Friday, February 8, 2013

ode to the needle


the japanese tradition of honouring broken needles
all over japan, and indeed the whole world, many women will gather together their broken needles and lay them to rest in a simple ceremony
some at shrines or buddhist temples, some in backyards, parks, forests

we find our shrines where we need to, i think

i haven't yet decided where i will place mine...

below is a needle case i designed to teach at the needle arts guild in whitehorse many years ago

silk threads on linen in counted thread embroidery

it's my "fancy-dress" needle case
 inside is wool felt to keep the needles sharp

and on the back is a charming poem i found in an old needlework book
(the author was not credited)
those four lines have become my mantra over the years....
below is the very first sewing case i made

it was on the cover of a needlework magazine down at our local bookstore and i was instantly drawn to it - that was the first needlework magazine i ever bought!
i spent a lot of time trying to find the linen
and even longer making it

 i use this every single day when i am at home but it doesn't travel with me as i am so terrified of losing it

i made it in 1989
and thank goodness i did find that linen or it would have been long worn out by now!

i loved it so much i designed my own version for my class project when i took my teaching course through The Embroiderer's Guild of America

i loved counted thread embroidery

and hearts were very popular in cross-stitch back then
this one is worked on cotton fabric with flower thread and so it goes in my travel case as it wouldn't get much wear and tear
i just noticed the thread fluff in the photo but don't have time to re-take it!

i found a different version of the poem that was featured in the first case

and below is a beautiful case made for me by a lady i work with
she knows how much i love crazy-quilting

beautifully stitched with a special place for many needles

and plenty of space to store the bent and broken ones!

i have always said that whenever i pick up my needle
the world seems to float away
and i am lost in the rhythm of the stitch
 the glint of needle

i do love this little poem
and recite it often in my head
and the other one that comes to mind?

"i pray that risen from the dead
i may in glory stand
a halo perhaps upon my head
but a needle in my hand"

 susan from "plays with needles" blog is hosting a link up event so please head over there to check out all the different blog posts about the ever wonderful, ever giving needle!


Createology said...

Jillayne Dear this post is such a beautiful tribute to needles and stitching. Your work is precise and sew very neat. This glimpse into your love of stitchery is a treasure. Thank you for sharing my friend. Stitching Bliss for certain...

Wendy said...

You have such a beautiful array of needle cases! would you believe I have only one? I didn't even make it, it was made by a blogging buddy! I do have a kit to make a Lynette Anderson case and I want to make one with different pages for different kind of needles, I just never seem to get round to it.

As for broken needles, I've never broken a hand sewing needle. I have broken loads of machine needles, they live in a little box with bent pins!

Marj Talbot said...

Those needle books are so gorgeous - words cannot express their real beauty. It makes me want to do more cross stitch. They are real treasures that will live forever. And when you are risen from the dead, you will stand in glory and there will for sure be a halo on your head. Love your work, love you and love your sharing.

Dorthe said...

Dear Jillayne,
I never heard of that tradition, but what a special thing to do, and to honour what for many people back then was a very importent tool, if they wanted to be dressed in new clothes ,now and then, is wonderful I think.
Your needlebooks are all very beautiful, and romantic, -so lovely sewn dear,-and I love you have the first one you ever embroidered,still.Such lovely poems, too.
Also the gift for you, is absolutely beautiful.
Hope you are well, and wishes you a lovely weekend.

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

It just goes to show that sewing needles were a most treasured item in the Japan of yesteryear.
A beautiful ceremony - and precious tradition to uphold.

We take for granted such a simple item today and have many packets of needles to choose from when one is blunt.

Love your first Needle Keep so beautifully stitched and a very sweet quote for an embroiderer.

Shane ♥

Bead and Needle said...

So, THAT's where needles go to die! This is a lovely post - the needle cases are SO beautiful - I admire anyone who does counted cross stitch, for they have better eyes than I! What great treasures - Happy weekend, Jillayne...Tanya

Susan Elliott said...

I feel so much calmer having read your poetry and seen the needle traditions you have established for yourself. The poems are lovely and the cases even moreso. You are truly a venerable needle keeper. Not only do you honor your needles with the beauty of their cases, you honor the cases as well. A truly soulful way to honor those little tools. Happy Harikuyo indeed.

Miriam said...

Beautiful work and a beautiful post.

I love your poetry, especially that you stitched it onto your needlebooks.

Suztats said...

Seeing your needlebooks tempt me to make another for myself. They are beautiful! I love the verses you've stitched into them. Happy Harikuyo!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Jillayne,

I really enjoyed this post and have heard before of this Japanese tradition. Such a lovely way to honour the humble and beautiful needle.
Your needled cases are all so very beautiful and love the little verses that you have worked on them.
Thank you for showing us your wonderful work.
Enjoy the weekend

JennyPennyPoppy said...

What a lovely post Jillayne and all of your needle books look so wonderful. I especially like the verses and have jotted them down to remind myself to be thankful for the precious needles I derive so much pleasure from.

Michelle May said...

What a wonderful post girlfriend. I really love that crazy quilted case. Beautiful!