On Friday afternoon I knit with a group of women – this Friday we will be celebrating birthdays for four of us, mine among them. There was one birthday on December 25; mine was today – January 2. There’s another on Thursday and a fourth on Friday. So we’ll likely have some wine (a couple of the women are involved in wine making) and some nibbles to celebrate.
I wanted to make a small something to give the others – I keep a small “needle” book beside each sewing machine with a variety of hand sewing needles in it – I like shortish large eye embroidery needles (rather than small eye sharps) for sewing. I also have a couple of “self threading” needles (which are handy for tucking in end threads when I’m machine quilting), as well I keep a couple of used machine needle for those situations where I want to carefully pick out a seam – the machine needle is just that bit larger and stronger than a hand needle for the job.
[I just looked up a hand sewing “needle guide” – John James makes fine quality hand sewing needles of all types and sizes – turns out my preferred hand sewing needle is a size 7-8 “embroidery” (sharp with a large eye to accommodate embroidery floss), rather than a comparable “sharp” which has a small eye which I find difficult to thread. Darners also have a large eye but I find them too long and too thick to be comfortable to work with. I also keep some “easy threading/calyx eye” needles – these are self-threading needles which are threaded by pushing the thread through an opening at the top of the needle rather than through the eye.]
So I whipped up three needle books and have outfitted them with a few straight pins (with glass heads – the iron doesn’t melt the bead head), three quilting pins (I don’t have any safety pins on hand – just curved quilting pins), four different needles (embroidery and sharps), a calyx eye, and a blunt tapestry/cross stitch. I also included one used machine needle. I’ve closed the book using a quilting clip.
I’m sure the gals all have places where they stick their sewing needles but I’m betting none of them has a needle book. A small gift that I’m sure will be useful for these women who knit/sew.
I also keep a “machine needle” book at each machine – for those needles that haven’t had much use – the problem is keeping track of what kind of needle and its size. The machine needle book solves that problem for me. So if I need a slightly used needle for a small job that’s where I head first. If I know I’m going to use the needle for an entire project, it’s a new needle each time.
And in case you wondered – because I do a LOT of machine sewing I have a complete selection of machine needles for each different job!