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How Do I Choose the Best Weaving Needles?

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  • Written By: J. Barnes
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Choosing the best weaving needles is easy if you keep in mind that, in the weaving world, there is no such thing as β€œone size fits all.” The best weaving needles are the ones that have been designed specifically for a particular weaving project, and your choice should be based on size, structure and material. The best needle choice for a tapestry weaving might be the wrong choice for a bead weaving, for a basketry project or for a child or a senior citizen who is working on a potholder loom.

All weaving needles have three parts: the shaft, the eye and the point. The shaft is the main body of the needle, and its length and thickness are what manufacturers use to indicate its size. For sewers and knitters, smaller size numbers indicate longer and thicker needles, but weaving needles generally are classified only according to length and shape. The eye of the needle β€” the hole at the top of the shaft through which the yarn, bead or raffia is placed β€” typically is flat, oval and designed to accommodate either a thin or a thick fiber. The point of the needle is either dull or sharp, and the best choice again depends on its use for a particular kind of project.

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Weaving needles usually are sold as tapestry needles and are made from either metal or plastic. Tapestry needles have large eyes to accommodate medium to thick yarns and a blunt, slightly bent point that prevents it from tearing the weaving. A weaving needle that is 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length will work for most weaving projects performed on a traditional tapestry or a simple frame loom. A plastic needle that is 6 inches (15.2 cm) in length would work well for a large weaving project such as a pillow, a place mat or a scarf. When working with extremely thick and heavy gauge yarns, you might consider using a trapunto quilting needle, because they are easy to thread.

The best weaving needles for beadwork and baskets are different from those that you might choose for fabric weaving. A bead-weaving needle has a sharper point, a smaller eye and a longer shaft that allows it to fit through the hole of a small bead and hold several tiny spheres during the production process. The best weaving needle for a basket would be any large-eye craft needle that will accommodate a strand of raffia.

Quality weaving needles, either in assortments or bulk, can be found in the accessories departments of most fabric, yarn and craft supply stores as well as online from art and weaving companies that sell looms and bead-weaving or basket-making supplies. A metal weaving needle will last longer than a plastic weaving needle, but plastic needles are the most economical and the safest choice when working with children or elderly adults in a recreational environment. The options are limited and clearly designated, making the best weaving needle choice often the easiest choice.

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Heavanet
Post 3

@spotiche5-- I have been weaving as a hobby for many years, and I also prefer to use plastic needles. However, they are not best for every type of weaving project.

If you want to make a delicate baby blanket out of fine yarn, a plastic weaving needle may not be your best option for this type of project. From my own experience, I have found that metal needles are easier to handle when using thin yarn, because you have more control over them.

Ocelot60
Post 2

@spotiche5- I think that you should have an east time making a baby blanket with a plastic weaving needle, provided you get the right one for the type of yarn that you will be using.

Plastic needles are typically more bulky than metal needles, but come in a variety of sizes. If you are planning to make your baby blanket out of yarn that is thin or fine, you won't want to use a large plastic needle. When using fine yarn, a large needle would be difficult to work with because it could damage the material.

Spotiche5
Post 1

I'm going to try to make a baby blanket as a gift for a friend who is having a baby. I like the idea of using a plastic weaving needle instead of one that is made of metal. Will a plastic needle work well with yarn that is fine and soft?

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