Medieval sewing kit - needles?

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claireviolet
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Medieval sewing kit - needles?

Post by claireviolet »

Medieval sewing kit - needles?
Last edited by claireviolet on Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gregory23b
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Post by gregory23b »

If you want them to look right then yiu need to buy them especially, the can be Copper alloy or iron/steel and vary in quality of eye, round hole or slit...check out some Museum of London stuff via google for pics.
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lucy the tudor
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medieval needles.....

Post by lucy the tudor »

Not one to miss an opportunity.........If you are interested

I sell copper alloy (brass that is in modern parlance, easily available sort of copper alloy) hand made needles. Mine have mostly a slightly extended round hole i.e. sort of a slit. As in fact do my bone needles, both of which should be acceptable to use in front of "MOPs" , but depending on what you want to sew with them would affect what size you wanted. The longer, thicker, and thus stronger needle, I make for a pound each, the shorter finer goes for fifty pence. The basic premise of authenty needles is that they would have to be a little thicker than the modern ones or they would just bend too easily. My finer ones do well for sewing wool,or linen garments of a reasonable nature in public, but I wouldn't use them for embroidery on silk, or the finest blackwork on fine linen( Bigger ones for rougher wool). Bone is possibly a little early for your period, but is lovely to use particularly to sew knitted garments together, I use mine all the time in my modern sewing kit for that....Bone are fifty pence also. I don't have my catalog online yet, so we would have to work on email or phone. If you would like a photo of the needles I can get my more computer literate beloved to send one to you. Postage would be £1.50 .Let me know.
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Colin Middleton
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Post by Colin Middleton »

Bone needles are lovely for sewing wool with. Given their cost effectiveness and how much nicer they are to use, I'd be surprised if they had disappeared by the end of the middle-ages.

When using a bone needle, be careful, you don't just push them through the fabric like you can with a metal one or they snap. You need to work them through a little and they'll find their own hole and polish up beautifully through use. Don't use them on linnen though as it doesn't stretch in the same way as wool.

Brass bends more easily than steel, but I've never known a brass needle to snap.

We get our brass and bone needles from Sweetness and light and out steel needles from a guy in Sheffeild who does viking (and some medieval) metal work. I don't have his details to hand though.

Good luck
Colin

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gregory23b
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Post by gregory23b »

"both of which should be acceptable to use in front of "MOPs" , "

Acceptable full stop, both sorts of eyes were in use, straight forward drilled round holes and slitted, York has a number of these.

"The basic premise of authenty needles is that they would have to be a little thicker than the modern ones or they would just bend too easily."

depends on from what and how they were made, there are needles the same as many modern ones as well as larger - huge in fact - ones. Steel allows fine and hard and so does worked brass/latten/bronze.....Not only that but there are written records of annealing (and then rehardening) pins and needles to make fishing hooks, suggesting quite stiff drawn wire.
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claireviolet
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Thanks so much

Post by claireviolet »

Thank you everyone for your kind replies - thats really helpful!!!

claireviolet
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:50 pm

Thanks so much

Post by claireviolet »

Thank you everyone for your kind replies - thats really helpful!!!

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Tuppence
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Post by Tuppence »

steel and iron needles tend not to bend, though steel ones are thought not to have appeared here till around 1200 - 1300 (ish - nobody's certain).

brass or bronze or other similar alloys will have to be thicker, cos they do bend.

and all authetic needles other than bone will get discoloured quickly if you're using them for any length of time (modern ones usually last me a couple of days of handstitching - and authentic one less than half that (when I say full day I'm talking around 14 hours almost non stop).


and the reason for the different shaped holes (round and slot) is the same as they're there today - to do different jobs. a round hole goes with firm round sewing threads - a slot goes with softer and more slippery threads, like wools and silks - it grips better (hence the slot eye in embroidery and darning needles).

that said, if you get a needle you like you can use it with the 'wrong' thread - they don't bend in 30 mins like someone told me (unless it's brass and you grip tightly).
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The Black Rider
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Post by The Black Rider »

im pretty sure the jell dragon do some needles. :D

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gregory23b
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Post by gregory23b »

"that said, if you get a needle you like you can use it with the 'wrong' thread "

Yeah, that's me

"they don't bend in 30 mins like someone told me (unless it's brass and you grip tightly)."

unless you have really really really warm hands :D

I had a pair of lovely brass/copper alloy needles, very fine (not as fine as steel can get) pretty good for most normal non-resistant stuff, shirts, wools but not brilliant for anything needing a bit of a push, I think I still have one somewhere, lovely all shiny and lovely.
middle english dictionary

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Tuppence
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Post by Tuppence »

"that said, if you get a needle you like you can use it with the 'wrong' thread "

Yeah, that's me


and me :mrgreen:
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ada-anne
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Post by ada-anne »

"all authetic needles other than bone will get discoloured quickly if you're using them for any length of time"

I just realised this weekend that the brass needle I always use is nice and shiny. The ones that are left in my sewing kit are dull and tarnished.

The only time I've had a period needle break was when I stupidly rammed it eye-end first onto a stone seat, trying to get through a very thick wodge of fabric, and the eye snapped. Not something you do twice!

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