AtoZ Letter N...Never Without Needles

I remember exactly when I became fascinated with The Needle! 

The rhythm of the Treadle Sewing Machine and Mothers hands feeding the material under the foot had this six year old girl completely spell bound. 

I would sit beside her for hours and watch the needle go up and down.  My job was to hold the Tomato Pin Cushion to receive the pins that steadily were pulled from the material before it went through the foot.

Starting with Needle and Thread and scraps of material, I hand stitched doll clothes until finally I was long legged enough to reach the Foot Pedal of the old Singer Treadle. And so began a life time of Needlework, an appreciation  for the Art of Sewing and Collecting Sewing Stuff.  I still occasionally sew on a Treadle...often sew on a 1950 Century Edtion Featherweight...and mostly sew on a Janome Memory Craft 6600 Quilters Dream Machine.

Here's a bit of NEEDLE History...
  • The first sewing needles were made from bone and were used to sew animal hides together. The oldest known bone sewing needle was one found in what is now southwestern France and has been estimated to be over 25,000 years old.
  • The knowledge of needle making was also used to make fish hooks in England. The country became well known for high quality fish hooks as well as sewing needles in the middle of the 17th century.
  •  Metal needles were handcrafted before the industrial age. The process began with cutting wire long enough to make two needles. Then points were ground on either end of the wire, the wire was flattened in the middle and eyes punched out. The needles were then separated. This operation is still followed today, but machines now do the work instead of people.

Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern;
it will come out a rose by and by.
Oliver Wendell Holmes


  1. my mother never owned a sewing machine and very rarely picked up a needle. I learned how to hand sew in primary school and how to machine sew in high school. You were very blessed to have traditions handed down from your mother and grandmother. Leanne @ cresting the hill

  2. I am like Leanne above. Our sewing pile went to my grandmother's. Now if I have a needle I can't see to thread it. Alas!

  3. Haven't been by in eons. Love your sewing stories and your collections. Hope you all are doing good.

  4. Oh the tomato pin cushion. Please tell me you have a collection of those and will discuss the history (P? T?) of how the tomato ever became the symbol for sewing. Momma's needles were never without some thread left behind, ever on the ready to repair a hem or sew on a button. Remember those little silver things that helped thread a needle. I could never work them.
    Visiting from AtoZ
    Jollett Etc.

  5. What a great post. Every time you mention your mama's treadle machine, I can't help but smile thinking about the one at my Aunt Mae's house.

    I enjoy your posts very much. Have a blessed weekend!

  6. Such an interesting post, Sue. I have cards of needles all over the place - I'm always afraid of not having a needle when I want one!


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