Tomorrow is National Thread the Needle Day! It’s a day to celebrate the trusty sewing needle by appreciating its history and indispensable place in our crafty endeavors.
The oldest needle discovered is one made of bird bone, estimated to be more than 50,000 years old! The first needle with an eyelet is about 25,000 years old.
Crafters today are familiar with the smooth, extremely thin metal needles that are available almost everywhere you look. Isn’t it amazing that humans continue to embrace and utilize the same tool over hundreds of generations?
Now that we’ve taken a look at the past, let’s get into some of our current favorites!
Hand Sewing Needles
When it comes to adding binding or quilting by hand, it’s best to pick the right needle for the job. Are you adding binding to a quilt? A super-thin Between or Straw needle might do the job. Kimberly prefers to use Clover Black Gold Size 9 Quilting Between Needles for hand binding her quilts. A pro tip is to thread several needles at a time with a length of thread as long as your outstretched arm. Try threading them outside in the daylight, where you can easily see the tiny eyes of these needles. Or use a needle threader, which comes in many forms.
When hand-quilting a quilt, choose a needle with a large eye that will accommodate medium-weight thread. With sewing needles, the higher the number, the shorter and finer it is. You may want to choose a size 7 or 8, as the shaft will be longer and easier to work through several layers of your quilt.
Sewing Machine Needles
Most quilters agree that it’s important to replace sewing machine needles regularly. Keeping a sharp needle cuts down on skipped threads, fabric snags and makes everything so much more enjoyable. Some change the needle with each new quilt, every 2 to 3 bobbins, or a set time frame. Find what works best for you and your machine!
There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to needle types, but our trusty standby is the Schmetz Universal Machine Needles in sizes 80/12 and 90/14. An 80/12 is standard size that works well on piecing and general sewing. When a sturdier needle is needed for machine binding or sewing through several layers, the 90/14 is a good option.
Cross Stitch and Tapestry Needles
Tapestry needles are perfect for cross stitch because they have a blunt tip that glides smoothly through cross stitch fabric, parting the threads at each intersection. An important detail to remember is that the larger the holes in the material, the larger the needle size you’ll need. If the needle is too large for the fabric, it will distort the grid and make a hole that the floss can’t cover.
Needle sizes range from approximately 18 to 28, and the higher the number, the finer the needle. The eye of the needle will also shrink as you go up in number size. Needle sizes can vary from one manufacturer to another, but as a general point of reference, Pat Carson’s Favorite Tapestry Needle in Size 26 works well for Aida 14 count. This is Kimberly’s go-to for stitching.
Notice the difference in needle eye sizes and length compared to each needle’s number!
Needles allow us to do what we love most at Fat Quarter Shop – sewing and stitching! A good needle makes everything easier.
Gift Certificate Giveaway!
Now it’s your turn to weigh in! Leave a comment on this blog post to share your favorite needle or tip for threading a needle and be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop! The contest will end July 27, 2021, and we’ll announce the winner here on the blog!
UPDATE: Congratulations, Betsy Kohl! You were selected as our winner!
Happy Quilting and Stitching!