose of a needle. - Linda in Wisconsin

I use a grab-it magnetic pin catcher (empty) to glide over the carpet when I happen to break a machine needle or drop a hand needle to the floor. It grabs the piece easily and I know that my family or pets won't get stuck. - Dorothy in Florida

Thread needles with the (leading end) of the thread as it unwinds from the spool. You will be taking advantage of the natural twist of the thread, making the job easier! - Dorene in Oklahoma

I use one of the small white spoons that is given to you at food sample booths to put behind my sewing machine needle. Makes it very easy to thread your machine. - Linda in New York

I've found the best pin cushions in the world to be the magnetic ones. Best of all, if a pin is dropped on the floor one sweep over it with the pin cushion and your feet will thank you next time you walk there." - Eliza in Winnipeg

I keep my needles in those lead containers you get when you buy refills for your mechanical pencil. That way you can carry the needles around without hurting anyone!" - Mary in Texas

I keep my magnetic pin holder right behind my sewing machine. When I pull my pins out of my project, I just gently push them right off my machine base instead of picking them up and placing them on the holder. Very fast & easy! - Susan in Florida

If you have a hard time threading a needle from one side, try turning the needle around and thread the other side - every needle has a front and back side - sometimes this helps. - Rose Mary in Washington

Rather than digging into a pin box or trying to pull one out of a cushion, I took a flat refrigerator magnet and turned it upside down beside my machine. I keep about 20 pins on each one. They come in very handy and move from room to room when you just want a few. - Bettye in Tennessee

A handy tool that I keep close is a magnetic bingo wand! It's
handle is easy to hold and it picks up all those stray needles with
just a swipe of your hand!" - Kay in Virginia

I've been using a plastic wristband-type pincushion and never seemed able to get as many as I need and hate to have stop to "reload" when working on a watercolor quilt. I was waiting at the car parts store my son works at when I saw the perfect solution! It's a set of gloves where the whole back of the hand portion is magnetized! You can put a lot of pins on it and it'll even hold small scissors for snipping off stray threads, anything that'll stick! It's recommended for holding nuts, bolts, screws, etc but its great for use when pinning on lots of little squares on a design wall. - Phyllis in California

When a pin or needle does not want to go into the fabric, run it through your hair and it will slid right in. - Susan in Kentucky

Quilt Tip Categories:

Applique  |  Basting  |  Batting  |  Binding  |  Design  |  Fabric  |  Hand Piecing  |  Hand Quilting  |  Healthy Tips  |  Pressing  |  Machine Piecing  |  Machine Quilting  |  Marking Tips  |  Miscellaneous Tips  |  Needles  |  Organization  |  Paper-Piecing  |  Quilt Care  |  Quilt Labels  |

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