Tools of the Trade: John James Needles


Every stitcher has their preferred needle. Almost all pre-packaged kits come with at least one along with everything else. The most common needle sizes are 26 and 24, but there is a wide variety out there, just like everything else. Some are sharp, some blunt, some long, some short, thick, thin…etc. I personally stitch with size 28 blunt end needles. It just feels better in my hand, as 24 and 26 are a bit too bulky. The downside to using 28’s are that the eye is so fragile, it bends and breaks with repeated use.

I’ve found that my tastes have become more refined as I stitch. I inherited several sharp pointed needles. That was a disaster. I was always pricking my finger and using a thimble was not an option. I also found that since I am apt to lose my cross-stitch needles, stepping or sitting on a blunt ended needle far less painful than on a sharp one.

The nickel plating caused my hands to itch, so I switched to gold-plated needles. I felt fancy and high-brow when I used them. Look at me! I’m stitching with gold. But, I wasn’t. They were gold plated. Any heavy use caused the plating to wear off and the needles rusted, stained the fabric, and damaged both the floss and the fabric itself since the integrity of the needle was compromised. Gold plated needles lost their pizzaz, but I do keep a few of them in my stash for those pesky French knots that pop up and harrass me every now and again.

“I am zee French Knot. Would you like zees croissant Madamoiselle?”

(No, French Knot, I don’t want your croissant! See what I mean? Always harrassing me out of nowhere…)

It seemed to be too much of a waste to buy a needle for a plating that wouldn’t last all the way through my project.

I was trying out different needle brands when I saw an advertisement for John James 123-7694Tapestry “Petites”. I decided to give them a try. What makes these needles unique (or “petite” for that matter) are that they are much shorter than a normal tapestry needle. It took a bit of getting used to, but I actually really like the shorter needle. This is great for getting the most out of my thread, because I can stitch longer than I normally would. Shorter lengths of thread are no problem at all.

I use these guys on all types of fabric. The only complaint that I have is that I tend to lose them more frequently than the “normal sized” needles. That’s really a me problem and honestly, if I had a needle minder, it wouldn’t be an issue. If you’re like me, the normal ones feel like a sword in comparison. I don’t think I will go back to “normal” needles again.

Try these needles out sometime! You won’t be disappointed.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s