A good needle for Sashiko can make a significant difference in Sashiko stitching. One of the factors we need to be attentive is the size of Sashiko Needle Eye. There is a reason why we use only 2 kinds of needles (Both the same length, a slightly different Sashiko Needle Eye size, and from different manufacture). Even for a minor topic like this, Sashiko Needle Eye, we have a lot to share.
I received an honest feedback from a customer:
“I expected the ‘big eye’ needle to have a larger eye than the first ones I ordered, so I am disappointed with those”
I feel sorry when I hear that the customer experience the disappointment. For this case, it happened because I didn’t explain (or clarify) well enough on the product page the reason why we have the needle with the small eye.
Sashiko Needle to do Sashiko
The fundamental purpose of Sashiko is(was) to repair, mend, and strengthening the fabric. Over time, the Japanese enjoyed Sashiko for the decorative purpose, but they also practiced Sashiko for the purpose of making the fabric “better” – thicker, warmer, and stronger.
A needle with a large eye will reduce the stress of threading the needle. However, the bigger the size of thread is, the more risk we have in damaging the fabric. The impact to the fabric may be insignificant for a few times, but over time, Sashiko could damage the fabric instead of making it better. It may not be significant when we work on the strong fabric, like the new fabric. However, when we work on the vintage fabric, the size of Sashiko Needle Eye can be critical.
Therefore, the Sashiko Needle eye has to be as similar thickness as possible to the body, as straight as possible from the tip to the end.
To ordinary for me to explain.
Since we have been using the Sashiko needle for more than a couple of decades, we don’t have much trouble of threading the needle. It was too ordinary for me to mention about the necessity of the size of Sashiko needle eye until I get the feedback. When I wrote the article about the Sashiko needle we use, I didn’t emphasis enough to educate our customers (I mentioned about the importance of the Sashiko needle eye, of course.)
Sashiko Needle Recommendation
We recommend two very similar Sashiko needle from 2 different manufactures. One is offered from Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya, and another is from Tulip Needle. Both of them are in super high quality. I don’t think I can do Sashiko with other needles. Although the both Sashiko needle eye are small in comparison to the other needle in the market, the majority of Sashiko thread (All of the Sashiko thread we offer) can be threaded smoothly. It may require some experience and technique, but it is doable. I mean, I thread the needle every day & in every live streaming, so you can do it.
*It is perfectly fine to use a threader, of course.
The Sashiko needle Atsushi uses
I personally prefer this needle. So, when you see the needle on my Live streaming or other video on Youtube, this is the needle on the picture.
A super sharp needle tip with the flexible body with 51.5 mm length is the must-have item for our Sashiko projects.
Big Eye Straight from Tulip Needle
Another great, supreme quality needle is manufactured by the long-established needle company, called Tulip. To serve the purpose of “the Sashiko needle eye as the similar thickness as the needle body”, this is the best needle.
Please find the details in the separate article.
Although it says “Big Eye”, the difference of the Sashiko Needle Eye between these 2 kinds are very insignificant. This is because we needed to keep the needle size as 51.5 mm as well as as similar thickness as through the main to the end of the needle.
I imagine, the Tulip company named the needle, “Big Eye Straight” in comparison to the other needle they manufacture. This is a part of explanation I didn’t clarify enough. It is not “Big Eye” in comparison among our product selection.
No needle is wrong
Above said, you can use any needle you prefer. We just use the needle we enjoy the most & for the best possible outcome.
We have a good proverb for a master and his tool.
弘法は筆を選ばない | Kobo ha Fude wo Erabanai = A good workman does not blame his tools. It is true statement, but if a good workman has a choise of getting his favorite tool, I believe he would choose the one he enjoy the most.
What we share is merely our preference & selection based on our experience & wisdom. Please do not take as a “rule” or something you need to follow enjoy Sashiko.
However… a good needle will change your Sashiko experience, and you may never return to the other needles for your Sashiko project… Enjoy Sashiko!