Tips for Quilting with a Twin Needle
Hello everyone! My name is Nancy Mahoney. I started making quilts in the mid-1970s and have been machine quilting my own quilts since the mid-1990s. I enjoy using a variety of machine quilting techniques on my BERNINA 790, including free-motion and walking-foot quilting. In today’s tip, I’m going to show you how to use a Twin Needle (also called a Double Needle) and a Walking Foot to create fun and easy quilting designs.
I always start by making a sample quilt sandwich. That way I can test the design and thread color, as well as practice quilting before starting on my actual quilt. My sample quilt sandwich consisting of two 12″ x 12″ squares of solid-colored fabric and a 12″ x 12″ square of American Spirit Batting by Fairfield, Classic Cotton, 100% cotton. I spray-basted the layers using Sulky KK2000.
On a Twin Needle, the two needles are attached to a single crossbar, so you can stitch two rows simultaneously. On the package are two numbers, which indicate the space between the tips and the size of the needles. For instance, a 2.5/80 needle is two 80 needles spaced 2.5 mm apart. When choosing a Twin Needle, keep in mind that the bobbin thread goes between needles creating a zigzag on the back of the quilt. There are also different types of Twin Needles, including Universal, Denim/Jeans, Ballpoint, Stretch, and so on. I recommend using a Universal needle, size 2.0/80 or 2.5/80. Install a Twin Needle and be sure to install a 9mm or 5.5mm throat plate.
You’ll need two spools of thread and matching thread in the bobbin. I’m using two colors of thread to make it easier to see. Place a spool on each spool pin/holder. Thread the machine, making sure to position the first thread on the right side of the tension disc and the second thread on the left side of the tension disc. Thread the first thread manually into the right needle. Thread the second thread manually into the left needle. Do not use the needle threader. Attach a Walking foot #50 to your BERNINA.
When quilting straight line, use a removable marker to lightly mark a line. Then center the marked line between the two needles.
Use the edge of the Walking Foot to create a 3/8″ grid. Or, mark lines to create a larger grid. When using a Twin Needle, you cannot place the needles in the down position and pivot the quilt sandwich 90 degrees. So, plan your quilting design accordingly.
It’s easy to quilt gently curved lines using a Twin Needle and a Walking Foot.
Using a Twin Needle and Walking Foot to quilt a spiral adds a fun element to any quilt. I draw the center circle first. When I’m about three-quarters of the way around the circle, I start moving away from the circle to start the spiral. Use the edge of the Walking Foot to create the spiral, stopping with the needles in the down position and pivot slightly as needed.
Have fun and Happy Quilting!