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Newbie needs needles for Ultimate 1


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I am picking up my used Ultimate 1 this afternoon. So, of course, I plan to be quilting by dinner. Yeah, OK. Well, when I finally do get it set up, I have a couple of questions.

#1 What size/make/model etc needles should I buy for normal cotton quilting (warm and natural batting) ?

#2 What is a good (and fast) palce to get these needles. I live near San Diego?

#3 Any sage advice about buying lots of extras and stocking up on bandaids would be much appreciated.

Thank you,


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Congrats Linda!

I am assuming you are buying used, the person you are buying from should have a couple of leftover needles. Almost all of us use a 4.0 guage commercial machine needle. It does not have a flat spot like the needles for our DSMs. The "scarf" or indented part of the needle near the hole goes in the back, and then carefully with a fine pin in the hole, I line up the hole so the pin pont roughly to 7:00 (if the area behind the needle is noon) Sometimes you can switch to a 3.5 for tightly wovens, but I usually just make sure I have a fresh sharp needle. I get mine from the Longarm Connection in Wisconsin via mail, but just google "longarm products" and you will find many places to mail order.

If you search the chat area using the term needle, you will get more information regarding the use of needles.

Good luck and remember you have a good support group here!


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I have an Ultimate I and ordered a bunch of needles directly from APQS. You'll probably want to order extra bobbins, and an extra bobbin case.

Check to see what supplies might come with your machine. I got mine used as well, and there were some pre-wound bobbins, screw drivers, check spring, replacement light and a few other things that I couldn't identify at the time! She even gave me the old ice trays that she stored the bobbins in!

Also, went I first started, I bought a bolt of muslin to practice with, then started accepting charity quilts to quilt from my guild.

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Hi Caron,

You said:

I line up the hole so the pin pont roughly to 7:00 (if the area behind the needle is noon)

I'm curious as to why you position the needle at 7 o'clock instead of perfectly straight, at the 6 o'clock position. Because the APQS thread guide directs the thread straight down the needle into the groove on the front of it, you won't get all the protection that groove provides the thread when going through the fabric layers if the needle isn't inserted straight.

On another brand of machine, where the thread guide is off to the side of the needle bar, they turn their needle to accommodate the odd angle of the thread entering the needle. A simpler solution for these machines would be to just position the thread guide so the thread takes the correct path down the front of the needle. This would eliminate a lot of thread breakage and skipped stitches because when the needle is turned, the hook can't pass by the scarf on the back of it exactly where it should.

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One thing you need to invest in is tools...oh, and a can of pink spray paint. A couple screw drivers...really small and then one a bit larger, a pliers, a

black marker pen that doesn't wash off....so you can mark things you just

think you'll remember...(I put a teeny dot on the machine right where the

machine runs the best for me...as my husband speeds it up when he runs it...and I couldn't get it "just so"...until I 'dotted' it. Just becareful you don't dot anything you want to sew as it'll never come out in washing.

Now back to the pink paint. Spray the handles of the tools pink...and no

self-respecting man will "borrow" them and forget to put them back and

pretty soon own them....It sure broke my ex-husband when I painted all of my tools' handles pink!!! Good luck...I'd think any sewing mechanic would have the proper needle The ones that go in your home sewing machine will not work. It's nice to have a couple dozen bobbins so you can keep them wound up with the color you'll need, and then some will have various

colors on them. Nothing is more wearisome than to have everything full

of "COLORS" and only have 3 or 4 bobbins to rotate onto the bobbin winder and fill. I think yu have it made now...go for it and keep us posted.


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There are lots of suppliers out there. Find the one by you that offers good service with a quick shipping plan. If I have to wait for more than a day to get something mailed I find another vendor. Even Columbia River Quilting in Washington only takes three days from order to mailbox. Kingsmen in Illinois often gets my stuff to me by the next day with standard UPS shipping.

I don't buy from the big wholesalers--Checker, Brewer--as it is less costly to go through the aforementioned longarm suppliers.

As for needles, the Singer MR4 is your basic needle. I have some 3.5's, and some MR4 ball point needles too, but mostly use the regular ones. They're relatively inexpensive and I buy them by the case of 100. I probably change my needle more than most people but a sharp needle at the beginning of a project usually means fewer problems.

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Linda N,

Thank you so much for the advice. I will try both Columbia River and Kingsmen. I just ordered 20 MR4 needles, almost got 100 (next time). The machine came with 3 bobbins but the package they were in said Viking so that scares me some. I ordered 20 or 30 of those and some pre-wound bobbins (which is totally strange to me - I've always wound my own).

About the book... thank you so much for the offer to copy. I heard from Connie Hurst and she directed me to a source. The lady at APQS was fabulous and so helpful when I asked what else I would need. So the book will be on the same truck with the extended base, tension spring, straps with clamps and the needle screw thingy.

Hey I have a birds nest under my practice piece but last night I found the switch for the light so I'm styling now. Woohoo.

I think that the book will help me know if I have the machine put together correctly. I should have taken photos when I bought it, but alas. There is a big spring on either end. I don't know exactly where that goes (toward the top or the bottom of the bar). No photos of Ult 1 on the internet either.

There were no straps with clamps either. Just ordered those, too. I don't know if there is supposed to be canvas for the sides. I have Linda Taylors book (great stuff) and it looks like there is supposed to be canvas on each side of the quilt (not top and bottom - those are on rollers with canvas). But I can't tell for sure. If there is supposed to be side canvas, I guess I'll need to buy/make that too. I wonder if that is where those zipper canvas things go that I have see online.

I told my husband that it was a learning process and that I would not get stressed out. It sure helps when you can go to a forum like this and ask folks who have been this way before.

I appreciate your help.

Linda (ramona-quilter)

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I believe there is a LA suppier in your area. They sell Gammill's but have everything for LA quilting. The also have featured artist that teach there.

It is called The Quilted Rose and they will send you a catalog - one of the nicest I've seen.


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