I returned from the mailbox giddy as a 7th grade girl. I tore open the smallish envelope before I even walked in the door.
Now you might think receiving a bunch (18) of needles was no biggie. But it was to me! Literally.
These babies had bigger than average eyes. Not exactly Anya Taylor-Joy (think "The Queen's Gambit") or even Bette Davis eyes, but big enough to thread a needle easy-peasy.
I had been having trouble threading needles since the start of the pandemic. I recently had undergone cataract surgery. While most things now appeared, thankfully, clearer, sharper and brighter, threading a needle was almost impossible.
I thought about looking for needles with bigger eyes in March when COVID began to dominate our vernacular. Back in BC (Before COVID), I wouldn't have thought twice about making a stop at a fabric supply store.
But now I didn't want to go inside a store for just one thing (just like I don't go to the supermarket anymore for, say, a single can of soup. I will, however, take my chances to buy a full load of groceries. I don't know if it makes any sense, but maybe you can relate).
It was the day after Christmas, and my husband Allan and I had no plans. Still needleless, I googled "needles with bigger eyes."
Amazon and Etsy came to the rescue. There were dozens and dozens of suppliers at both sites, but I settled on one on Etsy.
I made my first ever purchase with a company called QuiltingSundries. I picked it because it got all five star ratings, and I liked the price--under $5 including tax and shipping.
The old-timey fonts and design appealed to me, too. In my mind, they equaled a solid, longtime needle manufacturer.
The reviews and my instincts proved correct. The needles arrived fast-- the Tuesday after Christmas. They were perfect for my needs. Made of steel, not plastic, like some other needles companies had offered. The invoice also came with a handwritten personal note, a touch that touched me.
Although my grandmother had been known for embroidering intricate floral patterns on tablecloths and cloth napkins and handkerchiefs, I inherited no such skills. I am not, I repeat, not, a great seamstress.
I took sewing classes back in the 1980s and actually made a dress (with a zipper!), but whatever lessons I learned back then, are long gone as is the dress. All I have to show for my effort are some really good scissors, which I purchased for the class.
Now, I needed needles with bigger eyes to mend an array of items that needed mending.
Within five minutes of examining my new needles, I threaded one of them on my first try. Then I darned a sock with a hole. I stitched up an afghan that my mom knitted.
I attached a button that had come off my peacoat. I fixed a couple of nice sweaters that either time or moths had gotten to as well as a worn-but-warm flannel nightgown that was ripped at the seam.
Holy moly, I was on a roll! I even sewed up some underpants, which had revealed parts of me that weren't meant to be revealed.
On reflection, it occurred to me that something as tiny as a needle had made me so, sew-happy! And I realized in this time of COVID, or really any time in our lives, sometimes it's the little things and seemingly small moments that matter, are most meaningful, that bring the most joy.
It's not the new car or diamond necklace or the new shirt you just HAD to have.
It's a hike in the woods. Holding hands with a loved one while couch-potato-ing in front of the TV. The first bite of a deep-dish pizza (Lou Malnati's!). Sharing a belly laugh with your bff. Spotting a bright red cardinal on a gray winter day.
And although it often feels elusive, sometimes you can find happiness going through the eye of a needle. Or your own version of it.
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