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Tips & Techniques > Keeping Track of Needles

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Posted by: kmouse

About kmouse star
Member since: 9/13/03
Reviews: 7 (tips: 1)
Skill level:Intermediate
Favored by: 3 people
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Posted on: 8/25/05 3:06 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 15 people   
I posted this yesterday and was encouraged to post it here. Since finding my way around this site is challenging for me, I hope I am doing this correctly!

The little needle is one of the biggest factors to stress free sewing and I don't try to sharpen them. Depending on the project, I change the needle. However, since needles are not free, I do try to reuse a needle used on small projects. I try to keep track of the needle size, type and usage time by clipping off a small swatch of fabric from the project, writing the needle size on the swatch along with a symbol like "U" for universal point or "J" for jersey, etc. I simply pin the needle through the swatch to a pin cushion. Next time I need a jersey needle for a tshirt, I can easily see needle size and type and automatically tell how long it has been used. I cut a swatch from the second project and repin the needle through both swatches again. If I see a needle with sticking through 4-5 (or less, depending on how much each project used the needle) swatches, I can throw away the needle with a clean conscience! This is especially helpful when I use stretch twin needles for hemming tshirts. They are expensive but used very little on each project. In that case, I will pin multiple swatches with a pin and try to pin the double needle through one layer only.

Since I do a wide variety of sewing, my needle cushion got a little crowded, so now I repin needles and swatches to a wall quilt by my sewing table! Hope this helps.

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Trudy J said... (1/24/08 11:47 PM) Reply
Elegant solution without a lot of work and writing things down!
Yukon Joy said... (9/18/05 8:45 AM) Reply
Great idea! I was not happy throwing away a needle after every project and I didn't want to use it after it should have been tossed. Very useful tip.
Brine said... (8/26/05 12:54 PM) Reply
Cheryl, great idea! I had been returning my used needles to the little Schmetz needle packs and indicating that they were "used" by marking the cover above the particular needle with magic marker. That told me that the needle had been used and I knew what kind it was, but it didn't give me any indication concerning what kind or how much use it had had. Again, great idea!
jeanharville said... (8/26/05 7:49 AM) Reply
Good tip. I have been struggling with "how to identify size, type, and use" of used needles. This sounds like something simple and quick that would work. Thanks, Jean
GorgeousFabrics said... (8/26/05 6:59 AM) Reply
Great tip. Thanks for posting it here! -Ann
JDpenelope said... (8/26/05 4:38 AM) Reply
Excellent idea! My method --involving notes on blue painter's tape stuck to the machine, along with the needle--has been getting out of control. Yours is so much better. By looking at the fabric, most times you could tell what kind of needle it is (Knit = ball, probably 11 or 12, eg); only if the needle is unusual (stretch or microtex, eg) would a note be necessary. Thanks.
Cloud9 said... (8/26/05 2:31 AM) Reply
Hello Cheryl, Thank you for this brilliant idea. It is so simple. I think this is one system that I know that I will stick with. Thanks again.
Astrostitcher said... (8/26/05 1:54 AM) Reply
Thanks for the useful and easy tip Cheryl. I never would have thought I'd get to this point but I'm doing more and more varied sewing all the time and was just now contemplating how best to reserve my twins and wing needles. You've got the right answer.
SewVeryTall said... (8/26/05 1:46 AM) Reply
Now this is organized...great tip, thanks!
Pattern Junkie said... (8/26/05 0:40 AM) Reply
What a great idea! Thanks for the tip!
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