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Beading Needles – What Do You Prefer?

Posted by learntobead on April 29, 2009

4/29/09

 

Connie posted the following on ALL ABOUT BEADS group, and got some of these responses.   What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Warren I posted on All About Beads about the needles, and so far these are the answer
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

At my bead group – we have been discussing beading needles. I know that is a subject with as many opinions as thread. So could you please tell what kind of a needle you use and why you like them.

I will go first – for general beading such as peyote, etc. I use Pony needles, or John James – which ever I grab first. I use long needles 99% of the time, but when I do bead embroidery I use short beading sharp size 12.

CONNIE

I use long size 12 loom needles when I loom (which I haven’t done for a while and should think about), and John James long size 12 or 13 needles for everything else. (What I really need is sewing needles because I keep using beading needles for mending.)

Marilee

  8867.3 in reply to 8867.1 
 
I too prefer John James and size 12.  Carol Perrenoud from BEADCATS in Wilsonville, OR just gave a presentation to our bead society (Bead Society of Northern California) on the History of Beading Needles and it was amazing.  The one thing that she told us that I had NEVER heard before is to match the shape of your needle’s eye to the “thread” you are using.  Most beading needles have skinny oval eyes which is best for NYMO-type threads that compress. BUT if you use FIRELINE which is more rounded and has a coating, to pick a needle that has a more oval eye.  The needle that she had, I had never seen before ~ they are called STRAW NEEDLES. The issue is that the skinny oval eye will squish/remove the coating on the fireline which can cause it to twist, kink, and eventually even break with the coating gone.  I wish I had picked up more packets. marilyn

  8867.5 in reply to 8867.1 
 
When I am doing a pin, or a doll or something “odd” shaped, I use my curved needles.   I do use more thread with them, but the curve allows me to get in to spaces I could not before.katieB

  8867.7 in reply to 8867.1 
 
For embroidery I use my curved needles and for regular beading like peyote I use my Big Eye needles because it is so hard for me to see to thread the dang things :)Dot

Size 12 John James are my standard needle of choice.  If I must stray I’ll use a Size 12 Pony, but I hate how brittle they can be.  And I am super near-sighted so will take my glasses off and bring my work right up to my face to get a “magnified” look.  When those puppies break it is a scary moment for sure!

I also like the Mary Arden needles…they are apparently made in the same factory as the John James, just in a prettier package.

When the project calls for it, I’ll move down to a size 13 John James.

I don’t like Sharps…I can’t seem to get a good grip on them.  But I have noticed over the years that customers with small, thin fingers enjoy working with them better than a standard length.

We were introduced to Straw Needles last fall.
I’m still looking for them.

I am sold out again….much to Thom’s disappointment.  =o/

  8867.13 in reply to 8867.1 
 
I use Pony 11’s most of the time. If I need something smaller, I go to a 12. The only John James I use with any regularity is the curved needles.Arline

  8867.14 in reply to 8867.9 
 
I don’t like Sharps…I can’t seem to get a good grip on them.  But I have noticed over the years that customers with small, thin fingers enjoy working with them better than a standard length.”Hmm, maybe that explains why I like them! :)Maia

Hi, Connie!

Usually I go for Pony or John James, which are the two brands I can find easily in Chicago. I also buy the Coats & Clark ones when I can find them, but I wish they came in bigger sets than just 4 needles as they last a long time – even when they are really bent, the Pony and Coats and Clark ones are still strong, my latest batch of John James ones were rather brittle this time .

I use the long beading needles for bead weaving, and also sharps and tapestry needles for bead embroidery.Most of the beads I use are smaller than size 8/0 so I tend to use 12s or 13 needles and I keep size 15 needles for beads with small holes.I also have twisted wire ones for stringing beads for pearl knotting.

I hope this helps a bit,

Love, Jan

 

 

 

For beadweaving, I prefer the John James 12’s, for dolls I like the John James 12 sharps.  For most other work, I think the John James 13’s are what I use.  I may try some of the straw needles, if I can figure out the sizing.  May have to buy a packet of each of two sizes to see which direction they go… are the large numbers smaller needles, or vice versa?

  8867.17 in reply to 8867.4 
 
I love straw needles. They don’t bend and break easily and they have an easy to thread eye.They are also known as milliner’s needles and I like the size 11.Both Richard Hemmings and John James make these and they are easily available on the internet for about $1.95 to $3.00 a pack.

Highly recommended.

Sylvia
  8867.18 in reply to 8867.1 
 
I prefer short needles unless I am doing fringe.  I don’t like Pony brand, so I stick with John James.  I’ll use the thickest needle that I can get away with for as long as I can, unless I’m beading into leather when I’ll grab the thinnest needle that I have available. 

Some people like the Japanese beading needles because they are stiffer.   Some people think that the John James needles went downhill in quality when they started making them in China, instead of England.   I prefer the John James regular English Beading Needles, and try to use size 10 and size 12.    I like that they are not super stiff.   The sharps needs are too small for my hand — my hand cramps when I use them.  — Warren

 

 

 

8867.19 in reply to 8867.1

 

 

 

 

  

I’m like Sandi, in that I like to use the thickest needle I can get away with. I do prefer long needles, though, it seems easier to pick up my beads with a long needle. Most of my things are done using a John James size 10 needle. I keep some JJ 13’s around as well as a couple big eye needles, but I only like the big eye for loom work and sometimes fringe. I’ve never tried a size 12 long or short, but I don’t care for the 13’s as they seem very fragile and never last very long for me.

I tend to muscle up on my needles, so they get very bendy. I can usually straighten them out by rolling them between my big anvil and a slab of steel I keep around. It does make them brittle, but I get a little more life out of them.

Jen

 
I prefer sharps (10?12?) for bead embroidery, unless I’m using charlottes and then I have to use a beading needle. As several people have said, I use the largest needle I can get away with – 10 or 12. For awhile I was using size 15 seed beads a lot and used the 15 needles – crispy critters! I’ve had a bad batch of larger John James needles also. That’s when I tried Pony needles, which I liked. And about the same time a friend who sells historical reproduction items for re-enactors gave me some beading needles – I think they are English, but I don’t know if they are JJ. They might be Japanese. They were great though. I really should get some more from her. The most of JJ needles I bought seem to be fine. I have more problems with losing needles than I do breaking them!Cathy

Fortunately, I don’t often lose needles.  Stepping on a few has made me very careful.  I tend to use JJ 12s and 13s most of the time and the 15s when necessary (for some charlottes and gemstones).  I will occasionally use the cheap Indian needles.  For me, they work as well and last as long as the JJ.  I have some sharps but I don’t care for them.  I’ve tried the big eye needles, but the ones I’ve tried have been too large for the beads I use (mostly 15s and charlottes).  I just accept that the 13s and 15s won’t last that long.  Needles aren’t that pricey, so that’s just the way it is.

8867.23 in reply to 8867.1 
 
I use size 10 Pony needles almost all the time. I can’t stand a bent needle and these stay straight most of the time!

 

SUZANNE COOPER
8867.23 in reply to 8867.1 
 
I use size 10 Pony needles almost all the time. I can’t stand a bent needle and these stay straight most of the time!

 

SUZANNE COOPER

 

8867.23 in reply to 8867.1 
 
  8867.27 in reply to 8867.19 
 
I like my needles getting a gentle curve; I can pick up beads easier that way. My first JJ 12 packet lasted for more than 10 years, and I bought some more from Sandi recently so I may never have to buy more of my regular needles.Marilee

 
I think it interesting that your first packet of needles lasted so long. I’m having a hard time with the finish flaking off the packet of needles I am using right now. It flakes off then gradually the thread snags on the uneven coating. I hope it is only this pack as I’m having to change needles several times for each project.

 
Karen, are they Delica needles?  I have a friend who used them once, and they wore off so quickly she would go through two or three in one small project.  We were thinking it might be something in her skin that caused it.
 
 
I loved my first package of 25 John James size 12 needles. They rarely broke, just got nice and bendy. And if I worked slowly and carefully, I could even gently straighten most of the bends with two pairs of pliers. That package lasted almost two years, and I’ve only used two from a package of 10 JJ size 13 purchased at the same time.About two months ago, I purchased another package of 25 JJ size 12. They are twisted, rough, and break easily, especially near the eye; 12 are already broken. After grumbling and muttering, I read the fine print on the package and see that JJ are now made in China. And JJ is now owned by Entaco Ltd.
 
 

from John James Company:

 

The John James factory was sold to new owners who are Chinese.  They did have a couple of batches of needles that were incorrectly annealed and snapped very easily.  They seem to have gotten that back under control again and are producing quality needles again.  We accepted bad needles back and exchanged them.  We also went through our stock and threw out any bad packages.  We lost a bit of money, but it’s nothing short of frustrating to work with bad tools and we were happy to make sure that the products functioned the way they were supposed to.

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2 Responses to “Beading Needles – What Do You Prefer?”

  1. I prefer James short tapestry point beading needles in sizes 10, 12, and 13. These are quite sturdy and less prone to pierce the thread.

    😉

  2. Lynda said

    I had a packet of Mary Arden needles also so called made by Entaco Ltd. The quality was terrible snapped very quickly and looked very similar to Chinese needles which are shiner. Problem with this was it said they were made in England. I think someones lying.

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