Timeless Tips from Homemakers of the Past is an ongoing series highlighting useful and thought provoking tidbits from the generations of homemakers who have gone before us. Our goal at Sheep Among Wolves is to provide a forum for Good and Great literature, and to help you in your quest for godly, high-quality resources. It is our hope that these Timeless Tips will be an aid and encouragement to you as you strive to follow the example of Titus 2, and become a keeper of the home.
“You’re searching for a needle in a haystack!”
Yes, in all honesty, I was. While my search engine was cheerfully displaying, in large type, the astounding fact that my search for sewing books had brought up 1,374 results, anyone looking over my shoulder would have had the right to assume I was on a hopeless search.
What was I looking for in this wilderness of reference books?
How to thread a needle with yarn.
And anyone who has ever tried the experiment will assure you that trying to find the needle in the proverbial haystack just might prove a shorter job than getting the yarn in the needle once it’s been found.
How I Came To Lose the Needle In the First Place
Doubtless you are going to ask, why didn’t I just google “how to thread a needle with yarn?”
My answer is perfectly ridiculous. “Because I already knew how.”
The problem with this story is that I have started it halfway through.
Once upon a time, several years ago, I didn’t know the secret to threading a needle with yarn. At that time, I lived down the road from a dear lady who had learned to knit in Holland before she was old enough to go to school. She had been knitting all her life, and she knew all the little tricks for making knitting and crocheting and every sort of work with yarn, quicker and easier.
I learned to thread a needle from her.
And as it is a very easy secret which saves a great deal of time and trouble, I thought I would share it with you. And I found a nice public domain sewing book which outlined the steps in detail. And I copied out the instructions, and added clarification wherever it needed it, and I saved my document, and closed the internet window, and went happily away, intending to finish the post when I came back.
In due time, back I came, and opened my document.
And Where Had My Reference Gone?
Lo and behold, there were the instructions, but not a shadow of an indication where I had gotten them from!
I had not noted the name of the book. I had not mentioned the author. I had not saved the link.
I had a lovely set of historic instructions, but I did not have the least idea who to credit for them.
And so here I was, with a mind-boggling 1,374 books to choose from, and somewhere, buried amongst those 1,374 pieces of hay, were three short paragraphs on how to thread a needle with a piece of yarn.
I can only be thankful that I did not spend the remainder of the day clicking on links, and reading through tables of contents! Amazingly, I was able to scan down, clicking on titles that sounded familiar, and discover the missing volume in a couple of minutes.
Today’s Timeless Tip, as I have now reaffirmed, comes from Sewing: Handicraft For Girls by Idabelle McGlauflin. If you follow the instructions carefully, you will find threading a needle twice as easy as I found locating the instructions, both the first time and the second.
How To Thread a Needle with Yarn
What You Will Need
- a needle with a large eye
Step One: Loosen The End
“Prepare the yarn by loosening the end with the needle.” I think I may have seen this described as “fraying” the yarn. Take the tip of the needle, and separate the strands that the yarn is made of. This will make the end of the yarn wider than it was before, but it will also make it as flat as possible.
Step Two: Fold The Yarn Over The Needle
“Place the yarn over the point of the needle, and draw into a smooth loop.” In other words, fold the yarn tightly around the end with the point. Once it’s in place, pinch the yarn firmly just below the needle, with your left hand. You want your finger so close to the needle that it is hard to tell whether you are pinching the yarn or the needle.
Step 3: Pull The Needle Out Of The Yarn
“Draw the needle out . . .” Keep your left thumb and forefinger holding the yarn tightly, and use your right hand to pull the needle out. You now have a crisply folded piece of yarn in one hand, and the needle in the other.
Step 4: Thread The Needle Onto The Folded Yarn
“. . . thread into the loop.” This wording is a little confusing, but it is very simple to do. Open your fingers just far enough that you can see the edge of the yarn, and put the eye of the needle down over it, as if the needle were a bead, and you were threading it onto a string. The key is to keep the crisp, folded edge of the yarn still, and put the needle onto the yarn.
And there you have it! A perfectly threaded needle with yarn.
Finding The Needle In The Haystack
When I come to think of it, these little homemaking treasures are a lot like a tiny silver needle. They are useful. They are valuable. They can make a difficult or laborious job easy and even pleasant.
But they are very often buried very deep amongst the surrounding hay. Without the help of my neighbour down the road, I wouldn’t have even known there was an easy way to put a thick strand of yarn into a tiny needle hole. And yet it seems to have been common knowledge, taught in American public schools, a hundred years ago.
Dear ladies, don’t let the needle get lost in the first place. The next generation doesn’t need to hunt through an intimidating haystack if we can put the needle directly into their hands. Today’s post is for both mothers and daughters. It is passing on to both of you a needle which I happened to find in my neighbour’s haystack. Or perhaps, to be less poetical, but more accurate, a needle which my neighbour put into my very hands, and I lost—and then found—in a digital haystack of 1,374 search results.
Either way, pass it on.
The quotations in this article were taken from Sewing: Handicraft For Girls, by Idabelle McGlauflin.
To learn why teaching handwork is so helpful in teaching our daughters to be godly, virtuous women, take a look at last week’s post:
This post may have been shared with the following linkups: The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Monday’s Musings, The Modest Mom, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tuesdays With A Twist, Homemaking Wednesdays, Wise Woman Linkup, Coffee and Conversation.
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