Monday, January 16, 2012

Easy Camel!

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!


  1. TRY THE CLOVER TABLE TOP NEEDLE THREADER.... I bought my second one recently and find they thread the majority of OVAL EYED NEEDLES... even the smallest size 12 quilting needles. Costs about $14. Everyone in our sewing group has one and loves them.


    Hope this helps


  2. I have a Clover Table Top Needle Threader that a rarely if ever use if you would like to give it a go. If it works for you great! If not, you can simply send it back. Sound like a plan?

  3. Very admirable perseverance!! God knows needle threading is a pain in the ass for the sighted... lol Well matey, new fabric and a threaded needle - I guess there's nothin much stoppin you now... :-P

  4. Yeah, I'm so glad your perseverance has paid off! I can't wait to see what you're making...and have you received your prizes yet?!

  5. Great post! I'm a bit dense so it took me a while to relate the title of your post to the content. Now you can get to more sewing.

    BTW I am not sure if you could tell from my blog, but we are almost neighbors. I live in Penfield, NY and grew up in Irondequoit where my parents still live.


  6. Yay well done for perservering!

  7. Woohoo, glad you managed to conquer the thread! Of course to get the camel through, I think you'll need to start with the reins...

  8. Fantastic! Now you've got no excuse not to use the're not getting a stash mate, we won't let you! *cracks whip* hehe!

  9. I'm so glad you found a way to make it work. Has anyone told you that one side of the needle the eye is a little bigger than the other? I often can't tell by looking, but if I'm having trouble with one side, I switch to the other and most of the time, that does it.