Tip Toe Through the Tulips….

Tulip Needles text

I am always excited when I find a new product that makes my sewing life a little easier.  And I discovered a new needle a few months ago that really has helped my hand sewing — Tulip Needles.  While this is not a new product in the needle market, it is a new product to me and I’ve only just begun to see these needles in some local quilt shops.


Tulip needles (also called Hiroshima Needles), have been manufactured for almost 300 years in Japan.  Originally produced for the Samurai’s piecework, they were made from the tatara (iron sand) in the Kake region.  I’m sure all of that is very interesting, but I know you’re now asking what makes this needle so much better than any other needle in your sewing box?


First of all, in the manufacturing process, needles must be polished.  The Tulip Needles are polished lengthwise. This means that they will glide through fabric easier – the needle, thread, and fabric are moving in the same direction.  If a needle is polished cross-wise, there will be additional pull when moving the needle and the thread through the fabric.  You may not feel this pull initially, but your hand and fingers will tire from it.  That lengthwise polish on the Tulip will add some additional time to your hand sewing without the fatigue that may set in earlier with another needle brand.


The eyes of these needles are also larger.  This means, depending on your eyesight, you may not need a needle threader.  And the eyes are polished both inside and out so the chances of your thread snagging in the eye are few.


These needles are flexible; however, they are thicker than other needle brands.  This is the part that took me the longest to get used to.  I’ve always used a thinner brand of needle, so this took a while for me to adapt to.  But those thinner needles were prone to bending after a while.  I don’t find this to be true with the Tulips.  They are flexible and the points are sharp, again due to Tulip’s polishing process.


In short, I am in love with these needles.


There are a couple of drawbacks to them.  They can be difficult to find in local quilt shops.  I have found that Find X Designs in Sanford carries a wide selection (and they have a brick and mortar shop on Carthage Street in Sanford and a web page for ordering on line, too).  They are a little more costly than the John James or Clover brands.  Six Tulip needles ran me $8.50 plus tax.  They do come in tiny tubes with stoppers so they are easy to keep up with.


If you hand applique or hand piece, you may want to give these needles a try the next time you need to replenish your supply.


I apologize that there was not a blog last week.  Life has a way of happening sometimes and situations are snatched from your control.  My mom was hospitalized last week.  There were a lot of sleepless nights spent at Wesley Long, but the doctors have diagnosed what was wrong and thankfully, thankfully, thankfully it was nothing too serious.  She’s back home and I’m back home and we’re both trying to get caught up on our sleep (because no one really sleeps in the hospital).  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.  She will be fine, but it’s going to take some time.


I took my hexies with me to work on while sitting with her.  And Mom has decided she wants to give them a try.  So, this afternoon I am getting out my Cindy Blackberg stamps and making her a hexie package to send to her.  Another hand piecing convert! And yes, there is a pack of Tulip Needles in that box!


Keep Quilting Fearlessly!


Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


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