What Needle Is Best for Hand Quilting?

I constantly hear from new quilters who want to know what the BEST needle is to use for hand quilting.  My response is usually “whatever one you find easiest to use.

There is no one right or wrong needle.  As a hand quilter, you should try a wide assortment of needles AND try quilting with them through different situations:

  • Quilt with your needle through cotton fabrics (front and back) using the batting you normally use.
  • Then try quilting with a different batting… and another and another.  The best needle will let you know when it’s in your hand.   It will be comfortable.  Your stitches will be as even as you can get them (based on your experience as a quilter).
  • The best needle will sew with the thread you choose and will not be difficult to thread.  The eye of the needle will neither be too large or too small.

If you go on Facebook and visit the Celebrate Hand Quilting group (which I encourage you to join), you can ask hand quilters what their favorite or best needle is; you will get dozens and dozens of different responses.

50fe05ce-8c8f-40f2-b1f9-69d8038543b5_1-9f0ee69afca2f9852f9cd80914720345After years of experimenting, MY OWN FAVORITE is a Bohin needle.   It may not be YOUR favorite needle… but I like it.  It works for me!  Betweens needles, also referred to as quilting needles, are short in length with a small, round eye and a sharp point.

All the needles available to today’s modern quilter are inexpensive.  In fact, the needle is probably the most inexpensive tool you will purchase as a quilter.  So try a needle and jot down some notes for yourself.  Then try a different needle.  Jot down more notes.  If another quilter tells you to try needle X, go ahead and try it, but keep notes.  Pretty soon you will know the needle you like best.  When you find it, buy as many as you can.  Put a smile on your face and stitch, stitch, stitch!

One thought on “What Needle Is Best for Hand Quilting?

  1. It is interesting to keep an open mind. I used dislike Japanese needles because they were always bending or breaking. I likes S. Thomas & Sons which were not easy to find and would stock up when travelling. Then, one day, I was working on a group quilt and just picked up where some one else left off. That needle was a bit longer ans with the extra leverage it provided, I was getting much nicer stitches. It took me over a year to find out whose needle it was and the make. I think maybe it was either Hemming or John James … not needles found here, but the owner gave me some of her extras when she left Japan. There days Clover needles have improved so worth giving another try. I keep a variety and like the little thin ones for doing applique.


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