Below are a few solutions to help deal with needles.
- Use a hemostat to grab a needle and pull it through tough layers.
- Jar grippers are useful for needle pulling.
- Bet no one has mentioned this one yet! I use a wrap-around type finger pick (I used to play guitar and banjo) to pick up the needle when thread basting on my high table. It works like a spoon to catch the needle tip, but since I'm wearing it, I don't have to use my fingers to grasp the spoon and can grasp the needle with those fingers instead.
- Tacky Finger (finger tip moistener) you get at the office supply store. Use it on your fingers to help pull a needle through and for catching fabric when machine quilting.
Learn how to choose the best hand sewing needles.