It seems to me that when I watched
my mother sewing, she did not have dozens of needles, she had a package of 5
needles and I don't remember there being another package around.
Now I have 4 different types of
needles for my machine and occasionally need something that I don't have on
hand. How did we get into this needle
mess? Well, just like other things, the
world is more complex than it was just 50 or more years ago.
Just how does one decide on a good
needle? Just what are the issues that
one needs to know for the best results in embroidery? Just how do these needles make things
Let me count the ways needles (as
well as other aspects) make or break your project:
- thread loops
holes in your fabric
cuts in a knit fabric (resulting in
snags and unraveling when worn or washed)
Here are a
few factors to keep in mind when selecting your needle:
1. FABRIC When planning your project, consider fabric weight, thickness, weave type (woven or
knit), weave density (close weave or loose weave) and composition (natural fiber,
synthetic or a blend).
2. THREAD Embroiders mostly use a 40# weight thread for most
designs. For a more detailed discussion of thread weight, check out this blog.
Occasionally, you may have need for a 60# thread for use on details in a
project that are small like eyes or floral seeds. You will most likely be using a rayon, silk
or polyester thread. Rayon and silk are appreciated for their
sheen but polyester is closing up that gap very rapidly. For the information of the pros and cons of
each thread type, check this blog.
3. NEEDLE STYLE Embroidery
work uses either an embroidery needle or a universal needle. I personally only use embroidery needles but
I understand that Universal work fine as well. One word of caution, always use a ball point needle for knits. If you use a sharp, it will cut the thread which weakens the weave and subsequently will cause a 'run' or hole in your knits.
4. NEEDLE SIZE Most embroiderers use either a #11
or #12 needle. Embroidery needles are
mostly size #12. However, if you are having
problems with shredding thread, it can be a good idea to increase the size of
the needle. The size refers to the width
of the needle only, not the length or other designation.
Imperial size is the one used in the USA.
Below is the guide from Klasse
All machine needles are stamped with the needle
type and size. The needles are stamped on the curved side of the needle shank
with metric and imperial sizes followed by relevant needle mark codes (K0, K1,
K2, etc). This is the information on the
Each needle brand has its own
marking methods. Check the Internet for
the brand you prefer. The above suggestions can be wrong for your project, it really depends upon too many factors to make a definitive decision. Additionally, what works for one person, may not work for you. But reviewing this information can help make a
more beautiful embroidery project for which you can be proud.
Using the right tools for the
project is always the best idea.