I read on Quiltville Facebook that February 8th is the 400 year old Japanese ritual called Hari-Kuyo "Festival of Broken Needles". You can read more about the festival here and here. I really enjoyed reading Kelly's post over at I Have A Notion blog. These links lead me down a cyberspace rabbit hole where I may have been lost for hours jumping from link to link.... hope you don't get lost there!
This lead me to many thoughts about sewing needles and I found this quote:
...it also honors the secret sorrows that women have. As a woman sews, her essence permeates that small needle with her energy and aura. The needles are believed to share these burdens, and take some of them into themselves, so this burial is a way to thank them and put these matters to rest.
I wonder what burdens my needles would tell you they have carried for me? Here is the final resting place for my broken and bent needles.
My machine quilting needles rarely break because I am very careful what I sew on and never ever sew over pins. I hate it when a needle breaks when I am machine quilting - it really scares me, so I am careful to always use a strong needle with no burrs. When starting to quilt a large quilt, I change the needle, usually putting in a 90 Topstitch needle. When I finish the quilting on a project I change the needle again, usually putting in an 80 Microsharp for piecing.
However, I do seem to be very hard on hand stitching needles. They seem to bend easily, especially through thick seam intersections. This is the needle I bent during Slow Sunday Stitching this week!
These are my precious John James hand quilting needles. The "Big Eye" makes it easier to thread, and the small size needle helps me to take tinier stitches. I have probably tried every brand of needle on the market and have many packages laying around so I will never be without a new sharp needle to use.
I was thinking about pioneer women who treasured their needles, often having only 1 or 2 to sew with. Click here for a story about how precious needles used to be.
Still thinking about needles?
Here is a video on Schmetz needle production (a bit odd and slow moving with lots of advertising for Schmetz) and here is a Discovery channel video about needle and pin production (this video is half as long and more interesting to watch).
What's your favorite needle? Do you break and bend your needles? Do you have any tips for needle care?