Quilting can be a very rewarding craft, if you’ve got the right tools for the job. Whether you’re quilting by hand or using a machine, one of the most important items you’ll need is a needle.
So what’s the best needle for quilting? The answer depends on the unique needs of the project you’re working on. Nonetheless, if you’re getting started and need a recommendation, our top pick is the UA Crafts Large-Eye Hand Sewing Needles.
Before we go over some other great products you can consider, let’s learn a little more about quilting and the type of needles you’ll need for this craft.
What is Quilting?
Quilting is a form of decorative textile art that involves sewing multiple layers of fabric together to create a thicker, warmer, blanket-like material known as a quilt.
A quilt usually consists of three layers of fabric:
- the woven cloth quilt top,
- a middle layer of batting,
- and a woven back
Quilting is simply the process of joining these layers together with a thread and needle. Quilting can be done by hand or with a sewing machine. Quilts are commonly used as bed coverings but they can also be used as art wall hangings, table cloths, and clothing.
Hand quilting is the process of binding layers of fabric together by hand, using a needle and thread.
Hand quilting is much slower than machine quilting, but a lot more satisfying. Hand quilting can be used to create beautiful home-made designs.
Machine quilting, as the name implies, involves using a sewing machine or a longarm machine to sew the layers of fabric together.
When quilting on a home sewing machine, the layers have to be fastened together by hand before quilting. This is usually done by tacking, pinning, or tying.
Longarm quilting machines feature a special frame where the layers to be quilted on are placed. This frame helps to keep the layers together, thus eliminating the need for tacking or pinning.
These machines also feature a sewing-machine mounted on a platform, which can be moved across the fabric.
Types of Needles for Quilting
What you’ll find below is a guide to the different types of needles commonly used for quilting. It’s important that we cover the different types before moving onto our list of our top picks so that you know exactly what YOU are looking for.
Hand Quilting Needles (Betweens)
Hand quilting needles, which are generally referred to as betweens, are usually shorter but stronger than regular sewing needles. They are specifically designed for hand quilting purposes.
For example, their small eye and short stature make them ideal for traveling through multiple layers of fabric.
Betweens often come in about four sizes: 9 (largest), 10, 11. and 12 (smallest).
They are slightly thicker than regular needles and can travel through layers of fabric without bending or breaking. They are also designed to reduce puckering and create fewer bumps.
If you’re a beginner, starting with a size 9 needle is recommended. Working with a tiny size 12 needle can be quite a challenge if you are not accustomed to it. You may end up with irregular stitches and a lot of frustration.
The best option is to purchase a pack containing multiple hand quilting needle sizes and work up way up from the tiny needles to the larger ones as you master the craft.
Machine Quilting Needles
Machine quilting needles, just like their hand counterparts, are specifically designed for quilting. Machine quilting requires needles that are sharp enough to pierce through the layers of a quilt sandwich easily in order to properly sew them together.
Some quilting needles are designed for use with certain types of fabrics.
Schmetz needles are widely used for machine quilting. They are available in different sizes and compatible with most types of threads.
Can Any Needle Be Used for Quilting?
Not if you want to quilt properly and enjoy the quilting experience. As we have seen, quilting needles are specifically designed for quilting with unique features that make them ideal for quilting.
Using the wrong needle for quilting will result in a poorly finished quilt and a bad experience.
Should I Quilt With a Sewing Machine or by Hand?
The method you choose for your quilting projects is entirely up to you. There’s no better or worse option here.
Machine quilting is generally much easier and faster than hand quilting. A sewing machine will likely produce a stronger, more durable piece of fabric.
However, quilting by hand offers room for infusing more creativity, uniqueness, and personality into your work. It’s also much more satisfying and enjoyable than quilting with the aid of a machine.
In the end, it boils down to your needs and personal preference. If you value time and convenience above the satisfaction that comes from working on a craft, then machine quilting will suit you better.
The 6 Best Quilting Needles You Can Buy
Even when you know what to look for when shopping for quilting needles, the sheer amount of options available can be overwhelming.
To make things easier for you, we’ve researched the different products on the market and here are out top 6 picks.
|1.||UA Crafts Large-Eye Hand Sewing Needles||15 large-eye, Japanese steel needles|
|2.||Tulip Long Sashiko Needles||6 sashiko stitching needles|
|3.||Schmetz Quilting Sewing Machine Needles||25 tapered machine needles|
|4.||Outus Large-Eye Stitching Needles||20 large-eye, sharp, steel needles|
|5.||Dritz 3047 Quilter's Basting Hand Needles||6 count of size 7 basting needles|
|6.||Colonial Needle JJ60400 Curved Quilting Hand Needles||4 curved quilting needles, 1mm thick|
1. UA Crafts Large-Eye Hand Sewing Needles
The UA Crafts large-eye hand sewing needles are a superb choice for almost any kind of quilting.
They come in a set of 15 needles: 5 large ones (58.4 mm long), and 10 smaller ones (52.1 mm long).
These Japanese steel needles are very well made and can be used for other crafts as well.
The UA Crafts needles feature large eyes for easy threading. They’re quite sharp and should pierce and glide through layers of fabric without any issues.
However, they might not be tough enough for use with leather. (Here’s how to cross stitch leather.)
They come in two clear vial containers for easy storage.
Overall, the UA Crafts large-eye needles are a great option to consider if you’re looking for durable, versatile hand quilting needles.
2. Tulip Long Sashiko Needles
If you have a tailoring background, you’ve probably heard of Tulip Long or used some of their products. Their assorted sashiko set of needles is one of the best products for professional quilting.
These needles can be used for any kind of quilting. However, they’re specially designed for sashiko stitching.
The set contains six needles in total. The three sizes (length) included are 44.5 mm, 50.8 mm, and 69.9 mm.
The needles are quite thick and strong, making them ideal for quilting.
They don’t have large eyes, though, and you’ll likely need to use a threader for thick threads.
They come in a carton packet but a clear vial container is also included in the box.
3. Schmetz Quilting Sewing Machine Needles
If you’re looking for machine quilting needles, the Schmetz quilting sewing machine needles pack is your go-to product.
This product features 5 packs of needles, each containing 5 needles. Thus, you get a total of 25 needles with this pack.
These needles are designed for machine quilting.
Their thin tapered design allows them to smoothly glide through multiple layers of fabric. The shank part of the needles has a flat side and a rounded side.
They’ll fit most household sewing machine models.
This Schmetz machine quilting needle pack is very reasonably priced and is an excellent choice for machine quilters.
4. Outus Large-Eye Stitching Needles
If you need to work with leather, the Outus large-eye stitching needles are the best betweens to get.
These needles are thick and strong enough to tackle tough leather fabrics with ease.
The Outus large-eye needle pack contains a total of 20 needles of the same size. The needles are 1.25 mm thick and 5.2 cm long. A clear vial is included for storage.
These needles have a sharp tip and polished surface.
The needles are sturdy and durable and very easy to thread. They’re great for gliding through the fabric but might be a tad too sharp if not used carefully.
5. Dritz 3047 Quilter’s Basting Hand Needles
The Dritz 3047 quilter’s needles are specifically designed for basting and are excellent tools for the job.
The needles are from the reputable Dritz company and are very durable.
The needles come in a set of 6 pieces, which are 57.75 mm long (size 7).
They are quite sharp and will glide through quilt fabrics with ease even when basting.
The needles have large eyes for easy threading. They are easy to hold and perfect for basting.
6. Colonial Needle JJ60400 Curved Quilting Hand Needles
If you’re just getting started with quilting or shopping for needles on a budget, the Colonial Needle JJ60400 curved needles are an ideal option to consider.
This pack of 4 curved quilting needles is ideal for working with different types of fabric.
The needles are 1mm thick and come in 2 sizes: 50.8 mm and 63.5 mm.
They are made of steel and are quite sturdy.
While they’re not strong enough to work with heavy leather, they are sharp enough to go through normal leather.
They can be used to add extra designs to quilting projects.
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