How many times have you asked yourself the question, which needle do I need to use for cross stitch? A needle is a very important part for creating a beautiful cross stitch project. And using the right needle can make all the difference.
I know sometimes I still sometimes get confused on which needle I need to use. If I buy a cross stitch kit that comes with all the supplies, most of the time I’ll just use the needle that came in the kit.
But, sometimes you want to buy your own supplies. So, you’ve got the fabric, embroidery floss and the perfect pattern picked out. Now you just need to pick out your needle.
Most of the time cross stitchers use tapestry needles for their cross stitch. Tapestry needles are great because they have larger eyes for multiple strands of floss. And they have a blunt end so you don’t pierce the fabric threads.
You don’t have to use a tapestry needle, you can use a different type of needle. But, first let’s talk a little about cross stitch.
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What’s cross stitch?
Cross stitch is a type of embroidery. To me it’s one of the easier types of hand embroidery. Because cross stitch is mainly just one simple stitch, the x-shaped or “cross” stitch.
Cross stitch can be done on different types of fabric. The most commonly used fabric is Aida cloth. Aida fabric is a open weave fabric that has small holes through out the fabric. So, you don’t have to have a really sharp needle, because of the open weave.
That also true if you use linen or evenweave fabric for your cross stitch project. Because you just want to part the threads of your fabric, not pierce them with a sharp point. And the rounded tip of a tapestry needle is great for that.
Linen fabric is a great fabric for cross stitch, it has a nice drape. And it’s great for the more traditional or vintage cross stitch patterns.
With Aida or linen or evenweave fabric there are different counts. Count of the fabric means the stitches per inch. The higher the number the more stitches per inch and the lower the number the less stitches per inch.
So, a 16 count Aida fabric means 16 stitches per inch. But, for a linen fabric count for 16 stitches per inch you get a 32 count linen. Because of the way the linen fabric is made and the way you stitch it.
I love that you can pick different fabrics for your cross stitching. So, you can use the prefect type of fabric for your embroidery project.
I said above that cross stitch uses mostly just one stitch. That’s true, but sometimes you’ll use a stitch called a french knot. French knots are a decorative stitch where you wind the thread around the needle once or twice and pushing the needle back through the fabric.
And for the stitches you use embroidery thread. You will usually use two or three strands of thread, but the pattern will tell you for sure.
How do you pick out needle sizes?
Yes, there are different sizes of needles. In fact there are quite a few different sizes of needles.
The general rule of thumb for picking a needle size for your cross stitch project is this. The smaller the count of the fabric means the bigger holes in the fabric. So, that means you will use a bigger needle.
Here is most common needle sizes to fabric counts
- 11 count Aida, 22 count linen = size 22 needle
- 14 count Aida, 28 count linen = size 24 needle
- 16 count Aida, 32 count linen = size 26 needle
- 18 count Aida, 36 count linen = size 28 needle
You don’t have to use the suggested size of the needle, you can use a different size of needle. There are a variety of sizes to choose from.
The smaller needle has a smaller eye. So, if you use thicker threads or yarn for a fabric that has large holes, you may need to use a large needle.
Needles for cross stitch
Tapestry Needles: I know that I’ve mentioned it before, but a regular tapestry needle is the best needle to me, that you could use for a cross stitch project. A tapestry needle is my go to needle for cross stitch projects. And since they have a large eye, that’s great for multiple strands of floss. And sometimes a tapestry needle is called a yarn needle. Because the eye of the needle is larger you can use it for weaving in the yarn ends for your knitting project.
Twin Pointed Needles: These are great for faster stitching. Because, they have tapestry points on both ends, so you can go down and then back up with out having to flip your needle over. And they have a long eye in the middle of the needle. A lot of the time they’re called twin point quick stitch needles. The only bad thing that I’ve heard is that because the eye is in the middle of the needle that makes it a little more fragile. And that can make the needle break a little easier.
Gold-Plated Needles: Gold plated tapestry needles are great for cross stitching. The gold plating helps the needle go through the fabric easily and smoothly. They’re also great because of the gold plating they don’t rust and that means that they won’t strain your fabric. You can get needles that just the eye is gold plated or you can get needles that the whole needle is gold plated. And I’ve heard that gold plated needles are also hypoallergenic and great if you have a nickel allergy.
Ball Tip Needles: Ball tip needles like the name suggests have a small ball on the tip of the needle where the sharp tip usually is. The little ball helps you to find and go through the right spot of the fabric easily. And they’re great because they push the fabric threads to the side. The ball tip is also great for not splitting the stitches. They’re also called easy guide needles.
Chenille Needles: Yes, these needles do have sharp points. They’re a combination of crewel needles or hand embroidery needles and tapestry needles. Because they have a sharp tip like a embroidery needle and a larger eye size like a a tapestry needle. I prefer not to use a sharp needle for cross stitch, because they can split stitches or pierce the threads of the fabric. But, sharper needles are great for back stitching and also for fractional stitches. And because of the larger eye they’re great for metallic threads.
Which needle do I use?
I showed you five different types of needles you could use. And now you’re probably wondering which one do I need to choose for cross stitching? That is totally up to you, I wouldn’t use a chenille needle for my regular cross stitching. I would use that for more back stitching.
But, it depends on what you want to use and what is a good choice for you. If you want a quick stitch needle like the twin pointed needle. Or, if you want a fancy gold plated needle. I like to use needles with a blunt point for my cross stitching.
There are also different brands of needles you can use, John James, DMC Needles, Clover Needles and Bohin Needles. And that’s just a few of the needle brands you can get.
Most of the time I buy my needles at Hobby Lobby, so I haven’t used that many different brands.
I hope that this post helped you find the perfect cross stitch needles for your new project.
Be sure to check out my other posts
- Cross Stitch vs Needlepoint: What’s The Difference
- Embroidery vs Needlepoint: What’s The Difference
- DIY Needle Tatting (Easy Step-by-Step Tutorial)
- Tutorial on Making a Split Ring in Needle Tatting
- Shuttle Tatting for Beginners: Step by Step Tutorial