Choosing the Right Needle
Welcome back! I'm so glad you're here with me today.
Last time, we chatted about choosing threads for your canvases and, today, we're going to talk about tapestry needles. A tapestry needle is the needle of choice for working needlepoint; it's a blunt-tipped hand sewing needle with an elongated eye. The large eye can hold thicker needlepoint yarn or multiple strands of
needlepoint thread and the rounded end allows the needle to slip between the canvas threads without piercing
the horizontal or vertical mesh threads.
Let's take a look at some guidelines for choosing the right size.
A needle really has two purposes - first, to carry the thread and second, to open up the canvas just enough
to allow the thread to slip through without catching or pulling on the canvas mesh. Canvas can be rough and,
if you've ever had your thread shred or fuzz, you were likely using a needle that was too small for your project.
The size needle you use for your project is directly correlated to the mesh size of your canvas. A helpful tip to remember is the higher the number assigned to a needle size, the smaller the needle. (In other words, a
size 24 tapestry needle is smaller than a size 18 tapestry needle.)
That same "rule" applies to canvas mesh, too - the higher the mesh count, the finer the mesh. Generally
speaking, you want to match needle size to canvas mesh size, so finer needles go with finer mesh canvas
and larger needles go with larger mesh.
If your thread continues to fray with the appropriate size needle, try one size larger. For example, if you're working on 14 mesh canvas, try a #18 instead of a #20. Just a wee bit larger, it will open up the hole a little
more and allow your thread to glide through more easily.
What about all those needles that are stuck in your pincushion? If they're bent or discolored, throw
them out. Needles are relatively inexpensive and there's simply no good reason to use damaged tools.
And here's a little trick to help you determine whether or not one of those "pincushion needles" is a good
choice for your project. Insert the tip of the needle into the canvas hole and let go. If the needle falls through,
it's too small. If you have to really tug at it to pull it through, it's too big. The "just-right" needle will stop
when the widest part of the eye hits the canvas and, when you pull it through, will open up the canvas
threads ever so slightly.
Oh, one more thing - always use a new needle when you begin a new project!
As always, I'd love to hear from you! Please tell me what your biggest take-away from this post is in thecomment box below. Have a question? Ask away! I read all of your comments and would be happy to help. : )