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Sewing Needles

Needles really do come in all shapes and sizes. There are a few general rules to help you pick the right needle for the job. Sharps are used to cut through fabric without tearing or ripping the fabric. Blunts are used with loose or wide weaves or canvas so that you will not snag the needle on this type of material.

Sewing Needles

  • Sharps are medium-length needles with small, rounded eyes. The larger the number, the finer the needle. Considered a general all-purpose hand-sewing needle.
  • Betweens are short needles with small round eyes for fine quilting and detailed handwork. The larger the number, the finer the needle and of course, the finer the stitch.
  • Chenille is for heavy embroidery on tightly woven fabrics, because they have a long, large eye and a thick shaft. The needle to use for silk ribbon embroidery.
  • Tapestry needles are easily identified by their blunt tip and long eyes. They are used for cross-stitch, needlepoint and are ideal for teaching young kids to sew.
  • Embroidery/Crewel: For all types of embroidery and crewelwork, these needles with their long, oval eyes accommodate yarn or several strands of embroidery floss.
  • Large Eye is a needle that is actually two thin flat wires bonded at both tip ends of this sharp needle. You open the two flat wires to thread any thickness of thread making it foolproof (and so easy!) to thread.
  • Beading needles are for picking up several beads or seed pearls at a time before attaching to project. They are long and fine with small, round eyes so they can pick up the smallest of the seed beads
  • Long Darners have large eyes and long shaft make the stitches line up perfectly. The shaft is perfectly straight until the point, so all your stitches will stay even.
  • Leather has a three-sided chisel point to easily pierce through leather and suede.
  • Doll needles are very long, thin, sharp needle from to 7-15” long. A lei needle falls into this category and can be up to 25” long.
  • Silk Ribbon needles have large eyes and sharp tips for stitching into fabric so can be used with cardstock as well as lighter weight papers.
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When I started sewing, I knew there were only two types of sewing needles, handsewing needles and machine needles. So when I bought some knit fabric and used my universal needle, it separated the fibres and stretched them out. l learnt the hard way but with this list, you can head out to your store and see what they look like.


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