I have no idea what this is going to look like?

Fall is my favorite season. I love how the weather changes from brutally hot to just perfect! I love being cozy and taking out my current stitching project, curling up on a chair beside the fire and watching how my African Folklore Embroidery design takes on a life of its own. My parents are current... [More]

Public Domain-Freeware and Uninstall Programs

  The following tips can be used for both Windows XP and Vista. When you think about the amount of money you are spending on your PC and related items, it might make you feel like you have spent more than the benefits warrant.  With a PC, buying the initial equipment is just the start.&n... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilts, Spuds in a Bag

It’s Chilly here in Alabama today.  That is to say, rainy 70 degrees feels cold compared with 90+ degrees.  This has been a frustrating day.  I have a little project that I wanted to talk about this time.  However, I’ve lost the special ruler I need for the project.&n... [More]

Keeping It Simple – Halloween Masks for My Pumpkins.

OK, I admit it.  I despise making jack-O-lanterns.  The carving is OK but in my mind cleaning out the pumpkin guts has never been fun.  Yuck-O!  And because it gets so cold here before Halloween these hollowed out orange decorations many times look like little old men by Trick or... [More]

Speed Test & Copyrights

The following tips can be used for both Windows XP and Vista. Speed Testing Your PC If you are among the more progressive computer users, you may just be using ‘wireless' computing.  There are so many advantages to that networking, not the least of which is the fact that many peop... [More]

Life's a Beach

Well since the last time I wrote I have celebrated my birthday in style and had a nice vacation to boot!  My husband worked so hard to give a me a "Surprise Birthday" party and he really succeeded.  It was a surprise party with a beach theme at a seashore restaurant.  One of... [More]

Be Productive

     Individual characters (letters, numbers and punctuation marks) from my alph [More]

Growing Your Business

Hi again. Well it has been a great week!   Thank you for all your questions and energetic comments regarding frames.  The response has been so overwhelming that we have put together a Webinar regarding frames, their Uses and were to get them.   Join me as I present "Hoo... [More]

Quick Launch Toolbar and Password Tips

  I enjoy working with computers and the software that runs them.  I will try to have my tips cover both XP and Vista when possible.  I know that so many of you are really MAC fans, but I do not have MAC tips, sorry. If there is something I love more than machine embroidery (and I r... [More]

Keeping It Simple - Buttons and Bows

Being the "Meesy" to two beautiful granddaughters I am always on the lookout for cute things that I can make for them or with them.  They are very girly girls and love fancy ribbons, barrettes and bows.  Last weekend I went on a getaway with a friend and we browsed through shops ... [More]

Creating a Niche with Embroidery Frames

Hello, My name is Scott Phillips and I am happy to have you here with us at Scott's Corner. I have been in the embroidery industry for 20 years and my family has nearly 30 years experience in production embroidery and monogramming. I believe that being an informed embroiderer on the latest te... [More]

LaRueSews-Quilts EXPERIENCE, not best teacher

Hello there, everyone.  First, I want to tell you the reason for the title of this BLOG. Monday, I did exactly what I’ve been telling you all this time NOT TO DO.  I cut MY finger with the rotary cutter.  Yup!  I did it.  I am glad to say that it’s not very ba... [More]

Monogramming your own Wedding Gifts !!

So, in the last year, I was lucky enough to get engaged, survived the familiy phone calls asking me about her, made it through an engagement party, a bridal shower, meeting her family and more people than I could ever hope to remember .. and, tomorrow is the rehear... [More]

Finally! All the embroidery tools you need in one kit!

By Eileen Roche, Editor of Designs in Machine Embroidery I get tons of questions about embroidery - hooping, stabilizer, placement and the like. I understand that many embroiderers still struggle with the basic elements of embroidery. The embroidery machine manufacturers offer us wonderful new fea... [More]

Threads are not all the same and neither are the methods to embroider towels

Threads for Thought: Two New Lines for Your Next Project Experienced decorators know that quality lies stitch deep. With so many thread options to choose from, embroiderers can customize the look and feel of every project they produce. Further expanding its line of quality threads, Brother Internat... [More]

Keeping It Simple - Halloween Costumes

Halloween is closer than you think! I always get excited now that I have two granddaughters to watch. It makes the holiday so much more fun.  I love listening to the older one tell me what she wants to be and deciding for her sister. Last year they were invited to a party. We had a great time c... [More]

Sewing in the kitchen with NS40 Project Runway machine!

You just never know who is going to be on the other end of the phone line when you get a call these days!  Just the other day my phone rang at 4 pm on a Friday and it was the "Rachael Ray" show calling.  Honest!  An associate producer of the show was wondering if I had ... [More]

Keeping It Simple – Mouse Pad Revival

This was not the original project that I planned for this week but was inspired out of necessity.  I am forever trying to do more than one thing at a time and this morning was no exception.  I was going along answering emails, downloading some items that I needed and eating break... [More]

LaRueSews-Your Wish Is My Command

Hi Everyone.  It’s been a few weeks since I met you here at LaRueSews-Quilts.  I’ve taken a little time off to re-group, rest and plan.  Now as you asked, it’s time to announce the LaRueSews Block of the Month.  I will go along with the government and provide an... [More]

Fleece Neck Roll Cover with Contour Cut-Outs

Individual characters (letters, numbers and punctuation marks) from my alphabets canbe found on my Stock Design Page.  My designs are also available in packs, as described inthis blog.  Those can be found here.  For designs and packs available in multiple sizes,choose the size you wan... [More]

It's HOT!!!

It's HOT!!! Here in NJ it has finally passed the 90 degree mark...now it's summer for real.    It's HOT!!! Remember that I promised that there would be great new machines introduced at the annual Brother convention?  When our dealers convened in Memphis last week the... [More]

The embroidery business in today's marketplace ..

"Hello, yeah, it's been a while / Not much, how 'bout youI'm not sure why I "blogged" / I guess I really just wanted to talk to you" ~ hmmm, that sounds familiar .. OK OK .. I've taken some time off, but wedding plans are really eating up my free time ..I long f... [More]

Keeping It Simple - Strap Covers and Handle Wraps

Well, it's August and the "Dog Days of Summer" have finally arrived here.  That means it is hot, hot, hot and when the temps get up around 100 degrees it is time to let the garden go and sew.  I am done putting up corn, beans, berries and peaches.  I do not wish to see a... [More]

Using Up Those Embroidery Test Sews

I would have to call myself a fabric junkie. I love solid colored fabric and prints and buy it even when I have no earthly idea of what I will do with it. I have so much fabric that my daughters always come by and "shop" in my sewing room before making a trip to the fabric store.  And... [More]

A Challenge, A Surprise, and A Win

Yesterday was a day of fun and prizes for the members of the Memory Makers Quilt Guild.  At the first meeting in 2009, I gave the members of my guild a Challenge.  The Challenge was to make a quilt that fit all the requirement sets out in the rules of the challenge.  The challenge was... [More]

Zero calorie cupcakes

When I was a little girl growing up in South Africa, Fridays were always special baking days and cupcakes were my favorite thing to bake with my mother and sister. Even better than baking the cupcakes was the frosting and decorating of them afterwards. My mother would decorate each cupcake with twir... [More]

New Contour-Cut Outs Alphabet from Fancy Jumbles

     Individual characters (letters, numbers and punctuation marks) from my alphabets canbe found on my Stock Design Page.  My designs are also available in packs, as described inthis blog.  Those can be found here.  For designs and packs available in multiple size... [More]
EMB 101: Needles

EMB 101: Needles

You may think needles are needles, but it does make a difference what needles you use when embroidering!


You wouldn’t use a butter knife to cut steak, so why use a universal needle when embroidering?


Basically, needles need to match the thread you are using and the fabric upon which you are stitching. As far as sizing, you want to use the smallest needle possible for the job. One rule of thumb is to use a needle that is 40% larger than the diameter of the thread you are stitching. So, if you are using a standard 40 wt. embroidery thread, you should use a 70/11 needle. You can use an 80/12; the holes will be bigger and may be more obvious.


There are 10 basic types of needles:












Universal needles are used for general sewing and piecing. Most sewing thread is 50 wt., making their small eye not suitable for embroidery. That doesn’t mean you can’t use one to embroider. If you do, you will probably have issues.


Although the name implies embroidery, embroidery needles are not a one-size-fits-all fix. They have a larger eye and a wider groove to accommodate embroidery and decorative threads. Some people embroider exclusively with a topstitch needle.


If you are embroidering on knits, like t-shirts or sweaters, you will get better results with a ballpoint needle. The tip moves fibers aside rather than cutting them as you stitch. Stretchy fabrics benefit from using a stretch needle, which also has a rounded, more tapered tip.


Thicker fabrics require special needles. Denim needles have a somewhat rounded point.


Metallic threads require a longer eye to help prevent shredding. Some people like to use topstitch needles when embroidering with metallic thread.


With an extra long eye, topstitch is the needle of choice for some embroiderers–particularly useful with applique.


I have recently begun using microtex needles with my embroidery, especially with applique designs featuring a lot of satin stitching. They stitch much cleaner with greater detail. Microtex also work well on delicate fabrics like silk and create beautiful piecing when quilting.


These needles are designed to work with multiple layers of fabric and batting and feature a longer point.


Heirloom embroidery benefits beautifully from using wing needles. The wings create fabric openings that work with certain types of stitching like entredeaux.


Only use leather needles on real leather. Their point acts as a knife to cut through the thick surface when embroidering on leather.


As with anything else, use these as a guideline. You may find you like other combinations. Use what works for you!


Debbie SewBlest

Comments (2) -

Needles are indeed very important to embroidery.  Your choice can mean the difference between a professional or a less than satisfactory project.

Overall, I prefer to use the largest eye available.  I have a vendor who advocates Universal, and another says embroidery needles only.  Some people feel that a very large needle, such as a #16 will leave a hole.  I have not found that to be true in woven fabric.  The fabric returns to its 'home' when finished. That very large needle would be an issue on leather!

My suggestion is to determine what fabric type you most often use; chose a design you feel that a little of each type of stitch; select three or four needle sizes and do testing yourself.  Designs are created through recipes, and unfortunately, one size does not fit all (does it ever??).  Furthermore, your machine may like a size needle better than another.  'Discovery sew' (aka sewout) is the only way to assure that every part of your recipe will give you the results you want.

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

I am always surprised, Pat, at the wide variables with things like needles and stabillizers. There really is no "normal." As you said, the best way to be sure you have the right combination is to try it!

Please login to comment