Types of Beading Needles
There are several types of beading needles, and each one has it's own specific use:
English Beading Needles are the most commonly used beading needle. They are thin and flexible and come in a range of sizes to accommodate even the tiniest of seed beads. You can purchase these needles at just about every local bead shop and online from most bead supply companies.
Big Eye Needles are easy to thread, and even though they are a little thicker than English beading needles, they work for most off-loom beadweaving projects with seed beads. Most local bead shops carry these, as well as many online beading supply companies.
Twisted Beading Needles are perfect for stringing pearls and gemstones on silk cord or for some off-loom beadweaving. Because their eyes are a bit larger and rounder than other types of beading needles, they aren't generally used for weaving with smaller beads.
Milliners Needles are a great alternative to English beading needles, and are available at most sewing supply stores. They come in a range of sizes similar to English beading needles, and are wonderful for off-loom beadweaving and loomed beadwork.
Glover's Needles are a specialty needle designed to be used when stitching seed beads onto leather or suede or other thick fabrics. They are sharper than regular beading needles and have triangle-shaped pointed tips that are meant to easily penetrate leather. If you are using size 11 seed beads, make sure you use a Glover's needle no larger than a size 10.
Choosing the Right Size of Beading Needle
Once you have the beads and thread chosen for your project, choosing the right needle is the next most important step. Make sure that you choose the appropriate size and type of beading needle to minimize broken beads, frayed thread and ruined beadwork.
The best place to start when choosing the right size of beading needle is by looking at the size of seed beads that you will be using. Different sizes of seed beads will only allow a certain number of thread passes before they fill up with thread and break. It is important to make sure that you use an appropriately sized needle and thread for each project.
Threading Your Beading Needle
Threading your beading needle can be tricky, particularly for a beginner. Like any other skill needed for off-loom beadweaving and loomed beadwork, it takes practice. There are a few steps that you can follow to thread your beading needle.
Still stuck? There are also a few tips and tricks that you can try to make threading your needle easier.
Remember to have patience when trying to thread your needle the first few times. Even seasoned beaders have trouble threading their needles from time to time. If you have a favorite hint or tip for threading your beading needles, share it with us!