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Cross stitch Needle (Size) Guide. Part 2

Needle guide. Needle size guide

Source: http://yarntree.com/cross-stitch/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=200

Bohin France Needles
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Where to buy Needles:

Source: https://www.thehappycross-stitcher.com/page.php?xPage=needles.html

Types of Needle

There are many different kinds of needle available for all manner of sewing, here are some of the most popular.

Tapestry Needles
The large eyes of the needle allow the wool or stranded cotton to thread easily and the blunt end allows the needle to pass through the aida or canvas without damaging the fabric weave. Tapestry needles come in many sizes, the smaller the size, the larger the needle.

Cross Stitch Needles
exactly the same as tapestry needles.

Embroidery Needles
these needles have a long eye to enable easy threading of stranded cotton and sharp point which allows clean piercing of the fabric.

these needles are sharp pointed general purpose sewing needles.

Beading Needles
these are very fine needles which allow easy passage through the smallest of beads.

Quilting Needles
these needles, some times called Between Needles, are shorter in length than ordinary needles with a very sharp point and are perfect for fine sewing.

Darning Needles
these needles are long and sharp and have long eyes to accommodate wool or yarn and are used for mending.

Chenille Needles
these needles are very similar to tapestry needles but they have a sharp point to allow them to pierce very course fabric easily.

Plastic Needles
chunky, easy to handle needles, perfect for little hands.

Which size needle to use with aida fabric?

6 count – size 18
8 count – size 20
11 count – size 22
14 count – size 24
16 count – size 26
18 count – size 28

Which size needle to use with evenweave and linen fabric?

22 count – size 22
25 count – size 22
27 count – size 22
28 count – size 24
32 count – size 26
36 count - size 28

Hints and Tips

  • Avoid leaving your needle in your work when you put it away, it may leave a mark
  • Try gold plated needles if you have an allergy to nickel
  • Throw away any damaged needles, they may spoil your threads and fabric
  • Try using a sharp needle for backstitch and outlines for a clean finish
  • Adjust your needle size to match your project
  • Use several needles to avoid having to re thread with each colour


Embroidery needles come in many different types and picking the ideal one can make your needlework more enjoyable.

But how do you know which one you should be using?

The basic rule is to pick the finest needle that will accommodate the thread and fabric that you wish to use. One that is too large will create holes in the fabric that the thread does not fill in, one that is too fine will mean that the thread gets rubbed unnecessarily every time the needle goes through the fabric, meaning that it will fray quickly.

Needle Characteristics

The Size

Needles are usually sized with the larger numbers being reserved for the thinner needles, a fact which confuses many people.

As an example a size 24 tapestry needle (ideal for working on 14 count Aida cloth) is thicker than a size 26, which is used for 28 or 32 count evenweave fabrics. The thicker size 18  would be best suited for canvas work.

The Point

If you are working on a closely woven fabric, then you need to use a pointed needle. For evenweave fabrics, such as Aida cloth, linen or canvas, you would use a blunt or tapestry needle to prevent you splitting the fabric threads. There are even ball-pointed needles for use on knitted fabrics like jersey or sweatshirt material.

The width

The width or diameter of the shaft can be consistent throughout the length of the needle or it can taper or widen at various points.

The length

Different needlework techniques need a different length. If you are going to be wrapping the thread around the needle than a long one is essential. But for speed, such as when quilting, a short one might be more appropriate.

The eye

In addition to the size and the type of point, the other difference between them is the shape of the eye. These can be round, long, elongated or even self threading. A round eyed needle is stronger.


Here are five points that are helpful to know about hand embroidery needles:

Needles for counted work

1. Types: Different embroidery needles do different jobs. There are several commonly used embroidery needles. Embroidery (or “crewel”) needles have sharp points and slightly elongated eyes. They’re used for crewel work and most surface embroidery where piercing through the fabric threads is necessary to the stitching. Tapestry needles (pictured above) have long eyes and blunt points. They’re used for counted work, drawn thread work, canvas work, or other types of needlework in which the point of the needle is not meant to pierce the fabric threads. Chenille needles have a long eye like the eye on tapestry needles, but a sharp point, and can be used effectively in crewel work and other wool embroidery, or any surface work where a longer eye and a sharp point is desired. Straw or milliner needles have an eye and shaft that are equal in thickness, which makes them ideal for French knots and bullion knots, or any stitch where the needle must pass through multiple wraps of thread.

Hand Embroidery Needles

2. Size: The higher the number, the smaller the needle. This is true within types of needles. Embroidery needles are commonly numbered 1 – 12, and size 12 is significantly smaller than size 1! Tapestry needles and chenille needles are numbered commonly from 18 – 28, with 28 being the smallest.

Threaded Embroidery Needle

3. Relativity:: The choice of needle size is relative to the type and size of thread. For example, crewel yarn will require a much larger needle than fine silk will, because crewel yarn is a lot thicker than silk. The needle should be the right size to allow the thread to pass through the fabric with minimal abrasion, but not so large that the needle leaves a noticeable hole around the thread.

Japanese hand-made needle

4. The Eye: On machine-made needles, the eye is larger on one side than it is on the other, because of the manner in which the hole is punched or bored by the machine that makes it. If you have trouble threading your needle from one side of the eye, turn the needle around. It might help! There is also a “ridge” on the inside of the eye of machine-made needles. On hand-made needles (like the one in the image above), the eye is perfectly smooth and round, making these needles ideal for metal threads (and other similar threads), as the thread will not wear as readily as it will in a machine-made needle.

Needles in Emery

5. Threading: Did you know you aren’t supposed to lick your thread when you thread your needle? The primary reason for this is that the wet thread can cause the inside of the eye to rust, which can quickly fray your embroidery threads while stitching. To polish up your needles (including the eye), run them through a strawberry (or other shape) filled with fine emery sand. This will help remove rust that may have formed in the eye of the needle.