"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Yes, there actually is a Thread the Needle Day (on July 25) -- I don't make this stuff up! (Why there is a Thread the Needle Day, I haven't a clue, but since there is one, we should celebrate it together!)
Whether you're a tailor, seamstress, upholsterer, surgeon or just someone with a toe poking through a sock, almost anyone can sew. It all starts with choosing the right sewing needle.
"Sharps" are the most common type of needle, but there are plenty of others, too. There are "ballpoints" used for sewing knits, "betweens" used for tailoring, "bodkins" meant for threading elastic, "crewel" needles used for embroidery, "darning needles" meant for...darning (duh), "glovers" used for sewing leather, "milliners" used for basting and pleating (and hat-making, too, I suppose), "sail maker" needles used for sewing thick canvas, and "upholstery needles" used for sewing heavy fabrics, tufting or for tying quilts.
That's probably more than you will ever need to know (or ever wanted to know) about needles. Now once you've chosen the right tool for the task at hand, cut a strand of thread, string, yarn, or filament long enough to sew up the deal. And with just a little spit to keep the ends moist and together -- pass, loop, or wind it through the eye.
Threading a needle is easier said than done -- ya', ya', ya'...I know, I need to wear my bifocals -- and for the visually or hand-eye coordination challenged, there's always one of those wiry needle threading thingies that for some reason always seem to have the profile of Marie Antoinette embossed on them. But I digress.
The infamously undersized openings are mentioned metaphorically in holy passages from Judaic, Christian and Islamic texts. Each religion has parables referencing the complexities of the material world (not material in the cloth sense, but material in the material sense) emhasizing the difficulty of change and the absurdity of our resistance to it even when something better is guaranteed. And there ya go...we bury our feet in the sand and the act of moving forward becomes kinda' like passing something a whole lot bigger than thread through the eye of a needle.
To the uninformed, Thread the Needle Day is a celebration of those who baste, darn, embroider, hem, patch, tat or seam (Garment Workers of the World, Unite!). But looked at from a slightly different angle, we have a day that acknowledges the intense amount of energy and concentration it takes to walk that fine line, wrestle with difficulties, and overcome the distractions and obstacles life throws our way. (Teetering near a small "steaming pile" with the risk of falling into yet an even bigger one!)
Take for instance the example of "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Andersen, a fairy tale about traveling tailors and a self-involved leader who is eventually conned into wearing elegant duds supposedly invisible to people who are too dim-witted to recognize their true beauty, when it is really he who is too dim-witted to know that he is "butt nekked." I'm guessing that none of you reading this has marched or run before a crowd in the raw (recently that is). I'm also willing to wager that the closest thing to "nude" or "running" that most of us ever experience in adulthood is an unfortunate tear in a certain shade of pantyhose -- whether you're wearing them or bellyaching about them drip-drying in the bathroom. But here's a truly magical trick to prevent runs in new pantyhose...
First, wash the newly unwrapped pantyhose by hand and allow them to air dry. Then mix two cups of salt with one gallon of water and soak them for three hours. Just rinse them in cool water, and hang them up again till they're dry as a bone. This will make your new hosiery stronger and less apt to run while you strut, stride or swagger.
Thread the Needle day is when each of us can courageously change the things we can, even if it's just our pantyhose (ooh -- that was bad, even for me!). No matter what your situation, in stitches, threadbare, or in a love-knot, we all can sew seeds for the future. And like that little kid in "The Emperor's New Clothes" who shouted to the crowd what was really going on, speak truth to power, get through that proverbial eye of the needle, and embrace the changes in life that are certainly awaiting you.
Remember, threading that needle is change, and change is a choice...sew suture self.
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