Posts Tagged ‘needle-threader’

It May Surprise You To Know That Needlepoint Is Actually A Totally Kick-Ass Hobby

When my friends and I were at university, we went through one of those rebellious phases you do go through in your late teens and early twenties. Some people choose the traditional vices (sex; drugs; alcohol; live music; World Of Warcraft), but we always liked to think of ourselves as unconventional. So the only possible choice for us was…Needlepoint.

Okay, now you’ve finished laughing, I will now explain why we are not even faintly ashamed of this. Needlepoint is almost ludicrously easy to do, and the results are out-of-all-proportion beautiful. We all still have the cushions we made, and they are still beautiful even [information deleted] years after we made them, and we still get a massive kick out of people coming round and admiring them and casually replying, “Oh, thanks…actually, I made it.” And these people look at us in amazement, and say, “Gosh, I’d never have the time…how do you do it when you’ve got kids?” And the answer, of course, is that we don’t have the time either; we are exactly as tired and frazzled as everybody else in our life-stage. Instead, we made them when we were students, and had all the time in the world.

Anyway. That’s all just a huge piece of defensiveness about our hobby, which is clearly unnecessary anyway, since Needlepoint requires no apology. The real point I wanted to make, is that the one downside of needlepoint as a hobby is that you end up threading a lot of needles with wool. And as it turns out, this is a surprisingly technical task. First off, wool has a “right way” and a “wrong way”. If you thread your wool the “wrong way”, then both the threading of the needle and the subsequent embroidering of the canvas will basically be like trying to thread a cat through a cat-flap backwards. All the fur goes the wrong way, and catches on the edges. Even if you succeed in threading your cat, it will look ruffled and scruffy at the end, and you will regret it. And secondly – even if you’re threading your cat the right way through the cat-flap, you will quite often find that bits of your cat (like its paws, or its head, or its tail) get caught on the way through, and you have to retrieve it, lick it all over to smooth it down, and try again.

This metaphor is probably getting slightly out of control.

My best friend Lisa, who is clever, thought there would probably be a gadget to make the threading of a thick piece of wool through a slightly-too-small needle-eye an easier task all round. And she was right. The solution is a needle-threader, and the picture above is one of these fine gadgets. Because she is lovely as well as clever, she bought two – one for her, and one for me, and brought one round to me as a little present.  The way it works is, you hold onto piece with the picture of the dude’s head on, and post the little wire loop thingie through the eye of the needle. Then you post the wool through the little wire loop (first stroking it both ways to check you’re going the right way through the cat-flap). Then you pull the little wire loop back through the eye of the needle…and holy guacamole, your needle is threaded.

Now, I am one hundred per cent certain that Lisa told me at the time what this thoughtful and incredibly useful present was for, because after [information deleted] years, she happens to know me rather well. However, I clearly wasn’t concentrating, because after she left, I found this….inexplicable little device….in a paper bag, and thought, “Huh. No idea what that is”; and, and, and – and I threw it out. I then spent the rest of my needlepointing career threading needles slowly and badly, and swearing a lot.

I only found out about the true purpose of the threadpuller when my eight-year-old daughter explained it to me a couple of weeks ago. She had been given one by her grandmother, and couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across them before. I was far too ashamed to own up to the truth, so instead I told her that they probably hadn’t been invented when I was little. Let’s hope she never reads this.

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