14 types of Hand sewing/Embroidery Needles { Where to use them}

Needles always have numbers designated to them. A low number indicates a large needle ( longer and thicker); Bigger the number finer the needle.

Different Types of needles

1 Sharps

These are general all purpose needles used for hand sewing

2. Crewel embroidery needles

They have long narrow eyes with a very sharp point. This is usually what we use as normal embroidery needles. They come in sizes 1- 10 . Needle with the number 6- 8 are the most commonly used needles. For light weight fabric with two strands of thread number 7 needle is used

3.Tapestry needles

These needles have a blunt poin amd is especially used for needle point embroidery and counted thread embroidery. This is  the needle to use for counted cross stitch on aida fabric. This needle has an elongated eye for easy threading, as well as a blunt point that glides smoothly through the holes in your fabric.

A number 24 needle is generally used for this embroidery

4 Beading needles

These are the needles used to string beads in bead embroidery. Checkout this post on bead embroidery stitches. The small beads need a needle with a very small eye, so normal needles are usually out of question.Sequins are also attached using these needles

5 Chenille needles

This needle have large eyes and very sharp points. The eyes are large enough to accomodate ribbon and other thick yarn. Sizes 13-24 are generally used

Size 20 -22 needles are used for 4-9 mm silk ribbons. You have to ensure that the ribbon is not being crushed when passing through the eye of the needle.

6 Darning needles

These needles have very large eye and are suitable for threading bulky yarn and wide ribbons. The tip of the needle is slightly curved, making it easier to pick up stitches.These long sturdy needles have very sharp points .

These needles are suited for darning  and doll making.

 7 Quilting needles

These needles have long shanks and can easily penetrate through your quilt layers.They  are quite short with small, round eyes.  They make eveb small stitches needed for quilting and hemming.

8 Felting needles

These are L shaped sharp needles meant for repeatedly  jabbing on felt wool

9 Canvas needles

These thick blunt needles are suited for use on plastic canvas . You can use these needles to join knitted fabric pieces as well

10 Bodkins

These are long thick and blunt needle with a large eye. They are used for threading elastic, ribbons, and cords through casings

11 Curved needles

These needles are also called upholsetry needles. This curved needles are used to repair and mend usually upholstery weight fabric and gives almost invisible blind stitches. It is also helpful in reaching for seam which are impossible to reach with normal needles

12. Leather needles

These are needles a with a  sharp tip shaped like a traingle for cutting into thick leather. Leather needles with longer triangular point at the end are called sailmakers needles. These needles are ideal for thicker leather. Checkout this post on tips on sewing leather.

13 Milleners needles

These are long sharp needles used in millinery trade. This is the best needle to make long bullion knots which are used to embroider flowers

14 Self Threading needle

These are needles with a special groove in the eye, so that you can easily thread the needle . No more need of squinting or using any of the tricks for threading the hand needles ( read the post  if you donot fancy this needle)

What are the basic considerations when selecting the right needle for your wmbroidery project.

  1. Fabric
  2. Thread used ( ribbon, wool yarn, floss etc)
  3. Type of embroidery work

Whatever embroidery you are doing like cross stich or ribbon embroidery or applique work if you use the right needle, you will enjoy the work a little bit more. Just imagine the frustration when you discover your needle refusing to pass through the thick fabric you have chosen to do the embroidery on.