How to organize needles

needles_by_machineThose who know me well, know that there are two subjects I refuse to discuss. And that would be needles and thread. Reason being, I’ve been stuck in too many social situations with needles and thread being the topic du jour. Want to know what a bunch of garmentos talk about when you get them into a room with whiskey and cigars? Needles and thread. Golf course? Needles and thread. Barbeque? Needles and thread. I’ve yet to meet anybody who has been in this business for 30 years or more, whose eyes didn’t light up like a 5 year old’s on Christmas morning at the prospect of a needle and thread coffee klatch. It could be said that I occasionally exaggerate or am given to hyperbole but I haven’t in this case.

Thoroughly overdosed, a condition of sale for any machine I buy is that it must come with needles so I know what kind to buy for it. I’m fanatical about making sure needles Stay In Their Drawer. Comes such a day when that doesn’t work well anymore because I need several types (ball points, diamond points) and of course, other people pull needles from drawer A and callously deposit them in drawer B. It’s not as though the different types are labeled with Hey! I’m a ball point!; it’s always a list of cryptic string of numbers and letters, and every brand (I have 6) does it differently. And then of course, how can you remember what size and type needle is in what machine? Well, I have that all figured out. Maybe my method will work for you too?

Using my handy label machine, I label each packet according to the machine that uses it. BH stands for button holer (I also have a blind hemmer but those needles can’t be confused with any other). OL stands for overlock, WF is walking foot, SN is single needle (the needle feed uses the same ones) and CS is coverstitch. A photo of this is shown up top. If the needle is special in some way, it gets another label. BP is ball point; DP is diamond point (this is shown in the photo below). By the way, many packets have DP on them. This does not (unto itself) mean diamond point.


As far as knowing which machine needle is in the machine, I stick the needle packet on the head with a magnet. And no, the magnet will not break the machine.


By the way, I had been questing for the perfect magnets and made a couple of bad buys (over the web). These are the ones I’d been looking for. You see these on machine heads everywhere.  They are 3″ long and .75″ wide.

After I organized mine today, I counted 16 packets of needles just for the single needle and the needle feed. That’s about $80. Crazy. Well, no more.

Finding the right needle size in the Haystack pt.1
Finding the right needle size in the Haystack pt.2

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