Tools of the Trade

I’m often asked about the best needle to use on your embroidery projects so I thought I would share some of the needles that I use in my work. My favourite brands of needle are by John James and Prym. If you’re going to spend a little bit extra on any type of equipment, my recommendation is that you buy good quality needles. Cheap needles are harder to thread and often break in the heat of your hand as you’re sewing.

Good to Know… Needle sizing might seem strange, the bigger the number, the smaller the needle size. For example, a size 20 chenille needle is finer than a size 24 chenille needle.

John James have a fantastic website where you find the right needle for your project. They also have a needle guide which you can download to find out what needles you already have in your stash. Everyone knows I love to organise so this was a fun Sunday afternoon project.

Hand Embroidery

For hand embroidery and in my embroidery workshop kits I use size 20 chenille needles. They have a larger eye and a sharp point which means they are easy to thread and don’t create holes in your fine fabrics. They are great for slightly thicker threads too like a DMC Cotton Perle.

People usually get a needle with a large eye like a tapestry or cross stitch, these needles are blunt and instead of separating the fibres of the fabric they can punch a hole in it. These needles are best for Aida and other canvasses where the holes are already in the weave.

General Sewing

For general sewing I like to use sharps, they are a short and sturdy needle which makes them ideal for tacking and sewing on buttons. They have a slightly bigger eye for a thicker thread like Gutermann Hand Quilting Cotton.

Top Tip: If you’re having trouble threading a needle, put a light background behind the eye of the needle like a piece of paper. This will help you to see the eye more clearly.

Unusual Threads/Fabrics

For my textured embroidery projects I use long darners, the extra length and larger eyes make them suitable for stitching with wool or other thick and coarse threads. I find them easier to pull through the fabric when it’s become dense with stitching. They are also easy to thread and hold when I’m sewing.

***Please note that this is just my personal observation on the products I use regularly, everyone has their favourites and I recommend trying lots of different types to find the best one for you.***

Needle Images courtesy of John James and John Lewis

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