How to thread a yarn needle

How to Thread a Yarn Needle

You’ve finished your project and now it’s time to weave in your ends or sew some seams! A basic yarn or darning needle is all you need in order to tackle these last-minute finishes. Today we’ll talk about choosing the right needle for your project and also show you a great way to thread tricky yarn through the needle eye.

how to thread yarn through a needle - materials

Materials & Skills


Skills You’ll Learn

  • How to choose the right needle
  • How to thread a yarn needle

Choosing the Right Needle

Before you start learning how to thread yarn through a needle, you’ll need to pick the right needle for your project. You might find yourself at the craft store puzzling through all the different needle options. We’re here to help!

Trying to pick the right needle for finishing your knits isn’t complicated, however, getting familiar with some of the terms might help you make the right choice. Read on to learn more about all of the different needle categories including the difference between a yarn needle vs. darning needle.

darning needle vs. yarn needle
Left-to-right/top-to-bottom: 1. bent tip yarn needle, 2. yarn needle, 3. darning needle, 4. large eye darning needle, 5. hand sewing needle.

Darning Needle vs. Yarn Needle

The age-old confusion when choosing between a darning needle vs. yarn needle usually ends in frustration and just grabbing whatever looks like the right size. BUT! The little differences between these two needle types really do make a difference.

Yarn Needles

The most popular and useful needle type for seaming and weaving in ends for knitting are needles found in the “yarn needle” category. You’re most likely to get a nice finish without the frustration of other needle styles.

Yarn needles typically have a very blunt or rounded tip and a large “eye” for threading the yarn through. These come in a variety of sizes including needles small enough to finish socks, to very large needles used to sew jumbo yarns.

There are two styles of yarn needles. “Bent Tip” refers to needles with an angled tip that makes it easy to slide the needle under stitches. “Straight Needle” is a more typical needle shape with a totally straight barrel, perfect for any finishing that uses an up-and-down motion.

Darning Needle

Darning needles are used to repair holes in knit or woven fabrics. It typically has a larger eye that can accommodate sturdy threads and lighter-weight yarns. These needles also have rounded ends but aren’t quite as blunt as yarn needles.

Darning needles tend to be sharp enough to accidentally pierce or split a yarn strand rather than slide neatly into an open space in the fabric. When you’re finishing a knit it’s always best to avoid accidentally sewing through a strand of yarn. It creates a weaker fabric and is much harder to unravel or redo should you need to later on. If you can avoid it, you should!

Darning needles make it just a little likelier that you’ll accidentally make a mistake which is why we recommend reaching for a yarn-specific needle when you have the option.

Sewing Needle

This category features sharp tips and a range of small sizes suitable for sewing with thread. While you might find a few sewing needles that have a large enough eye for threading yarn through, we recommend sticking with either darning or, preferably, yarn needles for finishing knits. The sharper tips make it more likely that the needle will accidentally sew through a yarn strand rather than an opening in the fabric.

How to Thread Yarn Through a Needle

Sometimes super bulky yarns or yarns with tons of texture can be difficult to thread through the eye of a needle. We’ll show you how to thread yarn through a needle without splitting the strands or destroying the fun texture along the way!

How to thread a yarn needle for knitting - step 1

Step 1:

Cut your slip of paper to be about 2″ long and the same height as the eye of the needle.

How to thread a yarn needle for knitting - step 2

Step 2:

Fold the paper in half lengthwise.

How to thread a yarn needle for knitting - step 3

Step 3:

Sandwich the yarn tail between the fold of the paper with the cut end touching the fold.

How to thread a yarn needle for knitting - step 4

Step 4:

Thread the paper through the needle, fold first, drawing the yarn through as you go.

How to thread a yarn needle for knitting - step 5

Step 5:

Ta dah! You’ve threaded the yarn through the eye of the needle and you’re ready to start finishing your project!

Stockinette stitch swatch with a yarn needle and yarn

Finishing Your Knits

Now that your yarn needle is threaded it’s time to actually finish your knits! There are three common reasons you’d need to thread a yarn needle: 1. weaving in your yarn tails, 2. closing a seam on your project, or 3. adding some patterning using the duplicate stitch!

Every knit project will have yarn tails you’ll need to tuck into your fabric at the end so you’ll get lots of practice wielding a yarn needle over time. For a refresher on weaving in ends, check out our full tutorial!

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