See also: betweens. Needles are an essential tool in quilting, whether you are quilting by hand or using a machine. A hand needle is comprised of an eye through which the thread is inserted, the shank of the needle, and the sharp point for piercing the fabric. Most quilters use a needle called a between to do work by hand, as this quilting needle is short and thick, giving the quilter more control while still being able to penetrate all three layers of the quilt. Sewing machine needles come in a variety of sizes and metals to fit different projects and machines. Consult your machine user’s manual to find the right needles for your machine.