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Machine Minute - Needle and Thread Combos: Knits

When working with knits, cuddle and stretch fabrics, be sure to use the correct needle, thread and stitch combination for the best results.

Mon, 19 Nov 2012|

Hi, I'm Jennifer, here with another Machine Minute brought to you by Baby Lock and the Symphony machine. Specialty fabrics are becoming more and more common in quilt shops around the country, and quilters are having fun working with them. Knits, or plush fabrics, T-shirt quilts, are also gaining popularity, but it's important to know there's a little bit different setup for your machine, thread, and needle combination, as well as your stitch choice when working with these. Now for your machine, reference your guidebook to see what they recommend for stretch fabrics. Sometimes it's a zigzag or overcast stitch. And if your machine does that, it's a great way to produce some stretch in the seams so that if the T-shirt material or plush fabric gets stretched, the thread doesn't snap. But your thread and needle combination is also very important. You want to look when you go to buy needles for a specific stretch needle. And it could be anywhere from a 75/10 to an 80/12, but it's not the sharp we typically used for quilting cottons. It's a ball point needle. Ball point needles are made for knits. They have a rounded tip at the end. And the reason for that is it separates the knit fibers instead of breaking them as the point of the needle goes through. You also want to make sure that you operate with polyester thread in your needle and your bobbin, because the strength of that thread is important to stand up to the stress that those seams will get. There are universal needles available in addition to the sharps and ball points, and universal needles are sort of the in between. They have a slightly rounded point, but not as much as a ball point needle. That option isn't as optimum as choosing the knit, ball point needle. So make sure that you do some research before you start working on your projects with these specialty fabrics. And get the right needle and thread combination along with your stitch choice so that you can have the most success in working with them.