My quilt group makes a lot of quilts for charity that we tie. I like to use a curved needle but some of the other ladies just can't get the hang of it. When I try to use a straight needle now, my stitches end up huge. We tie ours when they're laying out across three banquet tables (on risers to save our backs) so the quilt is not stretched taut like it would be in a hoop or frame and it gives (we tape or clamp the backing to the table but just baste the top and batting). Maybe that's why it's easier - I never tried it with a taut surface. I just grasp the needle somewhere in the curve and push like with a straight needle. I go left to right, but I'm left-handed.