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Embroidery Tips & Techniques Multi-Needle

Multi-Needle Monday: Assigning Thread Colors, Part I

Many of you expressed an interest in learning how to assign thread colors to the needles.  I’ll share how I do it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m self-taught – I’ve never had a lesson on a multi-needle machine. For quite some time, my only exposure to the multi-needle machines was at Stitching Sisters events. After deferring all multi-needle questions at those events to my sister, Marie, I figured it was time I tackled the 10-needle.

Here’s what I’ve learned.  Stitching does not have to proceed from needle one through needle ten. It can progress in any order such as needle three to needle seven to needle one. You can control what needle stitches when just like you can control what thread you put on what needle.

I’m often working with one palette for several embroidery projects at a time so I select the 10 thread spools and load them onto the machine in no particular order.  Now remember, I’m not a commercial embroiderer so although I like to save time, I am not focused on shaving seconds off of every stitch out.  If I was, then I would pay attention to the order in which I loaded the spools (most-used spools go together on pins three through eight to save time when the machine actually moves from needle to needle).

With all ten needles threaded, select the notes section on the machine screen and go to page 5.


Turn the Manual Color Sequence to On and then touch Close.


Retrieve the embroidery design. I’m going to stitch a six color design from the Embroider-a-Cure Collection. Thread3

Here’s the color sequence as shown in my embroidery software program. Thread4

At the machine, retrieve the design.  Touch Edit End.


Touch the spool icon.


When this screen appears, you can change any of the colors to a specific needle.  Just to be clear, ‘colors’ are the colors of the design as listed on the left column and ‘needles’ are the ten icons on the right of the screen.


To assign a needle to the first color, touch the needle that you want to stitch first. Here, I’ve assigned needle 8 to stitch the first color. Notice how the color on the left now has an 8 next to the spool.


Touch the plus sign at the lower left corner to advance to the next color.


Touch the needle that you want to stitch next. Here I’ve assigned needle 7 to stitch the second color.


Touch the plus sign at the lower left corner to advance to the next color and throughout all of the design until all needles have been assigned. Touch Close.


The design now appears on the sewing screen and you can make final adjustments to positioning the design in the hoop.


Once you’re satisfied with the placement, touch Sewing and you’re ready to stitch!


An added bonus to manual color sequencing is the programmed colors in the design will remain until you select another design. To permanently store the programmed colors, save the design in the machine’s memory.

Next week, we’ll complete this discussion on threading.






  • Shelly Christensen

    Boy that is cool, wish I had this on my 6 needle, it would come in really handy, not that I am complaining, I love my 6 needle, it is the most fun I have all day!!! thanks for the demo, I put a 10 needle on my wishlist and then a new car, got to have your prioritizes, my 1991 Cadi will make it another 30,000 miles I think!!

  • Shirl R

    Thank you for showing us with such clear, good-size pictures and easy-to-understand instructions on how the Babylock multi-needle machine stitches. I am enjoying every segment! Babylock should love you, you are making us all drool to have one!

  • Gail Beam

    You are making us all wish we had a multineedle machine!

  • Marsha H

    Great. Thanks. I keep white and black in 9 and 10. But I am going to try this. Did not realize the closer to 1 the quicker it is…

  • Barbara Lopez

    Eileen, thanks for your multi-needle blog with easy step-by-step instructions. I’m enjoying learning more and more each Monday! I’ve had my 10-needle machine a little over a year and I just recently learned how to control which needle to stitch with. Looking forward to read your blog each Monday and hoping you will also be touching on the applique / patches function. Also looking forward to meeting the Stitching Sisters at an upcoming event.

  • Carolyn morgan

    You make me drool for the PR1000e! My PR600II has reached its limit on updates. I can do something similar, but certainly not this efficient. However, I’m still light years ahead of the single needle machines. Ladies, take the leap to multi-needle! Don’t be intimidated, you will wonder why you waited so long!

  • Doree Shandera

    Thanks for the simple, easy to follow directions. For me the photo’s sink it in my head. I have a 6 needle and should certainly use it more than I do. They really are so easy to use and do such great stitch outs.

  • Donna

    Thank you for this explanation. I have a Brother 6 needle but the screens look the same. This has been the thorn in my side and one of the main reasons I don’t embroider much. (I’m very intimated by this machine though I’ve had it over 2 years.) I think I understand assigning the colors now and can’t wait for more time to embroider again. I will look forward to your blog every week.

  • Joan

    My ten needle is slightly different but my friends is exactly the same. Now I know how she does things. I enjoyed the one day I was able to spend at your seminar in Augusta. Thanks for coming. I hope to see you again in the future. It is such fun to get together with so many people who share my passion for embroidery. As a seamstress, repairs and alterations are “bread and butter”, necessary, embroidery is “ice cream and cake”, dessert!


    This is great. I have the BL 10-needle I bought last Oct., but the store I purchased from has not yet had time to schedule me a class. I did buy the manual, but your instructions help greatly. Thanks again.

  • Google

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a
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  • Cathie

    Where is the notes section on the machine’s screen?


    • MabelLou Brown

      I want to purchase a 5 inch husquavarna embroidery hoop. Where can I do this? I would appreciate any help you can give me!