Needle Noodle

When noodle is used as a verb, the Merriam-Webster definition is:  to think about something in a way that is not very serious.

BUT since attending the 2018 International Quilt Festival in Chicago, we’ve been thinking very seriously about the needles we’ve been using for piecing and quilting.  We’ve both been using a universal needle (80/12) to machine quilt because…well…that’s the needle in our machine.  Gasp!  Say it ain’t so!

In the machine quilting class taught by Cindy Walter,  Cindy said we can piece with a universal needle but we should use a stronger, sharper needle for machine quilting because we are sewing through several layers.  Cindy suggested using a denim needle, a top stitch needle (90/14) or a machine quilting needle to machine quilt.  Sandy and I now plan to use the 90/14 needle for machine quilting.


What needle do you use for machine quilting?

Speaking of machine quilting, I’d like to share a quilt with you from the Quilt Festival.  It was beautiful AND inspirational.  This photo is not the entire quilt, just a close up of one section.  Sheila, thank you for sharing this amazing work of art with us!


At the Waterhole by Sheila Finzer


More exciting news!  It’s week two of the 2018 New Quilters Blog Hop & Giveaway.   Please visit Beth at Cooking Up Quilts to register for any one of the 14 giveaways.

I’d also like to introduce you to the featured bloggers for week two.  Be sure to stop by each blog to see inspiration from fellow quilters, you won’t be disappointed!




Ann C.    









23 thoughts on “Needle Noodle

  1. Meg our-house-quilts says:

    I have been using topstitch needles bought through Superior Threads. These are repackaged needles (all legit) from Organ company in Japan. A representative of Babylock overlocking machines – ie no financial motive – told me these are the best in the world. Since I’ve been using them, all sizes from microsharp 60 to very large 100 – depends on the thread, I have had fewer skipped stitches and they last a very very long time. I use the topstitch needles for piecing, appliqué, quilting, everything.
    The elephant quilt is superb.

  2. rl2b2017 says:

    Good Morning,
    Thanks for sharing that quilting needle tip! I never know which needle to use – I just use whatever is in my machine or whatever I grab when it’s time to change it. No rhyme or reason, that’s for sure! I will try quilting with a sharper needle – I don’t even know what the numbers mean either! Holy moly, that elephant quilt is just gorgeous! I can only imagine it was better in person, but this certainly captures all the beauty of these magnificent mammals. Thank you for sharing the photo with us!
    ~smile~ Roseanne

  3. onecreativefamily says:

    I used a universal needle until I purchased my new machine and couldn’t get my quilting right and my repair man told me it wasn’t the machine, nor me(I LIKE THIS MAN) it was the needle. So now I use a 110/18 or top stitch needle for my quilting.

  4. tierneycreates says:

    Shelia Finzer is an Central Oregon Artist and is a member of the SAQA group I belong (we have major talent in the art quilting group I belong to). She was also featured in the first issue of Quiltfolk Magazine which was on Oregon quilting.
    Thanks for sharing what you learned about quilting needles with us!

  5. Sheila Finzer says:

    Hi ladies,
    Thank you for the very kind comments on my elephant quilt “At the Waterhole”. It is 99” wide and 72 3/4” in height. ( I know who puts 3/4”…. but I’m picky about squaring). I also use top stitching needles for machine quilting. My favorite top stitch needles are Superior’s titanium. They last a long time.
    My friend Tierney in my local Saqa group forwarded your blog to me. My website is
    Thanks again to all of you and to Tierney!!
    Sheila Finzer

    • Gray Barn Designs says:

      Sheila, thanks for getting in touch with us! Honestly, your quilt is so incredible and I must have studied it for 30 minutes or more. I have much to learn about quilting techniques and your elephant quilt has served as inspiration to my “artistic self”. Thanks for sharing your website, would it be ok if I referenced it in another blog post?

  6. Melanie McNeil says:

    Another good tip about needles is to change them regularly. They aren’t expensive! And it’s an easy way to make your quilting/sewing easier and give your machine a break. Dull needles take more motor umph to work. Thanks for the information.

  7. My Sewful Retirement says:

    The elephant quilt is amazing! Thanks for the needle tips — I use Schmetz for all my sewing needs – I buy them in bulk when possible – I do find if I change my needle on a regular basis my machines perform better longer — especially with the machine embroidery. I keep a note pad by each embroidery machine to log stitch count and fabric type to help me remember when to change the needle.

    • Gray Barn Designs says:

      That is such a good tip about changing needles on a regular basis. I do it after each large project but I do other sewing in between so keeping a log will help me stay on task. I think I will try a few of those Superior titanium needles to see how they compare to Schmetz.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.