Needles and Irons. What?

I see a lot of questions on Facebook and had the question posed to me after a previous post. It sounds like people switch out their needles depending on what they are embroidering. I have to say I use SCHMETZ EMBROIDERY NEEDLES. PERIOD. 75/11‘s as you can see below. Steve at recommended them and last time Joann had a sale on them I stocked up. Since my machine has 6 needles I go through 6 at a time and I try to change them every 2-3 weeks depending on how much I’m sewing. I THINK he recommended every 5 hours of SEWING time, so not prep time and trimming fabric time, but machine-is-running time. I may be wrong, but I think that’s about right? I try to oil my needle shafts once a week and I oil the hook every time I turn the machine on.

When I got my 2 single needle Brother machines (PE700 and PE750D), they came with a pack of Organ needles, so that’s what I always used. I think when I got this Machine Steve gave me a pack of the Schmetz, so that’s what I use. I’m sure there are all kinds of embroidery machine needles out there, but to lessen my confusion I just stick with what I started out with! I don’t embroider on canvas much or leather or heavy items, so I see no need in changing out my needle to a different kind for different projects. I mostly do cotton/t-shirts and the like, so this is what I use. I hear a lot of people say they use ball point, and I have no knowledge of them or what they are best suited for.

So there you go ~ whoever asked what needles I used!

I got this TRAVEL IRON in the luggage (travel stuff) section at Target. I had heard of people having craft irons so I picked this up several months ago. I have to say I don’t use it very often, but today I was appliqueing a burp cloth and I felt the need to plug her in.

Here I am putting a petal patch on a Gerber type burp cloth. The middle is several layers of (gauze? = thick) so I felt like the fabric of the applique was a little puffy. So… I plugged in my travel iron and let it get hot and ironed the petal patch fabric really well before the satin stitch. This was not an absolute necessity, but anytime I feel the applique fabric is puffier than I’d like, I feel like the ironing ‘in the hoop’ might help out a little. I think it helps the fabric not to get any puffier, if that makes sense?

This is a 4×4 hoop, so you can see how tiny this iron is!

Another instance where I might use the travel iron is an applique or applique font with lots of tackdown stitches. I did an applique font on something this week and it had several tackdown stitches. It kept tacking and tacking and tacking and tacking before the satin stitch. By the time the satin stitch came around I felt like the fabric was a little puffy! It was too late for the iron, but next time I use that font I’ll know to plug in the travel iron and go over it before the satin stitch. Like I said, I don’t use it for every single applique (and some people do), but there are times where I want to go ahead and fuse the fabric to the garment before the satin stitch.

I mention a lot! They are GREAT! I got my PR600 and my PR650 from them and I get a lot of my supplies from them. They have awesome prices on commercial embroidery supplies (stabilizers, etc). They are also my go-to people for machine service or if I simply have a question. Check out the video section of their website ~ Steve has done some great videos regarding Brother machines (oiling the hook properly, figuring out your tension or how to do a tension test, etc.). If you have questions regarding your 6 needle machine it’s likely he has a video for you!

What would you like to see a post on next? I’m trying to address a lot of the questions I’ve gotten recently in comments following posts. I’m loving my new blog in that I’m able to reply to the comments! I have some ideas, but if you’d like to see a particular post then let me know!


  1. Rosemary…..I am a devoted follower! Thank you for all of your wonderful tips. Please never take for granted that some of us have not been told all of this or either we have forgotten! I read you daily and love your help. I have a Bernina 730 and try to relate to your many-needled machine but still get great ideas. I wish that someone would do a tutorial on the Monogram Wizard. I got the CD for Christmas and downloaded from the Bernina site the Artlink to save my designs in….and still cannot figure it out! I am at the dangerous age……we did not grow up on computers but are young enough to have to learn to use them. This is all Greek to me…and I am trying really hard to make it all work. I got my courage up last night and did 2 mongrams on my Bernina without hooping…..they were great! I was so proud of myself! Glad to hear about……I will browse their site. Thanks agin!

  2. I just stumbled upon your sight today and wow! It is so nice to finally find someone that also has a PR650 and blogs! I have spent the last hour going through your blogs and have learned so much. Thanks so much for all of your insight. You have just won another follower. I also love your designs and have a list of several I will be purchasing soon.

  3. You might have already addressed this but I need help with stabilizer. I am a new to embroidery (not sewing but I got a new machine for Christmas). I would like to know exactly what stabilizers you use for shirts/onsies? I currently use a light iron on and then hoop it with a tear away. Am I doing too much? or Not enough?


  4. Hey Rosemary. I did my first applique (girly ghost…it was the only one on my card at the moment…lol!) on my PR650 last night just testing out the machine. To have come from a Singer Futura 150, this thing sews like a dream! However, my ghost started stitching to the side of my hoop and I ended up breaking a needle because the needle hit the hoop. Why did my ghost start stitching to the side? I was so confused. However, after skipping a few stitches and moving to a better spot, it finished beautifully. ha!

    Thanks so much for these tutorials. I’m learning everything by trial, error, and YOU! 🙂

  5. Ballpoint needles are used for knit fabrics. They push aside the knit fabric rather than piercing it. Hope that helps. I always use ballpoint on knits and sharps on cloth (linen towels etc).


    • If you have a 6 needle machine, then you are supposed to oil the hook every day and oil the needle shafts weekly. If you have a single needle machine, then I don’t think you have to oil those.