Q. After reading your article on Groz-Beckert needles for long-arm machines, and the fact that they are specially designed for multi-directional sewing, I wondered if this type of needle would be appropriate for using with the Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) on my Bernina home machine, when doing free-motion quilting?
A. The 'Special Application Needles' for longarm machines are created with special features, such as a unique shoulder/blade configuration and scarf shape. These industrial needles are exposed to much more stress than home machine needles. Longarm machine motors are the same type of motors used on industrial sewing machines which can stitch upwards up 1,800+ stitches per minute. A standard home machine can stitch around the 600-800 range with some of the high-end home embroidery machines stitching up to 1,000 SPM.
Adding a stitch regulator to a home machine is really neat, because it allows you to control free motion quilting with responsive movement, instead of static movement (the needle moving up/down at a fixed speed). However, you're not moving your machine in all directions when quilting with your BSR. You're moving the quilt in all directions while the needle stays in a static position. The multi-directional benefits of the SAN are due to the needle itself being moved in all directions (since a longarm machine is being moved to quilt while the quilt stays static) and it's ability to deliver positive stitch integrity.