Have any of you tried Clover's BlackGold Needles for piecing? I, also, use them for applique. They are pricey but, oh my gosh, are they sharp and go through fabric so easily. If interested I bought mine here:
They are $5.60 for 6 but they last a long, long time (if you don't lose them ) because they just don't bend or get dull. You may want to check them out.