The Eyes have it…

Happy Friday!

There are two things to share today – one a tip and the other a funny story about hats.

First the Tip Jar – Needles.  If you sew, you use needles.  Hand or machine – maybe both.  You know they come in different types and sizes, and you know that unlike thread, the bigger the number, the bigger the needle.  Depending on your machine, the flat side of the shank goes to the back or to the side – affecting whether the eye is open from front-to-back or side-to-side.  It always messes me up when I switch from Bern to Feather.


Most of us sew with a Universal needle – or we should be sewing with it.  It’s the most common type of sewing machine needle and it’s used for most sewing of woven and knit fabrics.  It has a slightly rounded tip – not that you’d be able to feel that if you poked it onto your finger.

There are some who believe that as quilters, we’re better off sewing with Microtex or Sharp needles but it isn’t necessary.  They’re nice if the fabrics are very delicate – like a lawn or voile – but even then, a Universal needle is still recommended.  A Quilting needle is for machine-quilting 3 layers – fabric-batting-fabric, not for piecing two layers of quilting-weight cotton.

The size of the needle is more dependent on the thread being used than the fabric being sewn – fine thread warrants a smaller needle and a thicker thread needs a bigger needle.  For a finer thread like DMC 50 wt. Embroidery thread, Aurifil 50 wt. Mako or Presencia 60 wt., consider using a 75/11 or 70/10 as it might give better results.  An 80/12 works well and is the most versatile when it comes to the threads many of us use for piecing.

If you’re using a 40 wt. or 28 wt. thread for top-stitching or other decorative stitching, the needle size should be increased to a 90/14.

Most sewing machine manufacturers recommend changing your needle every eight hours of sewing.  You’re keeping track of that, right?  That’s why I use my “five-bobbin” method – it’s not based on anything except being a reliable, consistent reminder.

Sewing over pins is discouraged – strongly… and “some of us” do it anyway.  And if we should “clip” a pin even a little bit, we need to consider changing the needle, especially if we can see or hear any difference in the quality of the stitch.  “Hear”?  Yes, that’s often the first indication that your needle might have lost a bit of its tip.

For many of us, when we have problems with the thread breaking frequently or stitches not being straight and even, our needle might need replacing.  Why?  Because sometimes the needle has an imperfection that we can’t see.  For common problems and troubleshooting – Sewing Needle Troubleshooting Guide.

For all sorts of terrific information on sewing machine needles, I recommend the following websites:


Just a pretty picture of some Bella Solids – even with a completely random assortment of colors, I love the way they look.

Now for my funny story… about two months ago, a friend commented that I didn’t have a “signature” on my e-mail.  You know – name, company, address, etc.  It had my name… what else did I need, right?  Apparently, this friend thought it a bit “lacking”.

So I decided to change that and put… what?  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have an official title other than “wearer of many hats” so I decided to do what I often do… have a little fun.  So my new signature-line stated – Hat Collector / Marketing Department.


I didn’t think anything of it when Barb Groves of Me & My Sister gave me a yellow plastic hard-hat with “Moda Warehouse Spy” on the side of it during set-up at Quilt Market.  Then Jennifer Keltner of Martingale gave me a plastic Viking helmet – that’s the horn in the lower left of the picture… not sure what’s going on but okay.  By the third hat – a racoon cap from Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique – I knew something was up but I hadn’t connected the dots.  In my defense, it was booth set-up and there was a lot going on.

And then I ran into one of the sweetest, funniest, loveliest of Moda Designers.  When she said, “When did you start with Moda? How did I miss that? How long have you been in Dallas? By the way, I have a hat for you!”… I knew what was going on.  And I knew who was behind the hats…

My boss

Yep.  Her.  My boss – ModaLissa.  (This was taken last Friday when her adorable grandson, Nolan, came for a visit with his Mom, Misty.  Everybody in the office hopes they come back frequently.)




I have the hats displayed in the office and I forgot to get a picture – every time I thought about it and was about to take a picture, I was interrupted and forgot all about it.  I promise to remedy that next week.

I’m thinking of becoming a “Diamond collector” in September.  What do you think?  Ideas?

Happy Friday and have a terrific weekend!

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22 thoughts on “The Eyes have it…

  1. Yes, that is a funny story and since hats have been collected that fast, I think diamonds would be great! You’ll have so many and very quickly. Thanks for sharing your info – always enjoy your blog and info!

  2. As a wearer of many hats I can relate, I love to wear them too.
    Just a thought on where to put those old used needles, I use specially marked used prescription vials for mine. I carry one when I travel too. Any bent straight pins, the safety pins I use for basting that are hard to push through, used needles all go in as I do my sewing. It is a safe way to put them in my garbage can once the vial is full. Large vials can sometimes be big enough for the smaller rotary cutter blades too.

  3. Great information about the needles – and I liked Carla’s idea about used needles. Very funny about the hats! I think you’re on the right track about diamonds!

  4. Well I had no idea that a universal needle was recommended for patchwork (I’ve only really used them for dressmaking and sewing curtains) – they’re a lot cheaper than microtex and I’ll be converting to them! Thank you!

    P.S. I might become a ten pound note collector…

  5. Love the power of suggestion!! Don’t limit yourself to diamonds though…. I think Jewelry Collector might be better! Love the posts!

  6. Wow I think the possibilities are endless here with your signature line, I work in IT but I wonder if my co workers would do the same if I changed my title to Fabric Collector? I kinda doubt it ,.. but you keep changing that name and I bet you can come up with some good ones and get collections going pretty fast! After all diamonds are a girls best friend, right?

  7. Perfect tip explanation. Thank you. Love your hat story. Moda does love their family. Hope to visit during Fall Market. Diamonds, why not? Hugs

  8. Let me know how that Diamond Collector works out for you. I might open a branch office. 🙂

  9. jewelry collector might be a better idea. diamond collector when you are a quilter could mean charm packs of fabric cut in diamond shapes. but I would love to see what you would do with all of THOSE diamonds!!

  10. I love your blog, and you always find interesting topics to write about. Thank you for the frequent posts.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. One tiny request: Would it be possible to review and update the list of quilt shops? Some of these sites seem to have gone dormant, and others have moved.

      Many thanks, again

  11. I would say you are in good company as a hat collector. I was able to see the Dr Seuss Geisel. He has a very large hat collection. I was lucky to see it in New Orleans in Jan. He would pull the hats out at dinner parties to stimulate conversation. Enjoy your hats! Good luck on the Diamond collection. I also loved the article on needles!

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