Pony is a company that specializes in needles of all sorts for needlework. In the US, we see the brand more often on knitting needles and crochet hooks, I think. What I like about Pony embroidery needles is that they are super delicate in the finer sizes, and suitable for working with tiny strands of silk.
There aren’t a whole lot of #12 embroidery needles available on the market. Rarely do you find them available in needlework shops, even. Several years ago, I tested a few of the smaller sized Pony needles. I’ve used them time and time again, and finally decided I need a few more. I’ve been on the lookout for them, but haven’t had too much luck finding them available for purchase online.
So I contacted the company. And now I have four packages of Pony crewel (embroidery) needles in sizes 9, 10, 11, and 12.
Embroidery needles are sized by number, and the lower the number, the larger the needle. The smallest crewel needle size commonly available is a #12, which is the needle on the far right in the photo above. Besides the shafts and the eyes decreasing in size as the needle size number increases, the needle itself becomes generally shorter. You can see that the #12 on the right is quite a bit shorter than the #9 on the far left.
Here, you can see a close-up on the eyes, and the super-macro mode on the camera shows us something that the naked eye may not necessarily notice: the flaw on the #10 needle. Instead of being rounded at the tip, it’s got a bit of a burr there.
Overall, I like Pony needles in these sizes. So far, they have withstood the test of time pretty well – I am still using one that I’ve had for a couple years and have used fairly regularly. I like the fact that they are very small and delicate. They work well with the finest weight of Piper’s silk that I’m using on the Blackwork Fish project.
I’d like to see Pony needles in the finer sizes more readily available in needlework shops. So far, I haven’t had any luck nailing down a steady supplier in the US.
Another company that offers an excellent needle – and the supplies them in the smaller sizes (crewel sizes #7 – #12) – is Wendy Schoen Designs. In fact, I think hers are the first embroidery needles I ever had in really fine sizes (and only because I snitched them from my sister!)
I think John James (or is it Mary Arden?) makes a #11 embroidery needle, which used to be available online through Colonial Needle, but I’m not finding them listed anymore. Other than these companies, though, I don’t know of any others that produce very fine embroidery needles in sizes smaller than a 10.
I’m an embroidery needle hoarder, I admit. I always feel that something is not right if I don’t have a decent supply of ready embroidery needles. But I’m always dismayed that embroidery needles in a variety of the smaller sizes are not more readily available, even in needlework shops!
What brand of needles do you normally use and where do you purchase them? Do you have a hard time finding the needles you like in local needlework shops? Any suggestions for your fellow stitchers on where to find very fine embroidery needles? Feel free to leave a comment below!