• Sarah Tremaine

Who Needs a Needle Case, Anyway?

I started making the Felted Needle Cases a million years ago, well, actually it was Fall (2019) to be exact, but you get the drift. It all started when I was at my FAVORITE stitch group (Fiber Stitch Art Collective) monthly meeting... we have a kind of show & tell time and someone showed off a beautiful needle case she had made - I made a mental note on that puppy.

Back in the studio, I started to fiddle around, pulling out materials to make a needle case, which of course required a needle, which I could not find (underscoring my problem with needles!). But I finally found the right one for my purpose and soon the case was made. I was so pleased with the results and I started to hunt for my needles. Where were they all?!? I swear I found 30 buried deep inside one of my pin cushions, others in a small sewing bag, more in a basket!


Since I generally could not find a needle when I needed one (because they were hiding in the pin cushion) I was always buying needles and there are so many to choose from. What are they all for? Back in the day, I was clueless. I did not really understand what different functions the different kinds of needles served. But that is not the case anymore. Hand sewing needles come in sizes, just like sewing machine needles and indicates the diameter of the needle. HOWEVER, with hand sewing needles, the larger the number means the SMALLER the needle (the opposite of machine needles! A size 5 needle is larger than an 8). I'm not sure why they did this to us. Completely counter-intuitive! Here is a quick summary of the kinds of needles & their uses:

Sharps - they are sharp, have a small eye are relatively medium length. It is a good general sewing needle. Sizes 1-12.

Quilting/Betweens - these are also sharp, but shorter than Sharps & are good for tight fabrics like cotton (quilting). I like them, because I can make small stitches with them & I feel like I can control the needle. BUT the eye is so tiny they are really hard to thread. Now I keep a stash of needle threaders right in the needle case. (Sizes 1-12).

Embroidery - these have a sharp point and a long oval eye (easier to thread!) making them good for heavier thread or multiple strands of embroidery thread. I like these because I can thread the darn things. (Sizes 1-12)

Beading - these are really strange - they are long and with some, the whole needle is split nearly the whole length. They are very fine & pointy. These are perfect for beading (obviously), but also for getting thread through buttons with little holes (yes, I used them on the Felted Needle Cases). These are easy to thread... once you get the needle to split open. I think I got mine at a beading store & it is a wonder.

The right tool for the job makes such a difference.

I hope this was useful or amusing... either way is fine.




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