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I have tried several different needles for applique, but I always go back to a quilting needle. I usually use a size 9 or 11. I like the piecemaker needles for hand quilting and applique. A friend suggested I use a straw needle---darn those things are long. I couldn't keep my thumb out of the way--kept stabbing fingers on my left hand. If you use applique needles, what size do you like?

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I use Jeana Kimball's Straw needles, size 11, for my hand applique. I like them because they are long and slender. Admittedly, they bend easy, but I have been told by a needleturn expert that the needles curve to your use and help in the "tucking" process. That must be true, since when I start with a new needle, it takes awhile to get my rhythm going, and when I finally do, the needle is slightly curved again. The thing I do not like about this size, is the eye is really small, and sometimes I have a hard time threading it.
I also like the size 11 straw needles and couldn't live without my Clover needle threader. It finds that little needle eye for me.
Glenda, sometimes after i have added mo own personal curve to the needle, I can not get the Clover needle threader to work. Do you ever have this problem?
I find if I hold the needle at an angle, so the eye is closer to the threading hook, it works a little better. Sometimes I have to try several times, and yes it doesn't work 100% of the time when it is curved.
Like CatLady, I prefer Jeana Kimball straw needles, however I have to admit I prefer the #10s as I hate working with a bent needle. Isn't it interesting how each of us is so different? Like you, Glenda, I couldn't live without my Clover needle threader. CatLady, I actually sent my first one back to the factory in CA because all it ever did was cut my thread. Maybe you should look into this. Your local quilt shop can't do a darned thing about it, but the people at Clover responded to my email within 24 hours and within 2 weeks I had my threader back, repaired and it hasn't caused me one bit of grief since. I think some just were duds. I can't tell you how nice they were to me. I'm a huge fan of Clover products. Give it a try. It'll only cost you a little in postage.
OK...back to needles. Although I use #10 straws for applique, I use #11s for Hawaiian style applique or when I'm using batiks. They're lovely and thin, and when I bend them, I just use a fresh one. For handquilting, I use Jeana's #9 Sharps. They are a little longer than a between but just as sturdy and I can see the eye of the needle to thread it .....
Hi - very good question - the needle is super important as I've found from using the wrong ones! Nancy Pearson uses milliner's needles that are a bit long for me. I tried using 9 or 11, but have found the ones that work best for me are #10 applique sharps. Barb
I use a medium size sharp for applique--whatever feels good in the hand and you can see to thread!! I've worn out one Clover threader--they're great!! I tried the straw (miliner's) needles once --it felt like appliquing with a fishing pole, for me the quilting needles are a little short for applique, but I end up using them occassionally when they're already threaded with the right color!! It's your technique not the needle that creates beautiful applique--so use whatever gets you the result you want!!
I like to use a Clover [I think it is] platium needle in a size 9 or 10. yes they are small but the platium in the needle makes it slide like a hot knife going through butter in any type of fabric I use. I had a friend that did not like to applique and now she only uses the platium needle and silk thread. You can not beat the combination for hiding stitches and making beautiful appliques.
Keep using the straws, u will get used two them. I use 10 or 11. They are great with actual turning, specially in tight spots. Boy do I luv applique....Just the look of it alone on top of the quilt.....with the quilting all around the applique....sew unique indeed!!!!!
I use a size 11 straw needles also. I find the extra length helps to make a smaller stitch. They also slide thru the fabric easily. They do tend to bend easily, but I don't find that to be a problem.

I took a class from Mary Sorensen. She recommends size 10 or 11 betweens instead of straw needles. She made us use them during the class, and by the time the class was over, I was converted. I think the point is, the needles don't bend as much when you use the tip to shape the appliqué fabric and adjust the seam allowance as you sew.

Where do you find the Scarlet Today needles, Brenda? I accidentally bend all my applique ones, too. I have been using John James Milliners, I bought them from Connecting Threads awhile ago.

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