I recently received an email asking about which needles I use for the Bernina 950. Since it may be information others need, I decided to post the original email and my response here. Any knowledge anyone has to contribute about their experience with needles for the Bernina is welcome here!
I read your blog on Flickr. Can you help me with a question on needles for the 950. I have a 950 and have purchased the standard 287 WH needles by Bernina, but I decided to try the Cool Sew needles by CTS (they are supposed to allow higher speed without fraying the thread). They are cross referencing the 287 WH with a DBX257, 16X257, DBx1, 16X231, DBX1738, 1738, SY2270. I ordered some based on the chart and these needles end up being shorter than the 287 WH by what appears to be 1 mm. Have you used needles other than the 287 WH? If so, what size?
Thank you for your help!
My Bernina needles have 287 WH on them, if I remember correctly, they are quite pricey. I have some Schmetz that say DBX1, 16X231, 287 WH and 1738 (A). The Schmetz's look to be a smidge shorter. I also have some superior Beka (made in germany)that say 16X257, 16X231,1738 and DBX1. I use the Beka's most with no ill effects, they look to be a smidge longer that the Berninas(I never held them next to each other before!). BUT, the schmetz's are a 12 the Bernina's are a 14 and the Beka's are a 16. Are the needles you are comparing all the same size? I have no idea if this is standard, just an observation.
I believe I got my Beka's at MJ Foley's, they are in MI like me and I can go pick up there, its been a while since I had to buy more, I'm not using the machine as often right now. You can also buy Organ 16X231 BALL POINT needles online.I used to sew in 8 to 10 hour stretches with the beka's so I'm sure they are good and will not damage the machine. I didn't use the Schmetz's as often because I did primarily sewing on felted wool. I don't remember any problems.....
I can also sew at max speed with the Bernina, my experience with any other thread besides gutermannn was to have the thread fray. I insist that my customers buy gutermann now. I didn't even think to blame the needles for the ,what I call, coring out (the thread got really thin and ended up as a snag/snarl at the needle eye).
You seem very on the ball (I never held the needles next to each other!), but I just wanted to add the the needle goes in off center. If you are having trouble with the thread shredding, check the manual to be sure you have it correctly off centered!.
Hope that helps!