The needle is the most important tool for any sewing project, and it is particularly important in embroidery, when detail is crucial. Any embroidery enthusiast should invest in a good set of needles so that they are prepared to take on any project that comes their way. These needles can be found online or at any good craft or sewing store. Here are the different types of needles you’ll be using in embroidery and how they work.
Crewel Needle – When people refer to a traditional ‘embroidery’ needle, this is usually what they are talking about. This needle is the most important one to have in your kit, as you will likely be using it the most. In fact, you should probably invest in more than one of these, in case the first needle gets lost or broken. They have a sharp tip with a medium sized eye, so they work well with many different types of threads and are easy to run back and forth through tightly woven fabrics. These needles come in a variety of sizes, and it helps to have a few different size options to choose from.
Milliner Needle – This is a very long, thin needle that is most efficient when completing embroidery techniques that involve wrapping the thread around the eye of the needle or around previous stitches, such as bullion knots. The eye of this needle is very round and small, and requires some precision to thread. They are also much longer than virtually all other types of needles.
Tapestry Needle – This is a needle that is used primarily for needlepoint or cross stitch – basically, any project with counted stitches where you don’t need a sharp tip. This type of needle is virtually the same proportional length as a crewel needle, but the tip is much more blunt. The eye of the needle is very long as well, which makes it very easy to thread. The blunt end of the needle is ideal for cross stitch or other types of stitching where you need to be particularly aware of keeping the existing stitches in tact.
Chenille Needle – This type of needle has a very long eye, just like a tapestry needle, but instead of the blunt tip, the tip is very sharp. They come in a range of sizes designed to accommodate a wide range of threads. These needles are often used interchangeably with crewel needles, as the only difference is the size of the eye. They are perfect for using when you need a little bit more space to thread the needle.
Machine Needles – If you embroider with a machine at all, you will need to invest in a set of machine needles as well. There are several different types of machine needles, designed for working on various types of fabrics. The most common are regular point, which works on all fabrics, ball point, which works on knits, and denim, which works on denims and thicker fabrics. Having a full set of these can enable you to be more versatile with the embroidery projects you take on.
Specialty Needles – These are unusually shaped or curved needles that are designed for beading work or specific stitches. You don’t necessarily need to add any specialty needles to your kit, but if you have a project in mind that uses complex beading techniques or an obscure stitch, it can’t help to have them with you.
Having a full range of embroidery needles is crucial to success when taking on new and challenging embroidery projects. There are many affordable needle options available at local craft stores that you can choose from.