image from SewingSupplyWarehouse.com
Are you confused about needles? What size do you really need? If the Universal needle came with the machine, should it be okay for everything? I just leave my needle in until it breaks, then I change it. That's okay, right?
Lets start here:
*Change your needle at the beginning of every project, at the very least.*
(Your machine and your project will thank you!)
Now, needle types and what they mean.
Universal - a general purpose needle for mending, occassional sewing
Microtex/Sharps - a thin, very sharpp needle originally made for sewing micro-fibers. Very goos for piecing tightly woven batiks
Quilting - a thin needle with a taped point, quilting needles are good for both piecing and quilting
Jersey/Stretch - these needles have a slightly rounded point for sewing knits
Jeans/Denim - Strong and sharp, this needle is made for sewing through tightly woven fabrics as well as layers of fabric - yes, will work for quilting
Topstitch - this needle has a large eye and groove to carry a large topstitch thread
Leather - a wedge-type point literally slices through leather and vinyl, and multiple layers such as layers of interfacing when making handbags
Sizes of needles are usually listed with 2 numbers such as 80/12. This is a combination of the European size and the American size.
But it is simple to decode:
the smaller the number=the smaller the needle!
And you need to match your needle size to your thread size. But that comes next!
Whew, thats a ton of info! For more details on needles, check out the Schmetz site here.