I just realised abruptly that there’s another reason to buy GOOD machine needles.
Good needles have a point of controlled breakage, just above the eye. If the needle must snap, it does so at that point. The shank is left in the shaft and the piece with the eye is attached to the thread (unless the thread breaks).
In a crappy, cheap needle, there may or may not be a point of controlled breakage and it may or may not be consistent from one needle to the next.
Which is why, when using a junk needle this evening, it snapped in two places, breaking into three pieces. One flew off to the side. The other nicked my glasses.
Yup, I’m glad I was wearing glasses.
What was I doing? Oh, terribly challenging stuff. I was sewing two pieces of lightweight cotton together in a straight seam using cotton thread.
Safety glasses, for those of you who sew and don’t wear lunettes, might not be a bad idea. Especially if you insist on using rotten needles.