Beading Needle Woes

needlepoint mary engelbreit ornament stitched with sublime floss by needlepoint expert janet m. perry

My woes started when I tried to add sequins to the companion to this package.

I have a little needlepoint problem. My current project, a vintage Mary Engelbreit package, will have sequins and Wonder Ribbon on it, two things I haven’t used before.

With my general dislike of beading needles because they are long and sharp, I’ve been waiting for a good project to test the sequins.

Working on this has been an exercise in frustration. Although the holes in the 2mm sequins from The Collection are large and easy to see, my needles were mismarked. Instead of having the large eyes of tapestry needles, they had the tiny eyes of hand-sewing needles.

Let me tell you, this makes a HUGE difference. I can’t see the eye. Worse than that even a thin wire threader would not work with my thread. I was about to give up.

Yesterday I went to my LNS, Needle in a Haystack, and threw myself on their mercy.

They discovered that the needle was wrong and might never have worked except with sewing thread (something I don’t own). But they came up with a some solutions and tips.

  • A #28 tapestry needle may work for attaching embellishments. While about the thickness of a beading needle it has a large eye and blunt tip.
  • Always test fit your embellishment by making sure the needle can go all the way through. Tapestry needles bulge out at the eye, so smaller holes get stuck. With seed beads the holes are different sizes but most should be able to pass through. If the embellishment’s holes are too small, you’ll have to go to a beading needle.
  • Use a thin wire needle threader. Unlike the threaders for cross stitch and needlepoint, the holes in these threaders compress. If you can test it both by itself and with your chosen thread.
  • Many beads have sharp edges, strengthen your thread with beeswax or Thread Heaven.
  • Work in good light with your embellishments in a shallow dish so you can pick them up easily.

I’m jazzed to try my sequins and hope to show you the results next week.

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