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!
For a long time, I’ve been a knotty girl. As you can see, I tend to place a knot on the end of my pearl cotton threads before stitching. But no longer! I have mended my unsightly knotty ways.
Now I neatly start and stop my stitching on the back of the fabric. Here are a few tips on being a neat stitcher:
Take a few back stitches concealed in the back of the fabric when beginning a new thread (don’t let the thread appear on the top of the piece). If you use a knot to anchor the thread, be aware that your needle may strike the knot when stitching and stretch previous stitches.
To end a thread, run the needle through a few adjacent stitches on the back of the work and snip the thread.
Snip ending threads close to the fabric. Long threads on the back may tangle with other threads while stitching.
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