“Something Special”

Last week I talked about a needle storage option that works well for me.  I thought this week I would share some of my favorite specialty needles that you may not have known were an option.  There are those that are more readily available, such as twin needles, and then there are the ones that you will probably only find in the shop of an independent dealer, such as Bonny’s Sewing and Fabric.  If you have not tried these options before, you may want to explore a bit.  I have used each one of these options on projects and have been really pleased with the results.  For all of the specialty needles I use, I always slow the speed of my machine and increase the stitch length.  This is not the time to sew at the fastest speed the machine can handle and by increasing the stitch length, the specialty needles I am using really show off the stitches they are creating.  Also, depending upon the specialty needle I’m using, I make sure to stabilize my fabric really well.  Because there are many top threads coming into one bobbin thread, the chances of your top fabric being taken into the needle hole of the zig-zag plate is high.  This will jam the machine and probably result in broken needles.  Since most of the specialty needles have a width to them, you will not be able to use a straight stitch plate to prevent this problem:  thus the use of stabilizer under your fabric to help keep the fabric supported and out of the needle hole.  Happy Sewing!

Here are a few of the specialty needles I have in my needle box.
The twin needle is the most common of the specialty needles. They come in sizes, both in the size of the needle (80, 90, etc.) and the width between the two needles (2.0mm, 4.0 mm, 6.0 mm, etc.) You can find these at most stores that sell sewing machine needles.
The wing needle comes in a single needle (left) or a twin option (right). The wing needle works best on natural fibers and creates holes in the fabric by cutting the fabric every time the needle pierces. These are most often used in heirloom sewing and most machines have stitches created especially for use with this needle.
The triple needle can use three threads of differing colors for stitching. This needle is most often used for decorative top stitching.
My last specialty needle to show you is the double eye single needle.
The double eye needle has a regular hole for thread with another hole just above it. You can use two different colors of thread, but the top hole’s thread will show the most. I tend to use this for top stitching, with two threads of the same color, when I want the thread to be a little heavy, but when using the triple straight stitch on my machine is a bit too heavy.
With all of these specialty needles, it is important to turn off the Deluxe Stitch System (Husqvarn Viking) or the ActivStitch System (Pfaff). You will only be using the tension disks.
To turn this off, get into the Settings Menu of your machine…
…and make sure to uncheck the box so only your tension disks will be working.
In both the Husqvarna Viking and the Pfaff, the stitch system is a grouping of three rollers that portion the thread as needed. With multiple threads going into the top of your machine at once through the multiple needles, the system cannot operate accurately.
For twin needle, triple needle and double eye needle sewing, you will be using both the left and right disks…
…and multiple threads.
For the triple needle, you will need three threads.
To use three threads, you will need some type of specialty thread stand. I use this one.

With the double and triple needles, I want to remind you to go into your machine’s Settings Menu and choose twin needle. The machine will ask you which one you are using. They are referring to the width between the two needles, which you’ll find on the needle package. If you are using a triple needle, don’t worry about it’s size. Just choose the largest option your machine has: usually that’s the 6.0mm.

Especially when using the triple needle, I usually lower my upper thread tension by about two or three levels. This seems to help the thread move through the needles smoothly.
Here are examples of (left to right): The triple needle, a 6.0mm double needle and the double eye needle.