There are no absolute or hard and fast rules for which kind of embroidery and sewing machines needle will work with different projects, thread densities, or material types. Most people find that experimentation is the best way to handle any problems which may arise. Keeping a number of different needle sizes and styles on hand at all times allows you to use a process-of-elimination approach to solving any problems you may encounter.
Sizes of Needles
There are a few things to keep in mind regarding needle size. First, when changing needle size it is important to remember that both the size of the needle and the size of the needle’s eye will play a role in the tension level you are able to achieve with thread. The size of the needle also changes the way the machine’s needle scarf interacts with the hook point.
Styles of Needle Points
Even though you may encounter intermittent problems with needle selection, in general, there are certain needles that will work best with specific kinds of materials. The following list may help you select the right needle for an embroidery project.
- Sharp – canvas, cotton sheeting, denim, lace, leather, and vinyl.
- Ballpoint – corduroy, lycra, spandex, nylon, organza, rayon, satin, knit, taffeta, silk, terry cloth, and velvet,
- Universal – a universal needle point may be useful in working with any of the aforementioned materials. It really just depends on the kind of embroidery project you’re working on.
You will likely find through your experimentation that ballpoint and metallic needles are the handiest to have around. Ballpoint needles are useful in working with loose weave materials. Sharp needles may slice through the weave but ballpoint needles allow you to penetrate the fabric without damaging the weave.
Metallic needles, particularly those with a titanium-nitride ceramic finish, are able to hold their shape better and for longer periods of time. Working with dense material can cause other needles to become misshapen, leading to issues with your embroidery work. Metallic needles will prevent these kinds of problems in using your embroidery and sewing machines.
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