Let’s learn about needles – Troubleshooting and Changing

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Last week I talked about Needle Sizes,  this week we are going to talk about troubleshooting your needle problems..

All of this information is courtesy of Schmetz.

Important Points to Remember

  • Needles DO NOT last forever, they should be replaced approximately every 8 hours
  • The eye of the needle should be 40% larger than the diameter of the thread
  • When going to a larger size of thread, a larger needle should be used
  • Use the appropriate needle for the type of fabric being sewn
Problem Causes Solutions
Upper Thread Breaks Incorrect threading
Knots or twists in thread
Tension too tight
Damaged/old needle
Needle too small
Rethread machine properly
Replace thread
Reset bobbin and top thread tension
Replace needle
Use correct needle for thread and application
Bobbin Thread Breaks Bobbin case incorrectly threaded
Bobbin case incorrectly inserted
Bobbin does not turn smoothly in bobbin case
Lint in bobbin case
Bobbin tension too tight
Remove bobbin and re-thread with bobbin turning clockwise
Remove and re-insert bobbin case
Check that bobbin case and bobbin are in “round”; replace if necessary
Clean bobbin case and surrounding machine area
Check and reset bobbin tension
Skipped Stitches Thread tension too tight
Needle damaged
Needle wrong size
Sewing machine out of adjustment
Reset top and bobbin tension
Replace needle
Use correct needle size
Have sewing machine adjusted for timing; hook to needle clearance; needle bar height
Frayed Stitches Needle too small
Tension too tight
Damaged thread
Increase needle size
Reset tension
Replace thread
Thread Loops on Bottom Thread not in top tension
Machine incorrectly threaded
Top tension too loose
Burr on hook mechanism
Rethread machine with presser foot “up”
Rethread machine incorporating take up lever
Reset top tension
Remove burr
Irregular Stitches or Malformed Stitches Wrong needle size
Incorrect threading
Upper tension too loose
Operator pulling fabric
Bobbin wound unevenly
Ensure correct needle for fabric & thread
Un-thread machine and carefully rethread
Reset lower and upper thread tension
Check presser foot pressure
Rewind bobbin
Fabric Puckers Excessive stitch length
Needle point is blunt
Excessive thread tension
Fabric is too soft
Thread displacement — too much thread in a small area
Fabric not feeding
Decrease stitch length
Change needle often
Check bobbin and upper tension
Use stabilizer
Decrease field density; scale embroidery designs; increase stitch length
Check presser foot, needle plate, feed dogs

Tune in two weeks to learn about the life of your needle.  Or you can take a look at the Schmetz website and learn for yourself!  Why two weeks?  Because next Saturday is April Fool’s Day!  One of my favorite holidays of the year.  The post will be a little later in the day while I find some good pranks to share with you.

-Toni


Let’s learn about Needles – Needle Sizes

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Last week I talked about the anatomy of the needle.  Today we are going to look at the different types of needles and what you use them for.  All of this information is courtesy of Schmetz and Generations Quilt Patterns.

When a quilter talks about sewing machine needle sizes, they’ll say, “It’s an 80” or “It’s a 12” or “It’s an 80/12”.

Just what exactly do those numbers mean?

The Sizing Systems

The sizes are found on the front of the packaging (circled in red to the right).

That first number is the Number Metric (shown as NM). This system was set up in the 1940’s to standardize needle sizes.

It is simply the diameter of the needle shaft in millimeters multiplied by 100 to get rid of the pesky decimal places. That means that our standard “80” needle is really .80mm in diameter. (You’re glad you asked, right?)

What it means to you as a quilter is:

The larger the needle size, the stronger and thicker the shaft.

So where does the ’12’ of the 80/12 name come from?

It is nothing more than the merging of two measuring systems. The ’12’ comes from the corresponding Singer or US needle system. The ’80’, as we’ve learned, is the diameter of the shaft in millimeters multiplied by 100.

Next week I will talk about trouble shooting needle problems and how often you should change them.

Would you like to save and carry any of this information about needles?  Schmetz has their own app!  It has all of the information we have shared here plus more.  Download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

-Toni


Happy St Pattys Day!

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Happy St Patty’s Day!  I figure today is a good day to look at one of my favorite quilt patterns, the Celtic Knot.

Ancient-Symbols.com explains the significance behind the Celtic Knot.

Interwoven patterns first made an appearance in the handicrafts of the Roman Empire. In the third and fourth centuries AD, knot patterns were first seen—an art form that was soon adapted to mosaic floor patterns too.  In or around 450 AD, before the Celts could be influenced by Christianity, Celtic culture took the form of knots, spirals, plait, braid, step and key patterns to depict richly symbolic seven creations.

Celtic Knots are complete loops with no beginning and no end.  So of course it was natural to make them into quilts!  Here are a few patterns I found so you can make a Celtic Knot of your own.

 

 

There are many different ways to make a Celtic Knot Quilt.  If you have made one, share it with us!

-Toni

 


Let’s learn about Needles – Types of Needles

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Last week I talked about the anatomy of the needle.  Today we are going to look at the different types of needles and what you use them for.  All of this information is courtesy of Schmetz and the Schmetz website.

SCHMETZ COLOR CODE CHART

Did you know that SCHMETZ is color coding their home sewing needles (needle system 130/705 H)? Most, but not all, household needles now have two bands of color. The top color band indicates needle type and the lower color band indicates needle size. Due to special features, SCHMETZ Universal, Hemstitch, Double Eye, and Quick Threading needles only have one color band to identify needle size.

SCHMETZ_Color_Code_ChartLG

 

needle_eye_comparison-Revised-011614

Denim/Jeans Needle — Color Code: Blue Feature: Modified medium ball point and reinforced blade. Fabric Use: Denim and similar fabrics. Advanced point design is a SCHMETZ exclusive. For penetrating extra thick woven fabrics, denims, or quilts with minimum needle deflection, reduced risk of needle breakage and skipped stitches.

Embroidery Needle — Color Code: Red Feature: Light ball point, wide eye and groove. Fabric Use: Use with rayon, polyester and other specialty embroidery threads. The special scarf, widened groove and enlarged eye protect fragile threads and guard against excess friction allowing trouble-free embroidery and decorative stitching

Jersey / Ball Point Needle — Color Code: Orange Feature: Medium ball point. Fabric Use: Knits and some stretch fabrics. Made especially for sewing on knits. The medium ball point does not damage or break knit fibers.

Leather Needle — Color Code: Brown Feature: Cutting point. Fabric Use: Leather, artificial leather, heavy non-woven synthetics. Do not use on knit or woven fabrics.

Metallic Needle — Color Code: Pink Feature: Elongated eye. Fabric Use: Metallic and other specialty threads. A “must have” for sewing with sensitive metallic threads. The elongated eye prevents shredding and breaking of metallic threads.

Microtex/Sharp Needle — Color Code: Purple Feature: Very slim acute point. Fabric Use: Micro fibers, polyester, silk, foils, artificial leather, coated materials. Very thin acute point creates beautiful topstitching and perfectly straight stitches for quilt piecing when precision is paramount.

Quilting Needle — Color Code: Green Feature: Special taper to the slightly rounded point. Fabric Use: Made especially for piecing and machine quilting. The special tapered design allows easier fabric penetration and helps eliminate skipped stitches.

Stretch Needle — Color Code: Yellow Feature: Medium ball point, special eye and scarf. Fabric Use: Elastic materials and highly elastic knitwear. The medium ball point, specially designed eye and scarf prevent skipped stitches.

Topstitch Needle — Color Code: Lt. Green Feature: Extra long eye. Fabric Use: Topstitch, heavy, multiple or poor quality threads. Achieve perfectly straight stitch lines and even stitches when using a straight stitch plate.

Universal Needle — Color Code: None Feature: Slightly rounded point. Fabric Use: Numerous – woven and knits. A great general purpose needle.

So what do those needle sizes mean and how do you pick the right one?  I will tell you next week!

Would you like to save and carry any of this information about needles?  Schmetz has their own app!  It has all of the information we have shared here plus more.  Download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

-Toni


Barn Quilts

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At the London Friendship Quilt Guild yesterday Gardiner’s Gate spoke to us about the history of Barn Quilts and how they make them.  I am sad to say I had never heard of a Barn Quilt until last night so I want to share their history with you.

Craftsy gives us a great explanation.

A BARN QUILT IS A LARGE PIECE OF WOOD THAT IS PAINTED TO LOOK LIKE A QUILT BLOCK.

Even though the name implies that an entire quilt is painted onto the wood, it generally is only a single quilt block. The size of the squares vary, but usually, they measure 8 feet. After they are painted, these blocks are hung on the exterior of a barn, house, garage or other building.

The majority of barn quilts are comprised of simple geometric shapes, like squares, rectangles and triangles. This makes them easier to create. They usually are painted in solid colors, though every now and then, you’ll come across one that has been painted to look like printed fabric. The simplicity in shape and the vibrancy of solid colors make these blocks easily seen from afar. If they are too complicated, the details can be lost.

THE EARLIEST VERSIONS OF BARN QUILTS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS.

Just as fabric quilts have their own unique history, so do barn quilts. While barns were not painted back in the day, they were decorated with different types of folk art. This included quilt blocks once paint was readily available and affordable. People chose certain blocks to reflect particular meanings.

In the early 2000s, barn quilts start showing up again, and these are the ones we are used to seeing today. This is also when the first quilt trail began, originating in Ohio.

A quilt trail consists of many barn quilts that are mapped together and visited. Those following along the trail receive a map with all of the locations marked, and viewers drive through the countryside to see all of the blocks. Today there are quilt trails all over the United States and Canada. A wide variety of people have created them, including quilt guilds, schools, churches, and 4-H clubs.

Want to find a quilt trail?

Barn Quilt Info has a map of all of the quilt trails in the United States.  Ontario Barn Quilt trails have a map of all of the quilt trails in Canada.

Want to make a Barn Quilt of your own?

Wikihow

An Oregon Cottage

The Quilt Ladies

If you make a barn quilt of your own, share it with us!  Now to convince my family to help me make one for our home.

-Toni


Let’s Learn About Needles – Anatomy

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Last week I talked about the new Chrome sewing needles by Schmetz and why I love them so much.  I decided I want to know more about needles and how they work, so for the next few Saturday’s I plan on learning about sewing needles and want to share that knowledge with you, courtesy of Schmetz!

Just like people, needles have an anatomy.  If you know the parts of the needle, it will help you to understand the different types of needles better.

Butt: The beveled end allows easy insertion in the needle bar.
Shank: Household needles have a flat shank, while commercial and industrial needles have round, threaded, notched or other special shanks. Shanks allow perfect positioning of the needle in the sewing machine.
Shoulder: The sloping area transitioning between the shank and blade. SCHMETZ color codes appear on the shoulder.
Blade: Needle size is determined by the blade diameter (i.e., size 75 is .75mm).
Groove: The groove cradles and guides thread to the eye. The length and size of the groove vary according to needle type.
Scarf: The indentation above the eye that allows the bobbin hook to smoothly grab the thread under the throat plate to create a stitch. The shape and size of the scarf vary according to needle type.
Eye: The hole through which thread passes. The shape and size of the eye vary according to needle type.
Point & Tip: Length, shape and size vary according to needle types.

In addition to these parts of the needle, Schmetz adds two color bands to identify the needle type and needle size.  Next week I will talk about the different types of needles, what you would use them for, and the Schmetz color coding system.

Would you like to save and carry any of this information about needles?  Schmetz has their own app!  It has all of the information we have shared here plus more.  Download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.


Playing with Log Cabin Blocks

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This video appeared in my feed the other day from Fons & Porter and I loved it.  Toby Lamb Lischko takes Sara Gallegos through all the ways a Log Cabin block can be laid out and used.

Log Cabin Quilt Block Play with Toby Lischko

Log Cabin quilt layouts made easier with pointers from quilter Toby Lamb Lischko and host Sara Gallegos @Sew Positively Sara! Here are some extra tips that didn't make it into the Love of Quilting episode, A Formal Affair. Baby Lock USA Koala Studios APQS Paintbrush Studio, a division of Fabri-Quilt, Inc.

Posted by Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting on Friday, February 17, 2017

I love Log Cabin quilts but the blocks can seem hard to make since the pieces are so small.  They are surprisingly easy though.  Here are some great patterns and resources if you want to make a Log Cabin quilt yourself.

A free tutorial for a 12″ Block.

A free tutorial for a 14″ Block.

One of my favorite patterns is the Quilt in a Day Log Cabin.

Or if you want to be even more adventurous join the Fons and Porter mailing list and they will give you an ebook with traditional Log Cabin quilt blocks, as well as variations, such as Chevron and Courthouse Steps quilt blocks.

Have you made a Log Cabin quilt?  Share it with us!

-Toni

 

 

 


New Schmetz Chrome Needles

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I am a mostly self taught quilter and sewer.  I took a few classes on the basics of quilting when I first started years ago, but since then discovered things on my own.  Because of this, I don’t have a lot of knowledge of sewing and the best tools to use.  I am trying to fix the gaps of my knowledge and over the past year have taken more classes and asked more questions about why things happen.

One of the questions I asked was “why do I get a gunky build up on my needles when I applique”.  The answer was the glue from the applique was building up and causing the needle to stick which caused skipped stitches and uneven stitches.  The answer, a friend told me, was the new Schmetz Chrome needles.

They resist heat, wear, and allow the needle to pass through the fabric with less resistance.  I tried them out this week with the Link Stained Glass Quilt I am making for Nicole and LOVE them.

I used a single needle for the entire quilt top and didn’t have any build up at all. NO BUILD UP AT ALL!  I was pretty amazed and told Schmetz that I don’t think I could ever use any others now!

They are only in Sewing and Quilt stores.  So if you want to try them for yourself check your closest Sewing store.  If you don’t have any Sewing or Quilt store near you, you can buy them on line from Schmetz directly.  Although PLEASE support a local brick and mortar store if you can.

For the next few weeks let’s learn about needles together!   I will be talking about the Anatomy of the needle and how different needles can be used for different projects (and why you would want to).

 

 


New Quilt Pattern and Quilt Kits

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Yesterday Nicole and I launched the next quilt pattern in our series, Dark Mage.

 

We are excited for this latest addition to our pattern line.  The goal is to release one every 2-3 months.  You can see the entire pattern line on Craftsy.

I also started selling Quilt Kits!  These are kits that contain all of the fabric you need to make a quilt top just like my samples!

To see the quilt kits available, check out my Etsy shop.

The next pattern we have planned I am super excited about.  If you follow my Twitch you already know what it’s going to be!

-Toni

 


#Quiltedprayerrugs

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Like many people I was shocked and hurt when I heard of the shooting in Quebec and mosque burning in Texas and my gut instinct was to try to help.  I didn’t know what I could do until my friend Tracy Mooney from Generation Q Magazine had the idea of making prayer rugs.  I have volunteered to be the collector of prayer rugs in Ontario.  If you would like to contribute or know of a Mosque in Ontario , please feel free to reach out to me at toni@quiltoni.com.

Reprinted with permission from Generation Q Magazine:

CAN A QUILT BE USED AS A PRAYER RUG?

TRACY • FEBRUARY 03, 2017

#QUILTEDPRAYERRUGS

Quilters know better than any other group that fabric often builds a bridge between people that is stronger than steel. This is proven time and again by quilt drives to help comfort victims of natural and not-so-natural disasters, such as 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, last year’s Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, Florida, or the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. Then there are the families who lost homes in the Colorado wildfires and the Haitian earthquakes and storms. (It’s so painful that we can just go on and on with recent examples.)

For every one of these events, and so many others, we’ve watched and participated as the call for quilts was rallied and answered. These quilts are always made and sent with the most basic of motives: to let the recipient know he or she is cared about. Regardless of religious/sexual/political creed or preferences, these quilts are simply offered as literal and figurative comfort.

So last week, when a mosque was burned to the ground in Victoria, Texas, and six Muslims were shot and killed unexpectedly in a Quebec mosque, that familiar let’s-make-a-quilt impulse surfaced.

That impulse got stronger for our senior editor Tracy Mooney as she watched news coverage of a local legislative outreach event in Austin, Texas. The event was Muslim Capitol Day, a day on which Austin Muslim school kids visit the Texas Capitol to learn about government. Two years ago, this event was interrupted by Christian extremists chanting “Muhammad is dead” and sabotaging the microphone to denounce the religious beliefs of this small group of Muslim American kids. As this year’s event date approached, there was plenty of concern about repeat harassment. About 500 people were expected to attend, and organizers were wary. Instead, 2,000 showed up, with hundreds of volunteers forming a protective human chain around the Capitol building so attendees could peacefully have their event.

“It made me think about all of the Muslims I interact with in my life, Americans who have lived here all their lives who are coming under attack because of the actions of religious extremists,” Tracy says. “What could I do to show them support? Could a quilt be a prayer rug? Is that a kind gesture? Or inappropriate?”

Tracy shared her thoughts with the Generation Q staff and with her friends on Facebook. To say the idea grew legs is an understatement. And so we are announcing the #QuiltedPrayerRugs initiative.

Now, the Generation Q staff members hold very diverse political views and religious traditions. We don’t always agree on everything. But we DO agree that–at least for us–we often feel connected to God as we make quilts, especially for others. And we believe that connection finds its way into the stitches.

“I connect with God deeply while I’m making,” says Teri Lucas, our associate editor. “And I like to think someone else can connect with God on my quilts.”

Prayer quilts–sort of a sub-niche in the gifted quilt tradition–are not an innovation. Groups in countless churches and houses of worship in the United States and other countries make quilts that are blessed, prayed over and given to people struggling with health or life problems. A quilt used as prayer rug is merely a variation. And it is not a stamp of approval on any political view; it is a symbol that the recipient is cared about.

Want to get involved by making a quilted prayer rugs? Here are the basics:

 

Guidelines for a quilted prayer rug should be:

  • 24″ x 48″ to 30″ x 48″
  • Use solids or blender prints. Flowers and leaves are fine. Avoid fabrics that contain motifs that resemble humans or animals.
  • Geometric designs would work beautifully, but any design is appreciated.
  • Use bright colors. Green is considered spiritual. Cobalt blue is also a commonly used color.
  • Finished like any quilt, with batting, backing and binding or fully enclosed edges.
  • Dark fabric for the backing may be a good choice since the quilt will be laid on the floor.

At this point, we suggest that donations of quilts be made to mosques located in your city or state. This way you can meet new people and find out what they really need and offer support.

We DO want to make sure quilted prayer rugs get sent to Quebec and Victoria; complete details of that aspect are still developing. For now, please send these quilts to Lovebug Studios, 1862 E. Belvidere Road. PMB 388. Grayslake, IL 60030. We will keep you posted as to what the needs are as soon as we have more information. Email Tracy if you would like to donate funds for shipping. We will likely need approximately $10 per quilt to get the quilts to their recipients.

International author and quilt artist Linda M. Poole reached out after reading about the idea of prayer quilt rugs. She shared her own experiences with Turkey, a nation where the majority of the population is Muslim.

“I was invited by the Minister of Culture of Turkey to represent America in their first Peace with Quilts quilt show back in 2000. Since that time, I have been back to Turkey four times to study the culture and the artworks, hence my first book long ago was Turkish Delights to Applique. I have been to many mosques to study them and also have many Muslim friends there,” she says. For prayer rugs, she recommends anything colorful and easily rolled up for carrying.

Author/quilter/designer Latifah Saafir, who was raised Muslim, says prayer rugs are often very colorful (green was said to be the Prophet Muhammad’s fave color) and that geometric designs and patterns would be perfect. No fabrics or designs that resemble humans or animals would be suitable. (Our thought: This might be a perfect project for blenders.)

If you would like to volunteer to collect quilts for distribution, please email tracy @ generationqmagazine.com.

UPDATE: Toni Smith, of quiltoni.com and Craft Hackers, has volunteered to be the collection point for Ontario Canada. Contact her via email, toni@quiltoni.com.

Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe. Pray.