Monday, August 25, 2014

Look what flew in!

Today I had a surprise in the post ... flying in all the way from Massachusetts.

My good friend, CynthiaA Quilter by Night has just upped my supply of choice needles.

Of course there is a bit of a story to go with this lovely gift ... Cynthia and I worked together on the ASIJ auction quilt ... in fact, that is where we first met in person.

With a number of workers coming and going, often the work was stopped in progress, the needle and thread left in place too be picked up by the next person moving in.  At one time, I moved in to take over an empty space and picked up the needle that was waiting. OH MY! I had been using English needles made by S. Thomas & Sons, size 9 betweens and liked them very much. The needle I picked up was just as good but being somewhat longer, I found it even easier to control and get small even stitches.

Of course, I was instantly taken by this change, and at the end of the session, I went to the supply box and looked through all the needles to see if I could find out where it came from. No. no other needles like it in the supply box. It was a mystery ... and stayed that way for at least half a year until we began the next year's quilt. (I have to admit I kept that needle, visiting shops and looking through whatever was for sale to see if I could find more like it).

As we began working on our next quilt, Cynthia solved the mystery for me. The needle had been hers! Before she left Tokyo, she added a few to my supply and I put them in a little pencil lead container and marked it "Special Needles". I have been very careful when using them lest I lose one. Being very bad with names, I could not remember the name of the maker ... and anyway, I was not going to find is for sale here in Tokyo.  Even the S. Thomas & Sons could only be found at one shop at the Tokyo Dome Quilt Show. I was able to buy John James "Gold'nGlide applique needles at A booth run by Mary Caesar (A Hawaiian quilter) at Tokyo Dome. Those were a bit closer to what Cynthia gave me but not the same.

Now I am back in business. At least I can be less panicked when I misplace a needle. Thank You Soooo much, Cynthia. And, as an "owl person" I think I will have to find a small frame so I can enjoy that messenger on my wall above my thread holders and needle container. Looks ready to watch with those big round eyes.

This morning my husband passed me a flyer about a quilt show beginning Wednesday at the Seibu Department Store in Ikebukuro. I don't know if photography will be allowed but I plan to go and check in out. It will last until the 4th of September so expect a report. Meanwhile, enjoy your stitching ... I know I will!


  1. Happy quilt viewing! Are you not sharing the name of your fabulous needles? Hope the weather soon starts to moderate for you there.

  2. I like the john james needles for some things, especially the straw needles, great for needle turn. I hope you can take photos, love the creative quilts I have seen at the japanese shows.


  3. I like a longer needle, too. I 'stab stitch' quilt instead of rocking the needle, and, a longer needle is much easier to use. I also like the longer needles for any hand stitching I do, too.

  4. what a lovely parcel xx I like John James needles .. and am very grateful to be able to buy them locally x

  5. It is great to find a special needle that works for you. Glad you have some more. A lovely gift from your friend.

  6. Glad the little owl did his job delivering those needles! I have tried the gold-n-glide but still prefer the Hemming sharp size 9 large eye! All the sweeter to use because a Tokyo memory is attached. You are a treasure to the Gala group Julie!

  7. What a wonderful story! I am so glad you got a set of those special needles, and am not surprised that Cynthia should be the one to send them by owl post.

  8. Enjoyed the story, but I am curious too...what is the name of the needle?

    1. The needle I found in the work and hung on to is made by Richard Hemming and Son, size 9 sharps. Cynthia also sent John James "Gold'nGlide" size 9 quilting needles. I was able to buy a pack of the John James embroidery needles at the Tokyo Dome show and they work pretty well. I seldom wear a thimble so needles that are sharp at the eye and short are hard for me to quilt with.