Sullivans easy guide ball-tip needles

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I LOVE darning with ball-tip needles.

I first tried them at Christmas while honeycomb-darning some thin cotton socks (10 out of 10, would recommend). Soon I was begging family members for more holey socks to darn, which was extremely out of character for me. The ball tips glide through machine-knit fabric like butter, and it didn’t take long before I was high on Christmas spirit.

Each needle has a tiny ball at the tip that helps it navigate to exactly the right spot, preventing unintentional yarn splitting when darning, and creating a smoother stitching experience on T-shirts and other machine knits.

These needles work best with:

(They make kind of a ‘thunk’ sound and sensation when piercing tightly woven cotton and denim and aren’t enjoyable to use or recommended on these fabrics.)

Each pack contains two needles of the same size. The sizing works in the opposite way you would imagine: the smaller the size number, the longer the needle.

  • Size 24 is 40mm long
  • Size 26 is 37mm long
  • Size 28 is 34mm long

These needles have a smaller eye than darning or tapestry needles you might be used to. Size 24 (the largest needle) can fit my favourite Prym needle threader if you wiggle it a bit, but the other sizes won’t.

If you’re brand new to darning or have difficulty threading a needle without a threader, I recommend waxing your thread or trying the Prym cotton darners, yarn darners or Combi Card instead.

Made in Germany and packaged in a reusable hard-plastic case with paper and polystyrene inserts by the manufacturer.

Want to see how it’s done? Modern Mending the book includes 32 pages of darning instructions and 18 pages of hand-stitching instructions, with photographs and illustrated diagrams.