Today we need to look at which needle to use. A general rule is fine threads and needles for fine fabrics, heavier threads and needles for heavier fabrics.
If you have your fat 1/4s, you will have quilting cotton and so we need to use a medium weight needle - size 11(75) - 14(90). Just like any tools, it is important to have sharp needles - many people don't change the needle unless it breaks !!!, but it is a good habit to change the needle at least every 8-10 sewing hours or when you start a new project. A blunt needle can create more problems than it is worth, so start out keeping your machine in 'top' condition and 'she' will reward you with more trouble free hours of enjoyment!
Changing the needle is a simple operation so let's do it!
The first thing to do is Turn Off The Power!
Raise the needle to its highest point by turning the Balance Wheel.
Lower the Pressure Foot
Holding the needle in your left hand, turn the needle Clamp Screw toward you until the needle comes free - don't get carried away or you will screw it right off!!
Take your new needle and insert into the clamp with the flat side away from you (check your manual if different) and push it in as far as it will go. Tighten the Needle Clamp Screw with your fingers and then more firmly. (you will have a small screwdriver in your machine kit)
There you go - I said it was easy!!!
Now before we get sewing I want to check the size of seams. In the photo below, I have removed the foot and wound the needle down. The measurements you see on the Needle Plate and the Hook Cover Plate are the distance from the needle to that mark.
These are here to act as a fabric guide ie the edge of your fabric will move along that line and ensure you have straight, even seams!
Many of the patterns you download have 1/2" seam allowances and quilters use 1/4" seams. I have put a piece of tape along the 1/2" line to show you an easy way to get used to these measurements.
Warning: Don't use packaging tape like this - it lifted the silver from the plate (Oh NOOO!!!!)
Now you just have to thread your new needle and we can sew!