When you consider the extensive selection of hoops, frames, needles, thread cutters—well, you get the idea—that are available, getting started in hand embroidery can seem like a daunting task. But don't fall for it! The actual hand embroidery tools are surprisingly few and far between. For starting, we recommend these tools.
1. Needles Any needle is capable of drawing a piece of thread through fabric, but some types are better at certain tasks. In addition to making embroidery less frustrating for novices, using the appropriate needle will significantly increase the likelihood of producing superior results. We recommend starting with these three to cover all bases. Many of them come in assortment packages, so you can choose from a variety of sizes and experiment to find your favorite.
Crewel Needle The crewel needle has a medium-long eye that is slightly larger than the shaft of the needle and has a sharp tip. The most fundamental one is used for hand embroidery. Sizes 1 through 12 are available for crewel needles, with size 1 being the largest and size 12 being the smallest.
Tapestry Needle The tapestry needle has a longer eye and a blunt tip, but its shaft is shorter than that of a crewel needle. Because the blunt tip does not penetrate the ground fabric, it is frequently utilized in counted cross stitch and needlepoint, allowing the needle to easily pass through the weave's open holes. Because of its blunt tip, it is also ideal for surface embroidery with whipping or lacing because it prevents the needle from snagging any other stitches.
Sizes 13 through 28 are available for tapestry needles, with size 13 being the largest and size 28 being extremely fine. Standard and petite lengths of tapestry needles are also available; as you can imagine, petites are much shorter, allowing the stitcher to get the most use out of their embroidery thread.
Milliner Needle The milliner needle, also known as the straw needle, has a very long shaft, a short, almost round eye, and a sharp tip. Because the eye and shaft are the same size, it is ideal for working cast-on stitches, bullion knots, and other wrapped stitches.
2. Hoops and Frames An embroidery hoop keeps the fabric taut so your stitching and embroidery don't pucker the fabric. While it isn't necessary for all types of stitching, beginners who are still learning the ropes generally benefit most from using it.
When you're just starting out, plastic or cheap wooden hoops are great, but as you get more experience, you might want to move up to better-quality wooden hoops. Better-quality ones, in contrast to lower-priced versions, will have robust brass hardware that can be tightened with a screw driver, the two rings will perfectly fit together, and the wood will feel very sturdy when held in the hand.
An aside: The craft store may also carry a selection of embroidery frames, such as stretcher bar, slate, and scroll frames. All of them also keep the fabric taut, but a hoop is typically less expensive and more portable, making it ideal for beginners.
3. Scissors for Embroidery Embroidery scissors are distinct from standard craft scissors. They have extremely sharp, smaller, and typically thinner blades that typically reach a very sharp point. The majority have blades that are anywhere from one to two and a half inches long and range in length from 3.5 to 4 inches. Why you should use them: To cut those threads cleanly, they can get very close to the fabric.
4. Light and Magnification The following is a fact: When it comes to transferring embroidery designs, good lighting is crucial. Craft and sewing stores have a lot of options, but you can make it work for free as long as you have a sunny window.
On the other hand, you can enjoy needlework without having to strain your eyes by using a magnifier. It works especially well for needlepainting, miniature embroidery, and detail work because it is readily available at local needlework stores.
5. Smart Storage: If you want to be able to pick up projects at any time, organizing your supplies is essential. Zippered mesh bags for hoops, instructions, and threads are also smart choices, as are lightweight, transportable containers. Store needles in a small needlebook with felt pages that you can tuck into a project bag and make sure to slide pointy scissors into a sheath to protect their sharpness.