Once you have your design transferred onto your fabric, the next decision to make when learning how to embroider is your choice of needle.
Just like a carpenter, choosing the right tool for the job is imperative to the quality of what is produced. It is no use using a screw driver in place of a chisel to carve a piece of timber, and it is no good using a tapestry needle instead of a Straw needle when working Bullion stitch.
When learning how to embroider take notice of what the pattern instructions recommend you use for a certain stitch. This applies to the size of the needle as well. The higher the number, the smaller the eye of the needle. Good quality, hand embroidery patterns should guide you. Although don’t worry if yours doesn’t, I have included the most common hand embroidery needles here for you.
Crewel Needles – are the most common needle used for hand embroidery. A number 9-10 is recommended for 1-3 strands of floss or embroidery thread. Crewel needles have a large eye which makes threading multiple threads easy.
If you have trouble threading a needle for embroidery, chances are you are using a Sharp needle. It has a much smaller eye and should be used when using a machine cotton thread for mending or attaching a binding on a quilt.
Straw needles are longer in length and the shaft of the needle is the same width as the eye. This needle is used when embroidering Bullion stitch, the stitch used to form Grub roses.
Tapestry needles are thicker and have a big eye for threading wool. Generally they should not be used with floss or embroidery thread.
Quilting and Applique needles are short and fine and have a small eye for threading a single length of quilting thread, neither should be used for hand embroidery.
If you are learning how to embroider, it is a good idea to make yourself a needle case. That way your needles are safely stored and you will be able to select your needle of choice quickly and easily. I recommend that you make labels on each page of your needle case so that you can identify each needle. This will make sewing your next embroidery project much easier.
For more information about needles for hand embroidery, click here.