The Wonders of the Needle
It's funny how when you've been doing something "for awhile" you start to think you've got things figured out! The moment you have that thought, the universe looks at you and says "I'll show you!". Over the last month I've been having an "issue with my machine", which turns out to be user error (which is what I have been hoping to be honest), where I get skipped stitches when going from batik fabric to cotton fabrics and vice-versa. I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on. At first I thought I had a random issue, and then I started paying attention - it was only an issue either on batik or going back and forth.
So, first I tried extra cleaning and oiling, which didn't seem to make a huge difference but certainly helped. Next I tried a different size needle because I figured well maybe my thread needs a bigger needle - Nope that didn't really help either. At this point I started thinking there was something wrong with my machine, I talked to my amazing tech, Gene, he had a few ideas, all of which helped but didn't really solve my problem. I talked to my Bernina contact while at quilt market, he gave me a few pointers. Got home, tried those, ehhhh didn't really make much difference. Finally, I figured I might as well put it out to a Facebook user group, lets see if anyone else is having skipped stitching issues.
So, here is the thing you should know, Bernina is all about T-N-T for problem solving, "Thread, Needle, Tension". Well I knew my thread was good, it was brand new Superior So Fine #50, just opened! I use great quality needles and had changed the needle to a bigger size to make sure there was enough room in the eye for my thread, and my tension was great! So, what was I doing wrong?!
Here is the advice I got in the user group, "Try a 'Quilting' needle.", my first thought... "OMG these people have no idea what they're talking about, I'm using a topstitch needle for quilting, that't the 'right way to do it' don't they know that?" Remember what I said about "having it all figured out", hah yah.. not so much apparently!
For most other projects/threads a Superior Topstitch needle works AMAZING in my machine and that is what I use and will likely continue to use. However, for some reason the Topstitch needle and the batik fabric do not get along. The tight weave of the batik seems to give that Topstitch needle a hard time.
In the end I decided to suck it up and try out this other needle, since you know, I have deadlines to meet. So, I drag myself over to the needle wall at the shop, pick up the "Quilting" needles and wander back to my machine. As I'm taking a needle out I read the back of the package, "taper to shaft and sharp point to prevent skipped stitches" . . . . . . .
Oh my jeepers!. . . . . . . . Yep, of course . . . . . . That figures . . . . . Guess I'll give it a try . . . . .
You all know what happened next right?! I quilted for TWO straight hours without a single issue or skipped stitch! And here is the kicker you guys, I have been quilting and teaching quilting for almost EIGHT years!
Okay world, I accept the face palm with (a tiny bit) of dignity and vow to never "think I know it all" again!
(Now) Happily Quilting - Enjoli :)
P.S: Don't be like me - check out http://www.schmetzneedles.com/all-about-needles/ to find more detailed information on needles!