Let's talk about darning needles and how to decide which type to use

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How to choose a darning needle for your project

Darning needles may not be the most exciting topic, but using the right needle can make a big difference in how your darned patch turns out. And I think that's worth a little attention. 

When I first started darning, I was so mired in the darning process that I didn't pay much attention to needles. Once I started darning more frequently, and taking on larger mending projects, I began paying closer attention which needle that I used to complete various darning tasks.

Darning needles have some basic characteristics like a larger eye, thicker body, and a rounded, or dull tip. Darning needles do vary in length, thickness, and eye size, having mostly to do with the thickness of the yarn or thread. Additionally, needles may have a bent tip to help lift individual strands for weaving in pattern

Darning Needles

The following is a collection of mending projects includes a brief description, reference to the thickness of thread or yarn and the type of darning needle used to complete each project. If that particular needle is something I sell in my shop, it will be linked to the listing.  

Yarn Darners

Set A: The above jean jacket had a little rip on the pocket flap. I repaired by darning a patch over the top of the worn area. A needle with a sharper point was needed to pierce through the thick woven fabric.

Tip: When weaving the patch, flip the needle around, leading with the eye to make weaving easier with a blunt end than the sharp tip. 

Thread/Yarn Used: Olympus Variegated Sashiko Thread 22m #76

Needle Used: John James Yarn Darners

Huck Embroidery Needles

Set B: My trusty wool gardening sweater is 2 layers, so most of the repairs don't go through both layers. I used a huck embroidery needle to repair because the slight bend in the tip made plucking a loop from a single layer of the sweater easier. 

Thread/Yarn Used: Green wool yarn of unknown origin from my stash & Valley Girl wool yarn made by Spincycle Yarns

Needle Used: Clover Huck Embroidery Needles

Darning Needles

Set C: Recently thrifted, this plain white cotton sweater is in great shape, but a little boring for my taste. I traced the stitches with a thinner thread than used to knit the sweater so the original white would poke through the new color. This is just a series of duplicate stitches on a smooth cotton knit, so a smaller straight needle was sufficient to scoop 2 stitches at a time. 

Thread/Yarn Used: Daruma 20/6 30m sashiko thread (#206, 214, 221, 227)

Needle Used: Clover darning needles

Darning Needles

Set D: This classy pink sweater was begging for a rebellious streak, so I added a little patch of duplicate stitches with a similarly sized yarn in bright white wool yarn. Using a thicker needle to match thicker scoops the yarn and passes through the gaps in the stitches with the slightest resistance. 

Thread/Yarn Used: thrifted wool yarn

Needle Used: John James Bent Tip Deluxe Knitters

Bent Darning Needle

Set D: My sweetest, yarn eaten thrifted sweater has a loose knit with thinner yarn. The yarn is rather hairy, so a short thinner needle with a bent, dull tip helps to scoop up only the stitches you need without getting wrapped up in the hairs. 

Thread/Yarn Used: thrifted wool thinner yarn. I thought it would be too hard to match color and texture, so I opted to go with a similar texture but darker shade. 

Needle Used: John James Bent Tip Deluxe Knitters

5" Darning needle

Set E: Oh, the big darn. This spaghetti plate sized patch of holey wool blanket called for large darned patches over several areas. The longer needle was key to being able to weave all the way across the patch. 

Thread/Yarn Used: From my stash, thicker wool purchased new for this project and the label discarded. 

Needle Used: 5" Susan Bates Weaving Needle 

My darning needle collection has grown so much that I was in need of a place to keep them all. The 5" needle doesn't fit, but that's not usually the type of project that I take on the go anyways. I found this altoids container and glued a couple of my practice darning patches to give the inside some flair. Add a tiny pair of snips and some thread or yarn, plus your project and it's all you need to darn away from home.

Needle Collection

 See, sew cute! Sorry, couldn't resist.

Mending Kit

 Oh yeah, the tin can also be used in place of a mending mushroom. You'll need 2 rubber bands, the thicker produce rubber bands are perfect for this. Stretch 1 rubber band around the outside of the tin, so it holds the fabric in place by giving it a little grip. Then lay your project over the top, and the 2nd rubber band to secure it when centered. 

Darning Mushroom Alternative

 And when it's not in use, the rubber bands will keep the tin shut. 

Darning by wrenbirdarts

A special thanks to this rubber band tip from one of the members of Mending Club! It's great to be able to share tips chat all things mending. Learn more here. 

Want to know how to complete a basic darn?

Click here: https://wrenbirdarts.com/blogs/embroidery-by-erin-eggenburg/what-the-heck-is-darning

Click here for a video tutorial of darning (click Visible Mending Tips): https://wrenbirdarts-classroom.teachable.com/

Do you need darning supplies? 

Click here: https://wrenbirdarts.com/collections/notions

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