Easy 30 days returns | Trusted 5 Star Review | Stitch & Save Points

Which Needle Size should I use?

It is advisable to discard any needle which has marks or rough edges, as these can damage your fabric and threads as you sew. Avoid leaving needles in fabric between stitching sessions as this can mark the fabric (unless you are using gold plated needles). Most needles are nickel plated and this can cause allergic reactions in some stitchers, so gold plated needles are a must in these cases.

Using too large of a needle can cause fabric to be stretched around the holes and spoil the finished stitched result, below are some handy guides for choosing the right needle for your work.

Needle size for Cross Stitch

Counted cross stitch is stitched using open weave fabrics, like Aida or linen evenweave, so a sharp needle is not required to pierce the fabric. A blunt tapestry or cross stitch needle will part the threads of the fabric and avoid accidental splitting of the fibres while you stitch.

The size of needle to use for your project depends on the fabric you are stitching on. In general the larger the holes in the fabric (so a lower fabric count) the bigger the needle used ( a higher size).

A quick reference guide is below:


Evenweave / Linen

Needle Size

6 Count


Size 18

8 Count


Size 20

11 Count


Size 22

14 Count

27 / 28 Count

Size 24

16 Count

30 / 32 Count

Size 26

18 Count

36 Count

Size 28


Stamped cross stitch, where a design is printed on a tight weave cotton or linen fabric, requires a sharp ended needle which can pierce the fabric easily, without pulling fibres creating a puckered appearance. Cross stitch most commonly calls for two strands of thread, so we need a needle which has an eye large enough to accommodate this, our recommendation would be an embroidery needle sizes 5 - 7.

Needle size for Tapestry

Tapestry can be stitched on canvas, with large holes, or in Petit Point with a much smaller stitch. The correct needle is determined by your canvas mesh or holes size. Ideally you want the needle to pass through the hole without causing any stretching of the hole, this needle is too large, or it falling through the hole too easily, this needle is too small.

A good reference guide is below:

Canvas Mesh Size

Needle Size

8 Count

Size 16

10 Count

Size 18

12 Count

Size 20

14 / 18 Count

Size 22

22 Count

Size 24

24 Count

Size 26


Needle Size for Embroidery

Embroidery needles have an elongated eye and sharp points to enable fabric to be pierced through cleanly. Needles are sized from 1 – 12 and the correct size will depend on the thread being used, as the size 10 – 12 needles have very small eyes and can only take a single strand of fine thread.

The most common used sizes are as follows:

Size 7 – this needle can take wool for crewel work, or up to three strands of embroidery floss so is great for most hand embroidery work.

Size 9 – this needle can comfortably take two strands of embroidery floss, and is a little finer for detailed areas.

Size 10 – this needle is great for using a single strand of floss or fine silk, and its thinness makes it great for needle painting, split stitches or little seed stitches. It can take two strands of floss but this is harder to thread.