Which Needle Should I Use?

I have a lot of needles for pretty much every kind of sewing. When I take them out of their original packages they never make it back. They wind up in one of my four pincushions, a small tin or stuck into some fabric that is ready for future stitching.  I never know what kind or size needle I'm using but this works just fine for me.

The first time I taught a class I was asked 'What size needle should I use?' Oh, oh!  I really didn't know. My best answer was, 'The one that works.'  Not much of an answer for someone who does pay attention to those sorts of things.  

The question got me thinking about how to know if a needle is the right one. I came up with four things to consider when choosing a needle:

  • Does the thread go through the eye easily?
  • Does the needle stay threaded while stitching?
  • When stitching, does the needle go through the thread easily without catching at the eye?
  • After taking a stitch does the fabric close around the thread?

If you answered yes to all of those questions, congratulations! You have the correct type and size needle for the thread you are using.

If you answered no, try a different needle. There is nothing more aggravating than fighting with your needle! If your sewing box isn't filled with a selection of needles, you have a reason to go to the fabric store! Have a nice variety on hand - embroidery, betweens, sharps, chenilles, tapestry, even glovers! They will all come in handy for some project or other.


Magpie's Mumblings said...

I'm with you. I rarely have a clue what kind of needle I'm using and just choose one that seems to 'fit' what I'm doing at any given moment. I suppose some purists would be horrified, but it works for me.

Threadpainter said...

As someone who only occasionally does hand work, I very much appreciate this post ;)
Stitching needles are a prickly bunch to me ;)