Thursday, 24 January 2013

Brass Darning Needle

It was in a box of bits from a car boot sale.

It is two and a quarter inches long, with plain stripes on one side, 

and crossed lines and dots on the other. 

Is it just a decorated darning needle, or did it have a particular use?  I would be delighted to find out.


  1. It's a bodkin. Used for threading ribbon or elastic through a channel. The little rounded knob on the end is to stop it sticking into the fabric as it is threaded through. I like solving your mystery objects. Got any more?

  2. Hello Nola,

    Exactly the lines I was thinking along, and I've always called them bodkins too. Don't ask me why I referred to it as a darning needle - half asleep, probably.

    I thought it would be ideal for threading narrow ribbon in broderie anglaise. Also, I've used round ended needles for sewing up chunky knitwear because there is less risk of splitting the wool.

    What intrigued me is that instead of being round and plain and made of steel, it is flat, brass and decorated. Perhaps it is just the deluxe model.

    Plenty of odds and ends stuffed into various corners of the house. I have to curb my squirrel instincts.


  3. Hi Muv!
    I was thinking a deluxe bodkin too. I don't know the "technical" requirements of a bodkin, but the ones I am used to have a slit the length of the shaft, so that you put your ribbon/elastic/etc, thru the eye, then slide it down into the slit. Then it's held in place in that slit, as you work the bodkin thru your channel.

    "Warm" Regards, QuiltE
    (in chilly Canada!)

  4. Hello QuiltE!

    Wonderful of you to pop up here today!

    I'm more than happy with the verdict of posh bodkin. Perhaps I should put out a challenge for someone to come up with an even posher one.

    Love from ridiculously muddy England,

  5. OK Muv, I have a mystery object for you. Brown bakelite ball the size of a large orange. Hollow. Unscrews around the 'equator' into two halves. At the 'north pole' there is a small loop. At the 'south pole' a small hole about 1/4" diameter. What is it?

    Nola in Australia

    1. Nola, I believe your item is a yarn holder. You would put the ball of yarn into the ball and slip the loop over your wrist. The working yarn would be pulled out through the hole at the bottom.

    2. Hello Anonymous,

      Nola and I had another chat about this item in another post...

      I love your wool holders. The beehive ones must have been an advertising gimmick for Patons.


  6. I think that is a bodkin rather than a darning needle. The end is too rounded for darning.



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