Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (60) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Taking Care of Embroidery Needles


Amazon Books

Once upon a time, embroidery needles were precious commodities. They were hand made, sometimes made of precious metals, and they cost (relatively speaking) a pretty penny.

Today, needles aren’t so difficult to come by. In the scheme of things, they’re relatively inexpensive. I mean, what other embroidery supply can you buy, that you get 12 of for under $2? Because needles are so readily available, we have a tendency to replace our needles often, rather than caring for them.

But occasionally, you might have a favorite needle that you don’t want to get rid of so quickly, and yet, it needs… something. It’s not as sharp as it once was, it’s got a burr, or something is wrong with it.

And that’s where the strawberry comes in.

Sharpening Embroidery Needles

You know the strawberry, don’t you? It’s not really this strawberry. It’s this strawberry:

Sharpening Embroidery Needles

It’s the strawberry that hangs off those tomato pincushions. It’s there for a reason, and once upon a time, all stitchers and sewers knew what that reason was. But today, I’d bet that many stitchers – especially young’uns – don’t realize what the strawberry is.

It’s the handle for the tomato, right? It’s the part you hold, while you spin the tomato around until the cord twists up, and then you let go and it spins madly in the opposite way, until Mom tells you to stop playing with her pincushion. That’s what the strawberry is for, right?

On the right kind of pincushions (it’s supposed to be this way – I don’t know if they’ve started making non-purposeful strawberries these days!), the strawberry is filled with a substance called emery. Think “emery board” that you file your fingernails with – a board covered with a hard, gritty, sandy stuff that files your nails down. This stuff is a combination of aluminum oxide (corundum) and either magnetite or hermatite – both of which are iron oxides. It’s used to polish stuff, and different grades of emery powder can achieve different levels of sanding or polishing.

When your needle requires a little polish-up, or a bit of a sharpening, or perhaps even a little tiny burr removed on the tip, that’s when you use the strawberry.

Sharpening Embroidery Needles

Emeries for polishing and sharpening needles can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be decorative, like this large one that’s made of taffeta and touched up with a few beads and ribbons. And strangely enough, they don’t have to be strawberries. But for some reason, the strawberry seems to be a common shape. I don’t know why. I could speculate – but I won’t! I’ll leave that needlework trivia bit for someone who knows for sure!

You can buy loose emery sand and make your own pincushion with it, too. Or you can find some of the many online (especially in Etsy) shops that sell handmade pincushions filled with the stuff.

So here’s a question: do you ever use an emery strawberry or something similar to maintain your needles? Or do you pretty much pitch your needles when they reach a certain point? (Ha – no pun intended.) It’s true that they “don’t make ’em like they used to” – mass produced needles are not necessarily worth taking stringent care of … but still. I take care of my favorites (certain sizes, certain types, and all my hand-made Japanese needles), but I’m not so careful with more common needles. I try to be frugal, but not overly obsessive about average needles.

What about you? What’s your take on needle care? Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Thanks for all your kind notes on yesterday’s post! The Creepy Crawly Crud has conquered me for a bit, but hopefully I’ll be well and truly recovered by the time this current winter storm blows out of Kansas. We’ve got another snow day! I’ll let you know if I get any stitching done…

Enjoy your day!


Leave a Reply to Sue Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(78) Comments

  1. I knew thats what the strawberries were for. However I dont actually know the best way to use it. Do you just stick your needle in and out a few times, or do you need to leave the needle in the strawberry for a while?
    I don’t have any special needles, and as I wasn’t sure who to sharpen the ones I had I’ve just binned them. lol

  2. Well … I know about emery … in fact I was even going to put some in the centre of a pincushion I’ve just finished making … but then I got impatient – wanted the pincushion finished, didn’t have any emery sand, didn’t bother! Oops! I do think it’s helpful to keep your pins sharp though, as well as your needles!

  3. I actually do know what the strawberry is for (because my ant taught me) and I use it! Sometimes when my fingers get sweaty and I feel like the needle gets sticky or gross, I use the strawberry! It’s really nice, especially in the humid weather.

  4. I have an emery cushion that I got from Etsy…and I love it. I use it all the time. My favorite needles are size #10 and #11 and they are hard to find. I have a bowl full of needles that I plan to rehabilitate someday.

  5. Mary, hope you are feeling better. This flu bug is nothing to take lightly, it can last and last.

    I love my strawberry. I also sharpen my pinking shears using folded tin foil from the rolls, it truly works.

  6. I have used the strawberry for years. Whenever I begin to sew or quilt, I put the needle through the strawberry. It seems to glide through the fabric easier. In answer to why it is called the strawberry-don’t know but why is the pincushion called a tomato? Interesting and a little humorous.

  7. Hi Mary. Did you know that in Japan they have a special festival for old broken or bent needles. It takes place on February 8th every year. Last year I held my own “Festival of Needles” by cleaning all of my Japanese embroidery needles. I am going to do it again this coming Tuesday (8th Feb) and have invited members of Stitchin Fingers to join me by doing something, anything needle related. It would be great if you and your readers would also join it. Just spend an hour doing something for your needles, make a new needle book, tidy the one you have, make a strawberry or, if you already own a strawberry, sharpen your needles.

    Hope you will all join me in the “Festival of Needles”

    ps I hope you are feeling better 🙂

  8. Wish you speedy recovery Mary. And YES,
    I knew about the strawberry and I love to take care of my needles. I am an old sentimental, I kept some old needles that my grandma used for quilting. They are bit rusty now but it tells to take care of things and enjoy them for a long time.
    Bonne journée and take care.

  9. True story: Soon after the Soviet Union broke up, a church group from the Miami area was taking used clothing into a remote village, where one member had a relative. Our EGA chapter included a sewing kit so they could alter the clothes to fit better. I don’t remember if we included an emery strawberry – hope so. When the group came home, they let us know that all the clothes we donated were appreciated, but the best thing, according to the villager ladies, were the pins and needles – because their VILLAGE NEEDLE WAS WEARING OUT. Imagine.

  10. I love my strawberry, and I’ve had the same set of needles for a couple of years now.

    I wonder, was anyone else taught to run the needle through one’s hair when trying to get through a particularly difficult fabric? This was advice from my mom–more for hand-sewing than embroidery, obviously. Either way, I like Colleen’s lambswool solution better.

  11. Hi Mary,
    Hate that you are feeling yucky. Amazing how a bug can slow down even our love of stitching.

    Very interested in the Japanese needles. Do you have a source where I might purchase some? Checked out the 3/08 post and suggested site, but I keep getting a “no longer available”.

    Thanks! I read your post everyday. Learn alot! You are a great teacher!

  12. Hi Mary,

    I hope you feel better soon and can get some stitching time in to make use of the snow days.

    I never use a strawberry, but someday I mean to buy one of those darling emery pincushions on Etsy. I have a few of the handmade Japanese needles, but have never actually used them. I don’t even have a tomato/strawberry pincushion combo, almost all of my pincushions are homemade. I do have a couple of lambswool pincushion that are very nice, but luckily it’s not so humid here.

  13. I didn’t know that …. and I’m definately not a young-un 🙂

    I must confess to not doing anything special with my needles. I just keep them in a needle case.


  14. Thank you so much for this info! I knew in the back of my head there was some way of maintaining needles, but I didn’t know what it was.
    Ususally I don’t take great care for my needles, they usually get lost before I need to. But I will in the future, now I know what to do.

  15. Yes, I use an emery. Be careful of the phrase “emery sand.” I know what you mean and YOU know what you mean, but sometimes one actually finds sand being substituted for emery and that doesn’t work. While emery polishes the metal, the sand just wears off the finish. Not good.

    I read somewhere recently that to properly use emery, you pass the needle through in a single direction (like sharpening a knife), as opposed to poking it in and out several times. I have always just poked! While I have had acceptable results, I wonder if I need to “change my ways.” Any comment?

  16. Hope you’re feeling better!

    I know what the strawberry is for. I use it on a whenever basis. Whenever I remember I have it, when my pins or needles feel cruddy or not sharp.

    I usually just stick the needle in a few times, but sometimes I run the needle all the way through. And sometimes I just stick the needle in and spin it – usually that’s for burrs. I don’t recall ever throwing a needle away (on purpose) unless it was broken or some pins with bad spots in the plating. I don’t even throw away bent ones, somehow they seem to be my favorites for things like basting.

    Now for a question – the filling in the store-bought strawberry feels chunky, so no problem in it coming out. I bought some emery and it looks to be like fine sand. What fabric do I put this in? Do I just use any small-thread count fabric and use more than 1 layer?

    I have projects lined up, I think we’re about to get hit with the snowstorm you had yesterday.

  17. I do know what the strawberry is for but mostly I use a needle till it breaks. Some of the finer, smaller John James needles can be fragile after much use. I am interested in the hand made Japanese needles you mentioned. Can you elaborate where you buy them? And what types of needle work you use them for? I mainly do counted cross stitch historical samplers and they appropriate for that?
    Thanks Mary, really enjoy your blog everyday, especially these cold snowy days here in Fort Worth.

  18. Recently I have been beading my daughter’s wedding dress. The beading needles get burrs on them from picking up the beads, but rather than throw them out I have been using my emery to keep the point sharp. You don’t want a burr pulling the fabric. I also like using the same needle because it gets this curve to it that is perfect for my fingers. I am going to have to look into one that is better than the one on the store bought tomato–it’s not doing a great job.

  19. I had NO idea that’s what the strawberry was for…I’ve actually been using it as a pincushion for my embroidery (sharp) needles (as opposed to blunt ones for cross stitch). Thanks so much for sharing this tidbit!

  20. Thank you for the info. Your so awesome Mary. Hope your feeling better and keep them coming. I look forward to your post with my coffee every morning.

  21. I have wondered how people took care of their sewing needles when they were harder to come by–those pioneer women, for example, who couldn’t dash to the store if they dropped one and couldn’t find it! Thanks for passing on this interesting sewing info!

  22. My new favorite needles are the Bhonin (sp ?) tapestry needles; they seem to glide in the linen. I have not used the strawberry emery for a long time but you and your readers have inspired me – and I’m so sorry you do not feel your best; it’s terrible to have a snow day from school and not feel well.

  23. Hola, sí había oido hablar de la fresita pero no con tanto detalle y no tengo ni he tenido fresita. En cambio, sí es verdad que la fresita es ideal para que los niños lleven el tomate. Gracias por la información, me ha parecido muy útil y lo tendré en cuenta para mis agujas si bien todas son comunes. ¿Podrías comentar algún día “agujas hechas a mano”? No sé nada de ellas. Gracias.

  24. I’ve got a separate strawberry that was my Gram’s that I use. She taught me most of what I know about sewing, and she is one of the folks who taught me the basics of needlework of all sorts (thought she sadly failed to teach me knitting–I could never keep the needles going where they were supposed to go).

    As for the needle through the hair–I was taught that by her, too, though she said it was nicer to have a piece of lamb’s wool to use for that purpose, but “in a pinch” if my hair wasn’t too clean, it could serve the same purpose. Nowadays, I figure most people keep their hair either too clean or worse, too full of sticky styling product to do much good in lubricating a needle! I know that mine is usually too clean to be of service…..

    I do have a needle-felted pincushion I made and use that for my pins and needles with the strawberry full of emery beside it. My needles stay sharp and shiny, and I use them forever and ever–but I was taught by folks who survived the Great Depression and WWII to never throw anything that is useful away.

  25. I didn’t know. Very interesting! I have difficulties to find good needles and right now I’m showing to my grandaugther to do some embroidery, so I think I will be more carefull about my needles and found a place for the ones I appreciate to work with.
    Thank you for this post.

  26. Mary, my mother taught me what the little strawberry was used for. But what do you do about needles that get a little bend in them. Does anyone else have that problem. Or maybe I am doing something wrong?

  27. I treasure the traditional tomato/strawberry pincushion that used to be my grandmother’s. It’s ratty and stained, but still serviceable. In fact, the strawberry on it is FAR better at being an emery strawberry than is the new one I recently got as a gift.

    One thing to watch though – gold plated needles – I like them because I find they slide more smoothly, because I tend to erode nickel plating, and because they’re an affordable indulgence. But aggressive use of the strawberry strips the plating prematurely.

  28. I recently went nuts when I lost my strawberry emery–I use it often. Needles just stitch better when periodically polished. So, I went looking for one at Jo-Ann’s. I was just looking for the strawberry (they had the duo with the tomato pincushion but I have plenty of pincushions). Not one clerk there knew what the strawberry was for! But all were willing to listen and learn.

    I’ve been keeping my bent and broken pins and needles this past year for my own broken needle festival next week (Carol Anne mentioned it above).

  29. I wish u best of health.i must admit that i dont know anything about emery strawberry cushion.i had once made a cushion filled with cottonwhich did not work,so i started keeping my needles in a small case.i want to share it with you that my mother had a golden needle.

  30. i am making a biscornu and and emery “pack’ (it’s square) for my huswif, but my LNS recomended I use ground-up walnut shells. They said they sharpen more “smoothly” than emery. We’ll see! (Although whether or not I’d be able to tell without a microscope is questionable…..)

  31. Hey Mary,

    My cousin once gifted me with a needle kit which had a tomato pin cushion…Actually I came to understand its use from ur site…and had always wondered why there was a small one hanging….maybe its meant for tiny weeny needles hmmmm ;-)…howzzat….now I know!!!Thanx for stopping my crazy mind going wild.

    Get Well Soon!!!!Your posts are like inbox messags from a dear friend….if I dont see it there’s something amiss…..

  32. I read an article about needle care in a magazine not too long ago. I think it was in Piecework. The proper way to use emery is to push the needle all the way through the strawberry in one direction. That smooths any burrs down. Its the same way one uses a knife sharpening steel – in one direction. If you go back and forth it rolls the edge back up and your knife becomes dull again. Learned that from son-in-law chef.
    Elaine in New Mexico

  33. I’ve used an emery strawberry almost forever. I few pokes into it usually will restore a needle. But if the burr is bad, I also use a piece of “Crocus Cloth”. This is a special type of very fine sandpaper. It has restored many a sewing machine needle that hit a pin for me.

  34. Hey, Mary, Get better soon and hope the snow quits soon, too. I keep all my needles in a 2 x 2 x 3/4 block of lamb’s wool. The Japanese say it keeps them from rusting.
    You know how expensive hand made Japanese needles are. I have most of the same ones that I started with 10 years ago. I clean my Japanese needles with a square of very fine (600 or better) sand paper. The emery will dull them because they are carbon steel. I do use an emery strawberry for cleaning regular needles, though. Once I get one I like, I tend to keep them and take care of them.

  35. Aloha!
    I will admit I have a favorite needle that I have been using for years now… and have always felt a bit odd holding onto it in the days of cheap needles… I have used it for so long it had developed a slight curve, not much, just enough that it lies on the curve of my thumb in the most lovely way. I stab the berry before starting each of my projects and my fav needle will hopefully be around for a long time to come.

  36. My emeries are my most prized possessions, as a needleworker (mostly crewel). Because of them, I have a half dozen needles that I have used for over 40 years! After sewing for several hours, I always run my needles through an emery before storing them away in their needlecases (made of wood, which I purchased in Wales).
    Lately, I have been searching for new emeries, and have discovered that it is hard to find any. I believe I have bought the last one from Crewel Jewels. If you have any good sites for purchasing such (apparently) unusual needlework supplies, please do tell!
    Thanks for your daily newsletter – it’s the first Email I search for each time I open my Mail account each day. Your stitch videos are SO much better than a book! I’m really glad that I found you, Mary!!!

  37. I throw my needles out when they break, and pins when they rust or are bent more than 30 degrees off – when they cannot be repaired. Am I Green or Cheap? I dunno. Maybe it’s just that needles are so much work to throw away; you have to wrap them in cardboard or find a container that’s going out, so the person taking out the garbage (usually my husband) doesn’t get stabbed.
    So, yes, I use the emery strawberry on a semi-regular basis, and have even been known to take my emery BOARD to a hook/burr which formed on a machine needle.

  38. I have used the little strawberry for years, so much that my last one was leaking terribly and was pretty sick looking. Trying to find another one was a chore, I will tell you. All the pincushion tomatoes are sans strawberry these days. So, I went on line and ordered one for a little over a dollar.

    I do think they keep the crud off the needle. I even run the ‘eye’ through it. Especially if you use bees wax or thread magic it can get gloppy on the needle.

    I adore you site and hope you begin to feel better soon. Your work is so incredibly beautiful and inspiring.

  39. I make so many things from kits that I always have a ton of needles around. I must have at least a hundred tapestry needles still in little plastic packages. The 20-30 cross stitch Christmas ornaments I make each year to give away at Christmas Eve account for most of them. I use each needle for about five or six kits before throwing them away, so I end up with several dozen new tapestry needles per year from those. And I do another dozen or more larger projects each year, so that adds a few more to my stash of needles.

    I try to take care of some of my crewel and chenille needles, because I tend not to end up with as many of them, but I still throw out a few each year, and my collection of them continues to grow.

  40. I am also a lacemaker as well as embroiderer and use the same said pincushion and emery to clean my brass pins for lace and needles for embroidery

    p.s I am also named “Granny Sue” by my grandchildren

  41. Yeppers Mary, I use my strawberry all of the time. Grandson gave me, as a present, a tomato pin cushion that didn’t have a strawberry attached. I use it just for stick pins…no needles. Hope your crud is on the way out. Thanks for the awesome newsies!

  42. I love my emery cushions. I use them for hand-sewing needles, pins, the needles that go to my smocking pleater and my machine needles.
    I’ve found that if a needle is difficult to thread, sometimes running the eye end through a strawberry several tiimes will buff off the burr and solve the problem.
    I have been surprised a couple of times to discover that the little strawberry connected to a tomato pincushion has been stuffed with polyfill and no emery. Usually, they’re the very inexpensive ones.

  43. I’ve known what the little strawberry is for, but don’t have one. I must ‘google’ emery sand and see if I can get some. My current pincushion has a ‘blob’ of something akin to an SOS pad in it – don’t think it works very well!!

  44. I have some favorites that I keep reusing and resending through the strawberry. These bend in just the right way for my stitching needs and I would be lost without them. Beading needles on the other hand do get replaced frequently as their bends I can do without!
    Hope you are soon feeling better.

  45. Hi Mary,

    I am very sick at the moment as well, so I can sympathises! I have been lying on the couch looking at my embroidery project, feeling too sorry for myself to even lift a needle! I didn’t even know these little strawberries existed! I will have to get one, as I like the gold plated needles, but they can be a little hard to come by here in Western Australia sometimes, so I am careful with them. Do you know if the emery will scour the gold off? I noticed that the gold does eventually wear off with use, but even still the needles seem to be of a better quality.

    Hope we both feel better soon!

  46. I used to take care of even the cheapest needle given to you in a travel sewing kit… why? because that as the only needles i ever had. Now that I have the more “expensive” ones… I tend to stab the strawberry with every thread change, putting the needle up for the night, and the somethings not right. Since then my needles are taking care of me faster than I can use them to stitch with.

  47. I haven’t ever seen those strawberries except in “beginner sewing kits” so I don’t have one. I have a little “pincushion” with bar soap in it that seems to be reducing the speed at which I rust needles (two days! Or four for gold-plated!)

    I shall try looking on etsy, although for me they tarnish (like they’ve been in a candle flame) and then rust long before they burr!

  48. My pincushion is filled with emery powder, and it really does keep all my pins and needles nice and sharp. My problem is my needles always end up bent. I’m not sure if I’m just very hard on them, or if I have untapped Uri Geller-type powers!

  49. Oh Dear, I’ve had my Tomato/Strawberry Pin cushion for too many years to remember and I’m embarrased to say i never knew what the Strawberry was for. Guess I thought it was just for a decoration… Duh!.
    Without the internet I may never have known… I will start using it now. Just hope it isn’t filled with Fiber-Fil instead of Emery? I guess the only way I would know is to open it up, but that could be messy and then I would never get it back together properly
    What I took away from all this is to just pass the needle through and not to push it in and out..
    Thanks so much for all the info.

  50. Carissima Mary a malincuore non apro le tue mail ma io sono iscritta alla tua n.l.!! e allora non resisto, e leggo questa bellissima storia della fragola che m’insegna così tanto!! Mi piace sapere, conoscere queste cose, gli usi dei nostri avi per cose che noi oggi facciamo solo per diletto o un piccolo pensiero senza conoscere quei trucchi. Ti ringrazio molto di quello che scrivi e ci insegni, spero di non avere ancora problemi col le tue mail….ho ricevuto virus ed ho dovuto cambiare il programma di posta elettronica. Speriamo non mi accada più, perchè mi interessa moltissimo leggerti. Con grande stima e affetto, G.

  51. Sorry to hear the crud got you. Hope you are feeling better. You winter storm has been falling on us the last couple oo days here in St. Louis as well. Needles seem to accumulate at my house. I am more likely to lose it than get rid of it and then I find them back sometimes years later. I have an emery berry, but I usually end up using them dull or just get a new one, but for some reason I never throw them out.

  52. Yes, I do use emory for polishing my needles – mine is on the needle-holder part of an ort-catcher (I think Nordic Needle carries them). Now you’ve got me wondering what needles are the best, especially with silk thread or rayon threads, or wool that catches easily on burrs. Also, which needles work best for which fabric, i.e. heavier or lighter weights? I saw the post from Ruth, about her needles ending up bent. Another question I have is about fabric in general – I did read your article on fabric, but wonder how you match your thread weight to fabric weight, and needle size.

  53. Hi Mary,
    Hope you are fast on the mend and feeling much like your normal self. I have my tired tomatoe & strawberry looking at me and asking when I’ll retire them for some new one’s. Finding good quality replacements though can be difficult as the pointed out by others, our dear little strawberry is sometimes not what she seems to be. Could you find out more also about the sharpening of the pinking shears with tin foil…very interested in that one. Finding a competent person to do them is one thing maintaining the edge after another. As always with your site and blog, the information is fantastic. PS hope you guys get through your your foul weather ok and Fiona hope you’re soon on the mend too. Regards Kimandra

  54. Hope you are getting over the “crud.” But don’t overdo when you are back on your feet, I had a relapse that was no fun at all!
    Last time I bought emery strawberries was from Nancy’s Notions website. I was interested in hearing about running the needle clear through the emery – perhaps that’s why they are small and shaped the way they are? Just yesterday my favorite needles (which are 10 years old) were shredding my thread, I’ll see if there is a burr in the eye that can be sharped out. Thanks for all your fantastic information and eye candy!

  55. I miss having an emery berry! I need to hunt down a new one.

    I keep (and rehabilitate as necessary) all needles that don’t break in half. I have many needles that have awkward bends in them, but I cherish them even though I don’t often use them anymore: they’re a visual reminder of how hard I’ve been working!

    I keep those little packets of Silica dessicant that you sometimes find packaged up with things like electronic goods or new shoes, and I toss them into the tins that hold my pins and needles to help protect them against humidity. My favorite practical pincushion these days is a little lidded tin fitted with a rolled up length of wool felt that has been lightly spritzed with mineral oil. It holds a lot of pins and needles, and I can remove the felt and unroll it to check for ones that have gone missing (unlike the needles I used to lose to the center of pincushion balls!)

    Another way I keep track of a needle so that it doesn’t sink to the center of a pincushion is to slide onto it a tiny glass bead that is big enough for the shaft but too small for the eye to pass through.

  56. My mom left several great size needles and some are great for 1/4″ satin ribbon lacing through zig zag stiches. The heavy wide eye needle is great for this but it is a little dull and not shinny like the new ones. I has lasted for years over 90 and still has good uses and a harder one to find as I do not know the “name” of this given needle. Need to know how to put it in better shape, how do you make your own “strawberry”? Thanks

  57. I frequently use a strawberry emery for cleaning and sharpening my needles. I also use a piece of crocus cloth for the stubborn burrs. With these two aids, I seldom need to toss a needle before I break it.

  58. Mary ~

    I’m 56, and should know better, but I always thought the strawberry was just a small pin cushion. That’s how I’ve been using it – I keep it in my every-day kit of tools, and use it to hold pins (not needles) that I might use for counting, or marking a spot on the fabric, and such. Funny, I guess you’re never too old to learn something!

  59. I use a large emery strawberry. It isn’t attached to anything and it sits by my stuff all the time. I live by the ocean and everything I own gets sort of ocean gunky. So running my needles threw the strawberry a few times is something I do quite a lot. I hold the strawberry on each side tightly and poke the needle in as deep as I can a few times. BE CAREFUL! the needle will poke threw to the other side. I then pull it all the way threw. I think I could use my needles for ever : )

  60. use my Nana’s very old strawberry. I have a few of her gold threaded sewing needles. My sister has our Mother’s strawberry for her embroidery needles (sharp),but some haVE BURRS Most of her old ones are gold plated. My Nana sewed clothing AND TAUGHT ME to sew clothes. My mother taught my sister to do do embroidery and needlepoint. She was beautiful (American Needle Point Blue ribbon, as well as the favorite “best of show),1980.
    I did not have her patiencedo Nana taught me ay yhe machine. I had polio when I was 9. I still have bad legs but I STILL SEW, takes time to cut. Back to strawberrys Im looking for 2 nice ones. Better to buy, I’v lost over 50# and have nothing to war!!

  61. To clean/maintain my handmade Japanese Embroidery needles, I always keep them in their ‘needle felt’. This prevents rust and loss (they’re not cheap needles). When the needle makes noise as it goes thru fabric (a.k.a. ‘singing’), I use a small rectangle (e.g. 1″ x 1″) of high grit paper (1500+). This is readily available to Auto Parts stores (it’s used to buff out scratches on car paint finishes). I fold this rectangle in half, insert the needle, and gently rub it clean, while turning it. An important final step is to clean it by running it through a bit of fabric; this removes black residue.

  62. I have looked and searched (You tube?) all over, I would like to SEE how you sharpen your pin or needle in the emery sand.
    I also think using a stretchy fabric like stretch velvet—would allow for the hole the pin or needle makes–to close, but maybe there’s a reason for not using it? keeping the sand very “tight” together?
    Please demonstrate, I would love to see this technique used.

  63. I’ve made those strawberries by soaking old sand paper (sometimes after cutting it up to sharpen scissors) in water long enough for the paper and adhesive to soften. I then mixed it up and slowly poared more water in and over the edge of the bowl, carrying that stuff out and leaving the emery in the bowl. Make a tiny silk pouch for it, and done.

  64. I am 73 and find I have to keep a small pair of beefcake nose pliers to pull a ne duke through some fabrics. Is there sine way to make needles slicker is they will glide through the fabric easier?

  65. Hello, Does sharpening remove the coatings that are on a lot of needles? I bought Bohin (nickle coated), Clover (gold colored coating and black coated) needles. I don’t even know if these needles are good quality or not but, I’m guessing sharpening them would remove some coating.


More Comments