When it comes to embroidery, it would be nice if all the supplies, all the tools, all the fibers, all the fabrics, all the lights, all the stitching aids, all the *everything* that we like and use with our needlework were universally usable for every single person, no matter what.
Often, it’s simply not the case. Allergies, sensitivities, physical difficulties with vision, with motor skills, and more – all of these things can hinder the pursuit of needlework.
Sometimes, many who love embroidery, who find happiness, a sense of calm, relaxation, or alleviation of stress with needle and thread, end up giving it up altogether because of some hinderance that is hard to overcome.
They lose something beautiful in their lives.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if they were able to find solutions to their difficulties, that would keep them stitching?
These are topics I’d like to address more frequently on Needle ‘n Thread. I would love to hear from fellow stitchers who either have a solution to a specific hardship that would have kept them from stitching, or from folks who are looking for a solution to some difficulty that’s keeping them from stitching.
I think it’s important to address these challenges and to share the solutions to them! And we can do this best when we all put our heads together! Please feel free to contact me if you have some experience and input on the topic!
Lately, I’ve had a few emails from stitchers who love embroidery, quilting, or hand-sewing, but who suffer from a nickel allergy.
A nickel allergy often results in a very irritating case of contact dermatitis – an itchy rash that develops when the sufferer comes into contact with nickel. It is not pleasant, and it tends to put those who are nickel-allergic completely off handwork that involves needles. Why? Because the majority of commonly available needles today are coated with nickel. It’s what keeps them smooth and shiny in an affordable way.
There is a solution to the problem, though!
The solution is to invest in needles that are not nickel coated, or that have so little nickel in them that they are not problematic.
Mostly, these are stainless steel needles. There are some gold-coated needles out there that will sometimes do the trick, but for the most part, you’ll find a wider variety of stainless steel needles available than you will of gold-coated needles.
The Needle Lady
Whenever I run into someone (figuratively – usually it happens via email, social media, or here on the blog) who has a nickel allergy and is desperately seeking a solution, I refer them to Pam.
Yes, Pam! Pam is The Needle Lady. She really is! She understands specific needle problems that stitchers face and she has worked long and hard to create solutions for them. I admire that!
There are a few issues with needles that Pam has solved. One of the most prevalent is this one: “I can’t thread a needle.” Her solution was to invent the Spiral Eye needle, which is the easiest threading needle out there. I’ve written about Spiral Eye needles here, and followed up with more about them here.
Pam has also addressed the nickel allergy problem. You can read her article comparing stainless steel needles here.
She stocks the various stainless steel needles that she compares, so that you can easily add them to your tool box without having to hunt them down elsewhere online.
If you are suffering from a nickel allergy – if you find you develop a rash or itchy, burning skin when you use a needle – visit Pam. She’ll set you up with the needles you need to overcome this unpleasant difficulty.
And voilà! You’ll be back to stitching comfortably in no time!
No affiliation here. I sincerely admire the work Pam has done to make accessible needles for stitchers, and I hope that anyone out there trying to overcome needle difficulties will find a solution through her website!