Needing a large curved needle with a large eye and unable to find one locally, I resorted to making my own. With the time I spent driving to several stores and calling many more, I figured it would take less time to make one than to find one either locally or online.
Not only did I try fabric stores, but I also tried stores that sell kitchen supplies. The reason for that is I discovered there is something called a trussing needle used in cooking. No luck.
Since I tend to be a do-it-yourself person, it occurred to me that I could make my own. My first attempt was to bend a plastic yarn needle. I was successful at reshaping the needle and it worked well on first use, but on the second pass it broke.
I needed a sturdy metal needle, preferably longer than the long upholstery needles I own. I remembered that I had some left over steel insulation support rods. They are 2mm thick which would be 12 gauge wire.
Here is how they were made:
1. Wire cut to desired length with bolt cutter (these two are 6″ and 4″)
2. One end hammered to flatten and widen it for the eye. I used a heavy hammer and the anvil part of a large vise for the work surface.
3. A 1/16″ hole was drilled into the flattened head end.
4. Using a wide flat metal file, I rounded the head and smoothed out burrs.
5. Using the same metal file, the other end of the wire was dragged down the length repeatedly as I was turning the wire until it had a nice point.
5. Holding the needle on the head end with a pair of pliers, I inserted the point end into a hole in surface of my work table , then slowly bent the wire.
6. The needle was cleaned with steel wool.
It took less time to make them than it took to write this post. And yes, as crudely made as they are, they work very well.
I found large needles last week! And locally.
The store I found them in was Jo-Ann Fabrics, which is all over the US. They can be ordered from the store online too.
I feel silly because I had just looked there, but in the wrong section. The key to successful finding was to look in the upholstery tools and supplies section of the fabric store. Even if you don’t have the same store, check the upholstery section of your local fabric store.
I bought a package of 4 curved needles in lengths (if straightened out), 3″, 4″, 5″, and 6″ (7.6cm, 10cm, 12.7and 15.2cm). And I also bought a packaged of 4 straight needles in lengths of 6″, 8″, 10″, and 12″ 15.24cm, 20.32cm, 25.4cm and 30.48cm).
Having one of the long straight needles would have been nice for squashing the pumpkin temari I made.
I still prefer the shallower curve of my homemade needles and will probably experiment with one of the long straight needles to see if I can bend one without breaking it. I think bending a straight needle into a smooth curve would be more likely to succeed than trying to partially unbend a curved needle.