It’s all about needles, pincushions and scissors

Once upon a time, long, long ago, bones, horn, ivory or fish bones did the needle job, but before you could do any sewing at all, you had to pierce the eye of the needle by fine flint stone fragments. No a real eye but a split head.

Enters my never ending love for Leonardo Da Vinci (I do admit he was a vegetarian and he was left handed too) but without him, we might still just have that one same needle. He constructed in 1496 a machine to point sewing needles. Credit, of course, has to be given to James Hargreaves too, who created the first spinning machine named after his daughter: “Spinning Jenny” and Elias Howe & Singer for the invention of the sewing machine, a different way of using a needle. Although we’re all convinced that there are times when only a hand stitch will do.

Needless to say that needlework begs for scissors. Lucky us nowadays, as the original ones were made of one piece of metal, not the two-blade-lever we have today. They were found in ancient Egyptian ruins dating as far back as 1500 BC. And again sweet Leonardo helped, creating our very own known scissors, he invented them for one purpose only: to cut away canvas he didn’t like, when he was painting.

Let me not keep you on pins and needles, you’re absolutely right, we of course love the pins but even better : the pincushions. In the old days metal pins were costly and stored in special needle/pin cases made from ivory, bone, silver or other metals. The pin-pillows came into fashion in the early 1700’s more as home decoration item than as a sewing tool. Let’s be honest, how can one make a bear, anything, without pins, needles alone won’t suffice!

This bear found life, following a course at, a business run by a very dear friend of mine: Veronique.
The magnificent, unfinished angel, on the other hand, was made by my husband’s first wife. Due to her passing, it tragically never got finished, needle is still on the canvas, framed forever by my husband’s skills.

Pin cushion crazy? Fancy scissors? That one and only very special needle? I’ll bet you’re a proud owner. Go on then, show off, Anna is looking for a needle in a haystack, trying to find the cutest of them.

Just before I go, I have to throw inthis modern piece of art: Ago, Filo e Nodo (Needle, Thread, and Knot) by Claes Oldenburg in Milan, do look it up! The needle pinned in the piazza, the knot a bit further in the fountain and one can only admire the colourful thread, all to be found in this city of fashion!

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