Thursday, 2 July 2009

Hand-made needles

A few days ago, the postie brought me a small, unspectacular-looking packet. But the contents are really, really spectacular, and another addition to my product range in the stall: Steel needles, completely hand-made!

I had to hunt quite a while to find those beauties, and I'm really happy to have them in hand now. The steel is not stainless, so it needs a little loving care inbetween stitching sessions, but a drop of oil or a scrap of wool still containing lanolin (or a scrap of cloth with some lanolin rubbed on) will take care of them nicely. They are also shorter than I'm normally used to, but this, on the other hand, makes it possible to use more of the thread than with a longer needle.

They have relatively large eyes in a flattened head, designed to take the thread through the fabric without rubbing it and are thus perfect for embroidery with delicate silk or gold threads. I can now offer three sizes for sale, a quite thick and sturdy needle with large eye, a medium-thick one and an extremely fine one. It's awesome to look at them knowing they are all made by hand - I had problems only photographing them!

In this picture, you see the three sizes side by side: extra-thin, thick and medium. I'm really looking forward to working with handmade needles in the future and stash the modern needles out of sight, whipped out only when needed in an "emergency".

And just because I can, I made a closeup photograph of the needle heads and eyes. Isn't that amazing?


Arachne said...

They look great! With a looooong tapering point, too. A lot of the handmade brass needles out there in LH-land have such short points that it's a real struggle pushing them through the fabric...

(Save me one of each size for September :-)!)

Vrederun said...

I'm wondering how much your needles cost in USA dollars?

Here's my email if you need that.


A Life Long Scholar said...

Oh--those are beautiful, I want some! I'll be in Europe soon, do please let me know when/where you will be set up for sales so I can purchase them.

What times/places are steel needles appropriate for?

Elina said...

These needles look great. My problem with brass needles has been that I always seem to bend them.

Would these needles be available elsewhere than at textilforum?(For those of us that cannot make it, even if we want to.)

Ps. I'll spread the word about textilforum here in Finland.

a stitch in time said...

Arachne, I'll save you a set for September!

For those of you asking where to get the needles: I will be selling at Cave Gladium in August (Furth im Wald) and probably at Tannenberg in October. If you know what you want without seeing it in real life first, though, I can also send things in the mail.
Elina, yes, some of my needles (brass as well as thin modern steel needles) have a tendency to bend. With brass, it's not so bad, though, since you can just bend them straight again by rolling the shaft between two flat bits of hard material. And thanks for spreading the word about the Forum!
Life Long Scholar - where in Europe will you be? Travelling around? If you end up in my region, we could just meet up - for needles, coffee and a chat.

cathyr19355 said...

Can you tell us what the dimensions of the needles are (i.e., how long they are, and what the thicknesses are, approximately, for each size)? Thanks.

a stitch in time said...

Cathy, the dimensions are as follows:

Lenght of the needles (regardless of thickness) is 2.8 cm.
The thickest needle has a maximum thickness of 0.9 mm right underneath the flat head part, medium is 0.6 mm, and the fine one about 0.4 mm.

Arachne said...

After having completed my first project (a small and extremely plain pouch) using one of Katrin's needles, I have only this to say:

They're absolutely wonderful!!!

After struggling with blunt Living History-brass needles for years (and having to taper and sharpen the points myself, since the maker apparently believed that short points like those on wood nails are fine for sewing needles too), these needles are a joy to work with. And they prove a point close to my heart - hand-made medieval-style things work just as well as modern ones when they are properly made!

a stitch in time said...

I'm happy that you like them this much! I have used the medium size for my goldwork embroidery trials, and it works absolutely wonderful for that as well.

And I absolutely agree: proper tools will work, and proper hand-made medieval tools will work wonderfully...

Carla Weaver said...

I would like to purchase two sets if you are still making the needles? I live in the States and have not been able to find anyone here that makes them.