How to use two fabulously inventive laying tools for stitching

 Now that the Major Football Game is over, we move on to celebrate the next holiday: National Inventor's Day! It's this week, February 11. Time to honor creative people for enabling us to do things like zip up a jacket, ride an elevator, turn on a light, microwave lunch, play with bubble wrap, and write with a pen.

"Many inventors go their whole life without recognition for their creation while others are household names," cites www.nationaldaycalendar.com. "Nearly everything around us is the result of someone tinkering in their garage, laboratory or basement trying to find a solution to a problem."

The list of people to thank is infinite: the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, George Washington Carver, Alfred Noble, Louis Braille, plus Clarence Birdseye, Ernie Fraze, Mary Phelps Jacob, and Jerry Kreinik…

Yes, the creator of Kreinik threads for cross stitch, needlepoint, crochet, knitting, weaving, crafting and fly fishing invented many things during his lifetime of engineering. He holds the patent for dustless and instant-igniting charcoal. He worked on textiles for submariners and polar explorers, on zippers, buttons and fastener technology (like the D ring used by millions today). We asked son Doug Kreinik to name a few of Jerry's inventions: "He worked on knitted paper fabric for dresses, foam plastic furniture, resins for table top creations using fabric inserts, many jigs for lean manufacturing, rain proof fabrics, nylon evenweave fabric for needlepoint inserts…" And the list goes on.

Speaking of needlepoint, let's use National Inventor's Day as a chance to explore two rather helpful tools that someone created to make stitching easier. In our year of "The ABCs of Kreinik," we come to:

Bodkin
B is for Bodkin and Bent Weaver's Needle

A stitcher can use either one of these unique tools to help guide threads into place. The result? Your stitching will look more beautiful.

WHAT'S A BODKIN?
  • A kind of needle with a large eye designed for threading tape, cording, or ribbon through something.
  • Back in the olden days when drawstrings were main fasteners, these were pretty useful for keeping yourself together.
  • If you're cord has ever retreated back into the waistband of your sweatpants or hood of your jacket, you know how annoying that can be. A Bodkin is kind of like the safety pin you use to pull the end back out.
  • There are several types of Bodkins. Kreinik's version is flat and has two eyes (a large square eye and a long slot) for threading different types of materials.
  • Sharper-point Bodkins  are used in fly fishing for more precise placement of fibers (in making flies).
Bent Weaver's Needle
WHAT'S A BENT WEAVER'S NEEDLE?

HOW DO I USE THEM?

For cross stitch, needlepoint and embroidery:
  • Use either as laying tools to help you lay a thread smoothly on your design. So whether you do cross stitch, needlepoint, or embroidery, these tools will make your stitches look better.
  • As you make your stitch, hold the Bodkin or Bent Weaver's Needle in your other hand and stroke the thread, encouraging it to lay flat or smooth as the stitch is placed. Stroke the thread as many times as needed until the fibers look good, even, smooth, flat, etc, then complete your stitch.
For sewing, quilting, or finishing:
  • Use them to thread a ribbon, shoelace, elastic, or cord through a hem or seam (as in a drawstring bag). Thread your ribbon/cord/etc through the eye or slot, and let the pointed end be the forward end, easily guiding the material through the channel.
  • Use the flat Bodkin to keep a ribbon from twisting as it is threaded through the hem/seam/channel.
Celebrate both on National Inventor's Day

Both the Bodkin and Bent Weaver's Needle were invented to make stitching something easier. Get one of each and see how they work (Kreinik's are very inexpensive). Then take a moment on February 11 to thank the inventor's of both, plus anyone who looked at a need or problem and came up with a creative solution. If you're a stitcher, keep creating and experimenting. If you're a teacher, keep encouraging out-of-the-box thinking. If you're a tinkerer, keep tinkering. It's always good to make life better, easier, safer, and more fun, yes?


10 places to get more information:
  1. Purchase a Kreinik Bodkin: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Bodkin.html
  2. A 1912 Bodkin patent: https://www.google.com/patents/US1081604 (great illustration and description of usage in sewing)
  3. A 1906 Bodkin patent: https://www.google.com/patents/US822728 (also useful in understanding how they work in sewing)
  4. Marth Edlin's bodkin, from the Victoria and Albert Museum: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/videos/m/video-martha-edlins-casket/ (can you spot the flat bodkin?)
  5. Elegant Arts Antiques extensive study of bodkins throughout history: http://elegantarts.com/Newsletter2.pdf
  6. Purchase a Kreinik Bent Weaver's Needle: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Bent-Weavers-Needle.html
  7. Purchase a Kreinik Bent Weaver's Needle, gold pated: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Gold-Plated-Bent-Weavers-Needle.html
  8.  "What's a laying tool?" by mary Corbet, http://www.needlenthread.com/2011/10/whats-a-laying-tool.html
  9.  Inventors behind 10 of the most useful inventions ever: http://www.businessinsider.com/ten-inventions-you-never-knew-had-inventors-2011-3
  10.  13 inventors you've never heard of: http://mashable.com/2013/11/15/inventors/#ajDsy5xKpiqR

Kreinik Gold Needle Safe

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