Choosing the right needle for machine embroidery

Choosing the right needle for a machine embroidery project doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect. Many an embroidery enthusiast may have avoided becoming a hysterical mess while attempting to purchase needles if they had just done a little research beforehand. There are a few little tricks that can help you choose a needle whether it’s your first project, or if it’s a style of design or type of material you have never used before.

Needle Size

Sometimes too much emphasis can be put on needle size when it comes to machine embroidery. The most important things to take into account when choosing the size of your needle are what the material you are working on will be, and how intricate and dense the designs will need to be. In some ways choosing a needle size can be likened to choosing the right paint brush in the way that the smaller the needle, the easier it is to produce more intricate and delicate designs. You wouldn’t cut in your skirting board with a paint roller and you wouldn’t use a large needle to embroider closely packed designs or small letters at the risk of them overlapping. This makes smaller needles excellent for wedding embroidery designs or word embroidery and larger needles good for applique embroidery.

A larger needle (110, 120) is more effective when working with heavier material, as a smaller needle (60, 70) can become warped or broken when a thicker or more durable material is being worked with. This will be used in conjunction with a sharp point, but more on that further into the blog. If you find yourself consistently working with the same kinds of material and rarely deviating it would be a good rule of thumb to go with one or two sized you find the most versatile.

Composition

Whether purchasing an embroidery needle, a new frying pan or even a computer there is one question that is universally relevant to making the right buy, durability vs expense. When talking about needle composition the two available are chrome plated and titanium. The titanium needles are the more durable of the two, and they are a must buy for any project involving very heavy duty materials like leather. Chrome plated needles can be used for most light to mid density material. When not working with heavy duty materials, titanium lasts longer than chrome before needing to be replaced but is often considerably more expensive. Some brands of titanium needles claim to last 5 times longer than chrome plated but these are quite often over 5 times the price, so it comes down to whether you as the buyer are willing to pay a little more for convenience.

Point

The most common point used in machine embroidery is a universal point which is slightly rounded but still sharp. This as the name would suggest is the most universal and versatile of the 3 available. There is also a ballpoint needle that is used for knits. This type of needle does not cut through the fabric but slips through the weave to ensure a clean job without fraying or fuzziness. Finally there is a sharp point previously mentioned that can be used with a large titanium needle to work with the most durable materials and to cut through thin or delicate stabiliser without tearing.

The choice

In the end which needles you use directly correlates to what kind of designs, material and thread you use most. It is always a good idea to have a universal mid-size needle that can handle most jobs you throw at it, and then go from there. But one of the most important points to remember before buying an embroidery needle is of course… It has to actually fit. Some needles will only fit certain machines and you will need to check the specifications of the machine you will be using. If you have any questions that haven’t been answered here feel free to jump on the sweet pea facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/1376828489304731/ where a whole community of embroidery enthusiasts will be happy to share a wealth of knowledge with you.

These are the needles we use.

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