I have decided that needles, like undies, are a very personal choice.

Everybody has a favorite needle.  Everybody has a favorite underwear style.  Some people like many kinds of needles and some have overflowing underwear drawers…or drawers of drawers.

Okay, I wandered way off topic there.

My mentor gave me a UFO once that had a needle in it that was so short that I couldn’t get a grip on it with my big fingers to pull it out. I had to get a pair of tweezers. And, it was so thin that it was like a stiff gray hair. She has tiny hands. I want a needle that is at least an inch long and big enough around that I can see light reflecting off it.

Anyway, these are some of my needles.


Yes, some of them.  But, before you judge, I didn’t buy all these needles.  Needles come to me.  Every used machine seems to have a card of singer machine needles and a card of hand needles; sometimes big needles for sewing sail cloth and sometimes little delicate needles.  Because everybody prefers their own kind of needle.

This gives me the chance to try a lot of needles.  But, those little cards are not good at holding their needles when you store them on their sides and so, I always have loose needles, floating in the bottom of my needle box.


Occasionally, I turn them all in the same direction and pour them into a little container that came with pencil lead stored in it.  This is very convenient, but you don’t know what kind of needles they are.  There are some in there that I love for piecing and hand sewing and there are some in there that I love for quilting.  I eventually ran out of needles that I was using for quilting in my little pencil lead box and that meant I had to find out what kind they are. 

So, I started pulling needles out of cards and giving them a try.  And, bending them into pretzels or breaking a nail trying to pull them through the quilt.  These were NOT the needles that I had been quilting with. 

I found out that I don’t like quilting betweens.  The eye is big and it makes the sides of the needle flare out, so I can make tiny stitches with the pointy end, but I can’t finish them with that bulging backend.  Next, I tried sharps.  Sharps are nice.  But, they’re wiry and bendable.  Didn’t like them.

I eventually found what I had been using.  They were an applique sharp, which has the strength of the quilting betweens and they’re sharp. 


I also found these needles that I haven’t tried yet. 


I plan to give them a try soon.  I’ve been using the ones in the black package, but I don’t remember what for.

Okay, this is going to sound silly, but learning more about quilting is about learning more about the tools for me.

Do you have a favorite hand sewing needle?

Everybody have a great rest of the week.  I don’t know when I’ll post again over the holiday.  Sydney is still in bed and I’m about to leave for some errands. 

When I get back, I’m going to teach her to make an apple pie. 

Can she bake an apple pie, Johnny Boy, Johnny Boy?

Can she bake and apple pie, Darling Johnny?

She can bake an apple pie and she’s the apple of my eye,

But she’s a young thing and cannot leave her Fathers.

Be well.  Lane


Moneik Stephens said...

I have a package of the black/red ones (Richard Hemming & Son)and that's all I use for hand binding/ english paper piecing. I think mine are size 10 milliners. I like them because they are long and bendible. They are very thin and the hole is thin, so it might not be right for you. They work great with Aurifil thread. Once mine bend then I know it's time for a new needle.

qltmom9 said...

My Darling Man tells the kids he married me for my apple pie. It is GOOD. My girls' crusts are better than mine. A store gave me 2 Roxanne's to try ages ago...I have used those for ages and would like more, but the store is closed and Roxanne's are $$$$. Slipped right through though. I too often settle for icky needles.

lw said...

I prefer sharps to betweens.

I make a really good apple pie, my own crust and I use granny smith or pippin apples. Tomorrow, though, I am making pecan pie.

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Elizabeth said...

I love those size 10 applique needles you've got pictured there. I use them for everything. They are small, sharp and easy to handle. I bought a package of size 12s for delicate embroidery, but haven't tried them out yet. They are TINY. I'm not sure I'll be able to see the eye to thread it (sigh. Getting old kind of stinks).

I bought a package of size 10 straw needles. The eye is punched right out of the shaft, so there is no bulge at the back end. I was surprised when I got them, though, b/c they are a little bit longer than my favorite size 10s. I haven't tried them yet either. I'll send you a couple if you like. There's one thing about sharing that I love -- I never miss what I've given away.

xo -E

Rebecca Grace said...

You're funny. I like Betweens when I'm hand quilting, and off the top of my head I don't remember which brand/size they are. I have some funky long, thin, flexible needles that I used for adding beads to a crazy quilted Christmas tree skirt (coming soon to the living room nearest me, as a matter of fact -- the kids already dragged out all the boxes!).

But what your needle post reminded me of instantly was my grandmother complaining about a hand needle my mother offered her for some task or other -- she said, "What am I supposed to do with this TOAD STABBER?!!" I laughed so hard I nearly choked. :-)

Back to the "needles are personal, like underwear" idea -- yes, I've been thinking that lately, too, but about machine needles for piecing and quilting. Every book and every teacher swears by something different -- quilting needles, sharps, universals, top stitching needles, etc. I think that the only needle I have NOT heard recommended for quilting is a ballpoint needle!

Happy Thanksgiving, Lane!

Vesuviusmama said...

I like itty bitty betweens, the smaller, the better.

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