Sunday, January 15, 2023

Self Threading Needles ~ Good or Bad?

In the last 30 yrs of my quilting life there have been many new quilting products to come along.  Some made my quilting journey easier and some have been not so great.   When I heard about the self threading needle I was skeptical and waited for other "real" quilters to review them.  I never take the word of a famous quilter.  Jumping in feet first isn't my style after being suckered into buying overpriced gadgets a few times.  So lets take a look at the two self threading needles that this real quilter(me, I'm only famous in my own mind😁) has tried.

The first one is John James.  This brand of plain ole hand needles has been my go to for years. Their self threading had been out for quite some time before I took the chance a five or six yrs ago.  Here's why.  My thinking is it's best to let them work out any issues.  You see, some people want every new gadget as soon as it comes out. They find the flaws in the newly launched barely tested products.  They complain, the company fixes and tweaks the product in order to keep the sales coming.  
A popular non quilty new launch to prove my point
 Need I say more.

John James is known for well made needles that have stood the test of time.  They are smooth, no burrs or imperfections.  The Easy Threading needles should be the same great quality.  To thread this needle place the thread in the little V at the top, then pull down on the threads.  It doesn't slide right in but you don't need to push real hard either.  If you can get the thread to pop down into the second hole that's even better. I find it to be tighter and some threads don't want to slide through to the second hole.
 Hand sewing isn't something I do everyday for long periods of time.  Most of my hand work is quilt binding and the occasional burying thread tails when quilting.  These do a pretty good job at both.  Every once in a while when stitching the binding, the thread will pop out of the eye.  But it generally only happens in areas where the quilting is heavy or there is many layers of fabric.

Next is the Sench Side Threading Needles.  I've been wanting to try these for a long time.

Great packaging, with clever marketing on the front and instructions on the back.  The real quilters out there in blogland said these were AWESOME.   So after years of being skeptical I finally took the chance.  They looked perfect.  Now the thread can't come out of the eye.

This is a closeup of one of my needles with Aurifil 50wt.  See that tiny little gap?  No way a thread can come out of there!

Here's my current hand stitched binding.  Notice my needle just laying there and the thread is not in the eye of the needle.

Let's take a closer look.  The thread WAS in the eye when I started.  Now the binding is in the eye!  How in the blue blazes did this happen?  At first I thought it was me.  It took about 5 minutes of wiggling and twisting but I got it out without ripping the fabric.  And then it happened again.  Must be a defect in the needle, so I changed needles and it happened again.  That's when I took a picture so I could enlarge and investigate.  Sadly I could not remove the needle without using a seam ripper to cut the fabric threads.  Never again.  I threw the entire package of needles in the trash. That's that, lesson learned. 
 John James I should have never cheated on you. 

Well me and John James have a Sunday afternoon date so...

Until next time...

I hope you find time to stitch up something sweet!

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  1. Thanks for your evaluation, I have always wondered how well the self-threading needles work. I will remember this when I need to use an easier to thread needle as my eyes age.

  2. I've never tried the self-threading needles, I'll remember your recommendation when the time comes.

  3. Thank you - I have tried self threading needles before and have been disappointed -- may try them again - but not those side ones!!

  4. i have had the same experience with the Sench needles! So frustrating. The only thing I use them for is burying threads when quilting. Ihave never seen the John James self threading though I have bought others from that company…will look for them. Thanks for sharing. Susan in NY

  5. Cheating on John James? Hah! I only use those self-threading needles for burying thread tails on the long arm. But I have only tried the John James style, not the side-load version. What a disaster, having the needle catch in your fabric like that! Thanks for the warning!

  6. Oh my, it's a truth because I also gave up on the Sench needles. Same thing happened to me - they caught onto batting/fabric. I usually use them to bury my threads in a quilt top. After several times of having a Sench needle getting imbedded in the batting or fabric (Who can tell because the needle eye was lost inside the quilt.), I opted not to use them AT ALL. BTW, I now use a regular needle and a heavier weight of thread, making a loop, and pulling the thread ends through the quilt.

  7. Lea Anne..I'm so glad you did this evaluation. It's a great help to me...I need to order some of John James self threading needle. I turned 64 yesterday and my eyes need hands do too but that's a whole other topic! I'm so happy to see you back..I've surely missed you. Hugs to you...


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