Cloaked in mystery, the hand embroidery needle industry has an enigmatic method of sizing needles.
I use Mary Arden needles. They come in the standard packaging for most hand embroidery needles. See the size notation of 1/5 in the upper right corner?
Here’s a rundown of what the 1/5 means. And how to use the different needle sizes with pearl cotton threads:
- Size 1 (the largest needles in the packet). Use them with a size 3 and sometimes a size 5 pearl cotton thread.
- Size 3 (the middle size needles). Use them with size 8 and sometimes a size 5 pearl cotton thread.
- Size 5 (the smallest needles in the packet). Use them with size 12 pearl cotton thread.
And here’s another strange thing. When you compare needles between brands, you find they vary in length and girth even though they are labeled as being the same size. It seems there is no Needle Standardization Authority. Like I said. It’s a mystery!