The shaft of the needle is shorter than most needles. Between needles come in different sizes based on the eye of the needle.. The higher the number the smaller the eye. Beginners might start with a size 8. Experts may use a 12.
Betweens are used for hand quilting. They are shorter than Sharps because the shorter shaft does not bend as easily as a longer shaft needle. Even between needles will eventually bend and need replacing because a lot of weight is loaded on the needle (fabric and batting). The needle on the far left is bent (although in this photo it is not so easy to see this) because it has been used repeatedly to quilt through multiple layers. Once it bends, it is no longer useful.
Watch the video below to learn about different needles and how they are used by quilters. If you would like to purchase a package of betweens from Amazon, click here.
NOTE: to enlarge the video, click the PLAY button, then click the full-screen icon at the bottom right of the video.
TRANSCRIPT: Between Needles
Sharps are needles used for hand piecing and applique. They come in different sizes; the larger the number the smaller the eye.
Betweens are needles that are used for hand quilting. They also come in different sizes based on the eye. The shorter shaft is stronger. It doesn’t bend like the longer shaft on the sharps. So that when you’re loading this; this (sharps) has a tendency to bend. So that when you’re loading fabric onto the needle; when you’re hand quilting (I don’t have this threaded). When you’re loading onto this and you’re putting all these layers and you’re going back and forth, back and forth; what happens is needle bends. So even though the shaft is shorter on the betweens, you eventually have to replace this bent needle with a new one.