Right back when this blog began I mentioned I needed help threading needles. I tried a weird and wonderful contraption that worked but which more often than not left me tangled up in thread and the needle laughing at me no closer to being threaded! Then there was a needle designed to have an opening alongside the eye, with a little notch which the thread would catch on and slot into the eye ... that worked but the needle itself was so blunt my poor little fingers cried at pushing it through even a single layer of fabric.
So for the last 6 months I've largely been dependant on others to thread needles for me, and my evenings at Quilt Club were constrained by how many needles i could take with me (not being the sort of guy who likes to ask for help with something as basic as threading a needle at Quilt Club!)
Then I discovered a different design of self-threading needle. This one has a groove right on top of the needle, above the eye ... I tried and made no progress trying to even fathom how this mechanism worked, and so I quickly gave up. Then this weekend I've started reading the Elm Creek Quilts books, beginning with The Elm Creek Quilt Sampler, the first 3 books in the series. I enjoyed the first 2 and was reading book 3 today ... I was certainly inspired when I read about Sylvia having a stroke but working to recover her ability to quilt ... including threading a needle by moistening the eye of the needle instead of the thread ...
So, feeling brave I got out my needle and thread and moistened the eye and waved the thread in the general direction of the eye ....
no luck! You need to remember that when you can't see the thread and can't really feel it between your fingers, you've no way of knowing how close or far you are from getting it through the eye, so it's a case of 100 or more attempts and sheer luck whether you get anywhere!
With the blunt needle design I also had trouble because I couldn't easily line up the 2 ends of the thread to knot them (blind people find it much easier when the thread is knotted so that it can't pull out of the eye again when you drop the needle ... I think the correct term is double threading but I might be wrong about that!)
Anyhow, refusing to give up, thanks to Sylvia's storyline perceverance, I kept trying different ways to figure out how this groove on top of the needle was supposed to help the thread through the eye ... and hey presto!
I didn't even think I'd be able to line the thread up with the groove (remember, I can't see the thread!) ... but I found that by pulling the thread (still attached to the reel) so that it is taut, then it's surprisingly easy to get the needle to rest with the groove on the thread ... then it's just a question of wiggle wiggle jiggle so the thread angles to the side ... and at one side you find there's a little slit and the thread just pops into the eye! :)
Congratulations you have threaded your needle!
And the extra benefit is that the thread can be pulled to a good length before you start, then you can make it taut just next to the reel, and when you work at that taut part you can ignore the rest ... just get the taut bit into the eye and then you can run your hand along to the loose end, grab it between thumb and forefinger, bring it towards the reel and your right to cut and knot it ... all done and no more stress!
I should add that this design of needle has a much sharper point which is why I wanted to get it working, so now I'm happy and my fingers are happy too!
There have been a few people interested in my experiences with these needles, so if you want to know more - instructions or just makes / types, then leave a comment or email and I'll happily go into more detail!
I'd had to give Quilt Club a miss tonight because, quite frankyly, I'd forgotten it was the third Monday of the month already! I therefore hadn't booked a bus, and with more snow in the forecast i decided to stay home. However, with this minor success with the needle, hopefully this opens the door to a lot more sewing!