Q. I am a rather new quilter and keep reading around the web that a new needle should be used with every project.I have been using your Topstictch needles and love them, but am unsure if I really need to toss one every time I start a new project. Everything I have read on your site suggests that Superior's needles last longer than other brands. At my current skill level, I don't really know what the indicators are that a new needle is needed.
A. Great question. There are many differing opinions when to use a new needle. The 'every project' designation is quite vague, because some quilts take much longer to piece and topstitch than others. If new needles were required for every new garment that was sewn, clothing costs would skyrocket due to the increased needle expense. For this reason, we don't follow the 'Use a new needle with every quilt.' mantra.
With Superior's Titanium-coated needles, you will hear a different sound when sewing, a soft, constant 'thud, thud, thud' when the needle is getting dull. This is because the thin layer of titanium-nitride coating is wearing off. Every time the needle penetrates fabric, there is a microscopic amount of wear on a needle, no matter what it is coated with (nickel, chrome, or titanium).
There are many other cues of a dulling or dull needle that are more recognizable, such as skipped stitches, having your top thread shred, and/or puckering while stitching. If your thread starts to behave strangely and you are encountering these types of problems whereas you weren't before, chances are that your needle should be replaced.