I love the fact that my Q 24 uses a domestic needle!
Both BERNINA Q Series machines use domestic needles to create those beautiful BERNINA stitches. This opens up the opportunity to use a wide range of needles, threads and techniques. The BERNINA Q 20 and the Q 24 use the 130/705 H series of needles. These are the same needles as the ones our BERNINA home sewing machines use. This means the needle has a flat back on the shank of the needle. When installing the needle into the machine, it will go in one way with the flat side to the back. No need to worry about if it is inserted correctly—it only goes in the correct way.
Because we have so many different sizes and styles of needles available to us, we can use a lot of different threads on the BERNINA longarm machines. The sky is the limit! There are lots of threads out there, and you should try them all. It does not matter if you want to use cotton, polyester, silk, or any blends, you can find a needle that works. Just remember, as always, to always use good quality threads.
To choose the best needle for your thread and your project, we need to think about a few things. As the chart below shows, the thread needs to lay in the groove of the needle. If the thread does not fit in the groove, you could get skipped stitches or thread breaks. If the thread is too large, you may also get jams and thread breakage. The needle is very important to the quality of stitch that we get.
The numbers and letters on the needle all mean something. In the example below, the first number (130) is the shank length. The number after the slash (705) means that it is a flat shank, which helps us get the needle inserted correctly. The H relates to the needle scarf. H is the scarf that works best with both BERNINA Longarm machines and domestic machines. Then as the example below shows, the S is for ball point/stretch. Then then number 70 refers to the size of the needle.
There are lots of other needle points and size of needles to choose from. There are Universal, Jeans, Quilting, Stretch, Jersey, Leather, Microtex, Metafil, Topstitch and more.
My favorite for quilting is a 90 Jeans needle. I like to stitch with 40 wt cotton thread, cotton batting and cotton fabric, and this size needle works great. The 90 Jeans Needle is my go-to needle. PRO needles have a longer groove to help prevent the occurrence of skip stitches and thread breaks when using multiple or thick fabric layers. These would be great to have on hand. You can get PRO needles in Universal, Jeans and Jersey.
As with stitching on our home machines, we need to consider the fabric weight also. For light weight fabrics and fine threads, you will want to consider a size 70 to 75 size needle. I personally have no need for this particular size since I typically use cotton fabric and cotton batting. So no light weight needles are necessary for me. If you are using medium weight fabric and thread, you would want to try size 80 to 90 needles. I really like the 90 size. I start with a Jeans (PRO) needle. If you are using a heavy weight fabric and a heavier thread, you may need to go for size 100. Batting will add to the weight so make sure you count that in also.
Have fun with the different needles that we can use on the BERNINA Longarm Machines, and be creative!
There is a great post on the WeAllSew web site related to needles for domestic sewing machines that posted on April 21, 2017 titled “All About Sewing Machine Needles”. All this information holds true for the BERNINA Q Series machines as well. Be sure to download BERNINA’s free BERNINA PDF Needle Brochure as a handy reference that can be printed and kept in your longarm studio for reference.