I often have no idea what needle is in my sewing machine. Sometimes I stick a note on my machine to remind me. Sometimes I leave the needle case that it came from sitting next to my machine. Sometimes I tuck the needle case behind a rubber band around the neck of my machine. Sometimes I entirely forget.
Out of curiosity, I thought I would take a quick look at a needle shaft to see if I could identify the needle that way. Using a magnifying glass and using one eye, I could make out what was on the shaft from three different manufacturers.
But given that not all shafts have colored bands to identify the needle type, it became clear to me that I was not going to have an easy time of it. In fact, I had basically given up all hope of being able to make sure identifications.
But did you know that Schmetz recently announced on their blog (look for the post dated Dec. 31, 2013) a new colored banding scheme for their sewing machine needles that identifies both the type and the size by color.
In addition, there is a free iPhone/iPad app that you can see here. It contains a lot of helpful information about their new color banding scheme, definitions of needle types, lists of fabrics and the suggested type of needle to use, and lots of other useful information. You can keep a list of your favorite needles. You can also be directed to their website where you can order their needles. Even if you don’t use Schmetz needles exclusively, this app is a very useful tool.
Here is a screen shot of the iPhone app from Apple’s iTunes webpage. Doesn’t it look helpful? I’m really looking forward to the new color-coded needles.