The Needle Lowdown 🪡

Have you ever walked into the craft store and gaped at the needle section going, “What in the world…??” 🤔

Yeah, me too! 🙋🏻‍♀️

After the early days of only selecting any random pack of needles that said “embroidery,” I finally started to understand needle sizing and needle names.

So here is the long-winded explanation for which needle to use and why:

  • For a basic embroidery project, you’ll want a Crewel needle (also called Embroidery Needle). 
  • Crewel/Embroidery needles range in size from 1-12. Size 1 will have the largest needle eye, while size 12 will have your smallest needle eye.
  • DMC recommends a size 10 needle for 1 strand of floss, a size 10 needle for 2 strands of floss, a size 8 needle for three strands of floss, and a size 3 needle for 6 stands of floss
  • While the Crewel needle is your basic embroidery needle, another needle that is helpful to keep in your arsenal is a size 22 Chenille needle. A Chenille needle is very sharp and has an even larger eye size than a Crewel needle. This is sometimes a better option for a project using 5/6 strands of embroidery floss.
  • When working on a project, if you realize you are starting to have a hard time with your needle pulling through your fabric, try switching to a smaller needle size (remember, smaller the number…larger the needle eye) or try a Chenille needle.
  • If you see the holes in your fabric where your floss is going through try a bigger needle size (aka you need to usec a smaller needle eye).

👇🏼The short answer: What do I use?👇🏼

A size 5 Embroidery/Crewel needle 90% of the time when using 2-4 strands of floss. I almost always use this same needle for 5/6 strands of floss BUT if I notice I am having a hard time, I will switch to a Chenille size 22 needle for 5/6 strands.
Visual person? Here are what those needles look like:
I hope this helps you in your embroidery journey! Have any questions? Leave them in the comments below!


Katrina Fisher
Katrina Fisher

Thank you for this explanation. Seeing the needles/packages really helps, too. Are the crewel needles sharp enough to go through most fabrics?

Tracy Born
Tracy Born

Thanks! This was helpful:)

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