A Beginner's Guide to Tapestry Needles

A tapestry needle is a hand-sewing needle that is useful to needleworkers who do a variety of different craft techniques: cross stitch, embroidery, sewing, crochet, knitting, and others.

The following is a good resource for introducing tapestry needles to crochet enthusiasts; the discussion centers on information that is relevant specifically to crochet projects. This information would also be helpful for knitters might want to use tapestry needles to perform the same general sorts of tasks that...MORE crocheters would, using the same sorts of materials and supplies.

  • 01 of 06

    What Is a Tapestry Needle?

    Needle, Wool, and Thimble
    Barbara Eddowes / Getty Images

    A tapestry needle is a blunt needle with a large eye. The large eye is useful to needleworkers because it can accommodate threads or fibers that are thicker than ordinary sewing thread. Most tapestry needles are large enough to accommodate crochet thread or embroidery floss, and many are large enough to accommodate yarn as well. Larger tapestry needles are even able to accommodate bulky yarn.

  • 02 of 06

    Tapestry Needles vs Darning Needles for Use in Crochet Projects

    Package of darning needles
    Photo from Amazon

    Tapestry needles and darning needles are similar; both types of needles have blunt tips and large eyes. In some cases, there's essentially no difference between what one manufacturer might call a "tapestry needle" and another might call a "darning needle." In other cases, there is a difference in that darning needles can be a bit longer than tapestry needles are.

    Due to this, it's difficult to conclusively say that one is better than the other, so just use whichever one...MORE suits your needs best.

  • 03 of 06

    Tapestry Needles vs Yarn Needles for Use in Crochet Projects

    plastic yarn needles in multiple sizes and colors
    Photo from Amazon

    Yarn needles are also similar to tapestry needles. Needles that are packaged as "yarn needles" are sometimes made of plastic; you'd find them merchandised in craft store aisles with crochet hooks and knitting needles, whereas you most frequently find tapestry needles merchandised alongside embroidery hoops and embroidery floss. Tapestry needles are usually made of metal.

    Crocheters who prefer to work with yarn can usually use tapestry needles and yarn needles interchangeably. It comes...MORE down to a matter of preference.

  • 04 of 06

    How to Use a Tapestry Needle

    Blue thread going through needle eye, close-up
    moodboard / Getty Images

    It's really easy to use a tapestry needle. You just thread it with the thread, floss or yarn of your choice, and then proceed from there.

    For threading the needle, it's usually easiest to use a needle threader. A threader is helpful, but it isn't necessary. To thread the needle without a threader, just stick the end of the yarn or thread through the eye of the needle and pull through a length of the thread or yarn.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    What Is a Tapestry Needle Best Used For?

    Red love heart made with needle and thread
    Miss Pearl / Getty Images

    There are several tasks that crocheters and knitters use tapestry needles to accomplish:

    • Weaving in Ends: If you want to see both a tapestry needle and a needle threader in action, this video offers you a great opportunity to do so.
    • Sewing Seams; Joining Squares or Pieces Together: Tapestry needles are good tools to whip stitch seams closed, and to join afghan squares together. Worth noting: there are ways to sew seams and join pieces that don't require a needle at all; you can use a crochet...MORE hook for some joining methods.
    • Cross Stitching or Embroidering on Your Crochet Work: Some crochet stitches, such as afghan stitch and single crochet, are square enough that you can work cross stitch onto them instead of using a more traditional background of aida fabric. This is a useful technique to know about if you'd like to introduce interesting pattern designs and multiple colors into your crochet work, without having to resort to tapestry crochet techniques. Knitters and crocheters can both embroider onto their handmade fabrics using tapestry needles.

    Beyond just crochet and knitting, tapestry needles are also useful for:

    • Embroidery
    • Cross Stitch
    • Needlepoint
  • 06 of 06

    Tapestry Needle Sizes

    tapestry needles in various sizes
    Photo from Amazon

    Tapestry needles come in a variety of sizes; the needles are numbered, and you can use the numbers to get an idea of the needle's relative size. Larger needles = smaller numbers; smaller needles = larger numbers.

    How to Choose a Tapestry Needle for Your Crochet (or Knitting) Project

    For crochet and knitting, use the smallest needle that will easily accommodate the thread or yarn you're working with. You want to avoid using a massive big needle on a dainty thread crochet project....MORE You probably won't physically be able to use a teeny tiny needle on a great big bulky project; if the fiber won't fit comfortably through the eye of the needle, choose a larger needle. Avoid using needles that are too small, because they can damage or shred your fiber, weakening the project or possibly even ruining it.

    With cross stitch, needlepoint and embroidery, your choice of needle sizes will be critical to the success of your project.