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Needles for Embroidery

Different fabrics and types of embroidery require different needles, and these needles come in a range of sizes.  Choose the needle that best suits your project.

The size of the needle you select depends on the fiber count of the fabric you are stitching on, and the thickness of the thread you are using.

Your needle should glide through the fabric without needing a tug to get it through, because this causes friction on the thread, breaking it down and causing fuzzies.

The needle should also not be so large that it leaves a hole in the fabric after passing the thread through. Visit the tutorial to learn how to separate floss without tangling. Using a needle threader will help make the task of threading a needle easier and quicker.

1. Embroidery Needles or Sharps

Embroidery needles have sharp tips and larger eyes than regular sewing needles, so the eye can accomodate embroidery threads.

The sharp tips help the needle penetrate tightly woven embroidery fabrics.

2. Tapestry Needles

Tapestry Needles have dull points (often called ball-pointed needles) and are used when the needle needs to slip in between threads in the fabric, rather than piercing the fabric. 

They have larger eyes than sewing needles and embroidery needles.

Common techniques requiring a ball-point needle are counted cross stitch on Aida fabric or evenweave fabric, drawn work and pulled thread techniques.

3. Milliner's Needles

Originally used by milliner's (hat makers), these long, sharp needles with round eyes are often used for ribbon embroidery, pleating or with heavy threads such as size 5 pearl cotton.

4. Darning Needles

Darning needles are longer in length than other types of needles and have a small eye.

They are commonly used for darning, running stitch embroidery and huck embroidery.

5. Chenille Needles

Chenille needles are similar to embroidery needles, as they have sharp points and large eyes. However, chenille needles are shorter in length and wider in width than standard embroidery needles, and have long eyes.

Chenille needles are most often used for woolwork and crewel embroidery.

6. Ribbon Embroidery Needles

Ribbon embroidery needles come in a variety of sizes and styles and have larger, eyes for use with varying widths if ribbon.

7. Gold Plated Needles

Many of the needles listed above are available in a gold plated version.

These needles can be used by people who suffer from nickel allergies, or whose natural body oils tend to discolor needles.

Gold plated needles should be replaced as the plating wears off.

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