In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In Praise of a Needle

I have just found something that has changed my (needleworking) life.

In other places at other times, I have ranted and raved about beading.  I have had a love-hate relationship with beads and needlework for years.  YEARS!  I love the way beads can add just the right amount of sparkle to a design.  I have hated what it took to get them there.

For one thing, beads are tiny.  I am a klutz.  I can knock a container of beads over by just passing within three feet of it.  I can usually manage to drop them, flick them across the room, spill them, or otherwise adorn the floor with them.

Several years ago, I was taking a class at Callaway.  The class involved beading.  I knew this when I signed up but I did it anyway.  I was doing my best to work with the beads (keep in mind that I do not stitch well at all in class).  I realized that I somehow was losing the beads on the way from my bead container to my canvas.

Then I realized where they were.  I was sitting behind a friend of mine, who had the most glorious mane of silver-white hair.  I realized that her hair was now adorned with shiny flecks of red, blue, and gold.  I was somehow flicking the beads into her hair.  This is not a moment for which Emily Post provides an appropriate behavior.

And then there are the needles, which I firmly believe are the work of Beelzebub.  They tend to be long, and thin, and excessively sharp, with eyes the size of subatomic particles.  I've never used a beading needle for more than fifteen minutes before I have managed to curve it into a nice "C" shape.  I've never used a beading needle for more than fifteen minutes before I have managed to stab myself in new and interesting places.

So, sigh, I was stitching pilot pieces that required many, many beads.  Many, MANY beads. When one is doing ones own work, one can decide to leave off beads and do something else.  When one is doing a pilot and the beads are an important part of the design to boot, one must bead.

So I was beading.  I was cranky. Dearly Beloved found it necessary to be elsewhere.

Then I had to go buy more beads (is that adding insult to injury or what?).  While purchasing the beads (and many other things that I've mentioned earlier), I happened to notice a package of Bohin needles marked "for beading."



You see, I have a passionate love for Bohin needles.  I apparently have quite acidic skin or a high level of electromagnetism or something in my skin--I can pull the finish off a needle in an evening's stitching time.  And I've tried every needle on the market.  I killed a platinum plated needle over Christmas vacation one year.  I cannot kill the finish on a Bohin needle.

(Disclaimer:  I do not own stock in Bohin.  I have no connection with Bohin.  I receive no financial remuneration for adoring Bohin.)

So I bought a pack.

And beading is now wonderful.  The needles are just slightly longer than a regular tapestry needle, so I don't tend to stab parts of me I don't anticipate having close enough to a needle to stab.  They are thin enough to go through beads, but thick enough so that they don't bend. AND I CAN THREAD THEM WITHOUT MAGNIFICATION!!!

I am so in love I am now looking for things to bead.  I haven't tried using them on purl purl yet, but I'm looking forward to trying. And I do believe I shall go and buy several more packs of them so I will have a lifetime supply.


  1. I second your love of these needles. Have never been able to use another needle for more than one stitching session and can't wear the finish off these. Again no connection to the company other than I LOVE their product.

  2. I have to second the use of Bohin. They are the only needles I use after taking a class with Margret Bendig in Scottsdale. I agree their beading needles are the tops! I used to have problems with beads flying all over too but have solved this due to a hint from Sundance's beading book. I put a strip of double sided tape (name escapes me--may be Red Line tape) on the top of my canvas and put the beads there. They behave nicely and are easy to get on my needle. I now love beading!

    Carole G in Louisiana

  3. I'm totally with you on the Bohin needles. I've got the same acid problem that you do. But the Bohins seem to hold up. And they make tapestry needles both with and without a sharp point! Sometimes that sharp point can be quite handy.