The Great Needle Quest!

Staying at home but shopping afar; International acquisitions.

One of the items I had wanted to pick up at the Peterborough fibre festival in the beginning of March were more needles. I was running low after the felted landscape workshop and I have three sheep workshops after we all get back together (hopefully without getting sick!). I had been online looking at needle options.

So I must stay at home and shop from afar.  Not quite as much fun as shopping in person.

I first looked at Amazon since I had had luck there before and noticed their needle prices were rising drastically but found one seller who described their needles as 3 sizes (20 of each) with a tube to hold them and a single needle handle. 3 unspecified gauges but obviously from the photos they were triangular needles. Well the price was not too bad so it was worth a try. The other one I ordered was a double pack of needles; 7 spirals and 7 stars. It too had gone up in price but I found the cheapest option and ordered them as well.

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The 60 needles and holder arrived within a couple weeks.  However, they were not quite what I was expecting. I seem to have 3 different shaft lengths of the same gauge of triangular needle. Not quite what I was hoping for but still useable.

 

The second purchase arrived a bit slower but was exactly the same as the cheaper ones I had bought before. There is a pack of 7 spirals and 7 stars.  Both seem to be around gauge 40. Since I actually felt more by feel with the needles (the resistance as the needle enters the wool).  The gauge isn’t as important when I am working but it is helpful to know when I am shopping.

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Ann had pointed out a source out of China that, even with shipping, was not horribly painful. It wasn’t quite as helpful that it kept shifting from Canadian dollars to US dollars so it wasn’t a sudden price increase but a poor exchange rate that I was looking at.

 

From the research I had previously done on industrial needles I had read snide comments about the quality of the needles from India by some of the Chinese industrial felting companies and similar comments from some of the Indian industrial felting companies about the needles from China. Since I still am waiting for a response from the German company I can’t buy from them. While digging through one of the German companies web sites I spotted a note about new “coating” for their needles.  It was to reduce breakage in the industrial machines and I am curious to see if they would have better flexibility for hand needle felters too. I would have expected experimentation in tempering but some mysterious coating sound intriguing but that will be a later needle quest if I can ever get a price list and shipping info from Groz-Beckert.

 

When Ann mentioned she wanted to buy Crown needles out of China this gave me the opportunity to try to acquire larger quantities of the standard needles.  I wanted a length that could go into the fake clover tool needle holders I had found. Therefore, 3 inch would be preferred. Ann wanted needles but not quite as many as I was wanting so we decided to get some together.  I would order and she would get some of what I purchased.  Shopping! It’s always fun, but more fun with friend’s!!!

 

She had been searching online as well and was really wanting to try out crown needles (gauge 40).  Crowns have less barbs but they are all very close to the tip. They are useful to hand needle felters as well as the industrial felters. Their working depth (the amount you have to push the needle into the fibre to engage the barbs and move the fibre) is very short. This means you don’t have to attack the felting violently, thrusting your needle into its bloodless carcass… sorry, got distracted for a moment.  Maybe I’m hungry. Shallower depth of penetration has the hope of reducing strain on the joints and muscle attachment sites. Especially the medial and lateral epicondyles which should reduce irritation from epicondylitis. Secondly, at this gauge there will be less surface distortion (pockmarks like an orange skin). Looking today there are more sizes available in the crown format; 40G, 42G, 43G, 46G. The manufacturer is a Chinese company and describes the Crown felting needle as “for mohair”.

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The second set of needles I ordered were just regular triangles. “400pcs/lot, 36G M333 triangular felting needles, 15*18*36*3 M333, coarse felting needle, merino wool fibre roving needle, 36 gauge”. These are good workhorse needles, great for getting core wool into shape quickly or aggressively moving fibre.

 

The shipping was a bit painful but overall the price was not too bad. I went with the Chinese manufacturer since I could not get a reply about prices from the Groz-brecket out of Germany. The shipping was to be through DHL. I also put in an order for more needle holders, a different type of needle holder, a drive band for my treadle sewing machine, a new awl and a veggie slicing holder (it looked like it had potential not for the veggies but for keeping needles and fingers well separated when working). Other than the two types of needles they were all coming form different sellers.  Most were postal except for the mysterious three letter delivery company who were shipping the needles.

 

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So I was unsure what was arriving when I received an all too unhelpful sticky note Thursday afternoon from UPS on the outside of my screen door left in the rain. I have been good and stayed at home so I was actually about 8 feet from the door, there was no knocking that I heard (I was not listening to Rammstein either). It very helpfully told me to go on line and pay cod charges. They had a very helpful non-human assistant who tried to answer questions but wasn’t able to tell what I was asking. My spelling isn’t that bad is it? oh and UPS says it has sent all its phone operators away due to the virus (which is good for the employees) and hangs up on me. Not helpful at all. I finally did figure out the pay online thing and went back to the tracking part of the site to see when my package would arrive.     Ah, now it’s on hold.    May be I should not have paid online and it would have arrived? I waited all day Friday checking the status…. Hold… No it’s still on hold, yep still on hold, hummm. I wonder where it is being held? (Kanata?)  It didn’t arrive over the weekend and I started watching again Monday. At least Monday I could play Runescapes’ new skill, archeology, while I waited as it continued to say Hold.  Strangely, it was there by the time Glenn got home from work. (His superior parcel skills, being a postal employee, likely helped). I went back and checked yet again on the tracking and yes it said it was delivered. Still with no knock on the door.

 

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So now the great mystery of which parcel was this? Ah, I bet it’s the one with the needles from the DHL shipping company. Unfortunately there had been a spelling error by the time it reached me and was delivered by UPS.

 

(Annoyed rant you can skip this part and just go on to the next bit) I have avoided UPS after having them charge duty on second hand books which did not actually require duty. This happened on a number of undutyable items so I have avoided the greedy company since. Yes yet again did they charge extra for doing the job they had already been paid to accomplish. I don’t mind paying the 8.08 GST but I object to an extra $10.00. because their letters are now spelt UPS. I would still like to get a box of either star or twisted 38’s. I will see it they have a slower non-3 lettered delivery service. Maybe a 4 letter one like Mail? (end of rant: you can resume reading normally now)

 

So let’s see what has arrived in the mysterious black plastic package! It’s heavy and doesn’t rattle. It’s too small for the needle holders, too big for the drive band, too heavy for anything but the 2 boxes of needles!! (I know, I palpate packages and am no fun at Christmas!)

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Opening it…..  there is another plastic protective layer! Well done! the suspense is going to kill me!! (but I have cleaning wipes so that won’t be a literal statement)

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Off with the next layer!!! Yes there are plastic boxes with, oh no, more (blue) tape. I could have been worse and been red tape.

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Ok tape, be gone! And I figured out the tab on the end, got it open and… oh wrapped in paper, that’s good; nice and secure.

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Carefully opening the paper and yes, there are needles!!!

 

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Success I am an international needle acquisitioner!

Now is there any hope that the Woolgrowers Co-Op is considered an essential service? I had better check their web site.  I only have 2 fleeces to wash as soon as it warms up a bit more. Then I could stick my hands in warm soapy water but I will remember not to agitate!

About Jan

Realy im not 12, i am just sivearly dislexic. i can spin, weave, felt, garden, Draw, Paint, and do layout but i realy cant spell. if you read out louwd i do make more sence.
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13 Responses to The Great Needle Quest!

  1. annielynrosie says:

    Yay! Glad you eventually got what you needed.

    Ha Ha! Watching you unwrap your parcel reminded me of a childhood party game called ‘pass the parcel’ when a child would take one layer of wrapping from a mystery parcel if it landed in their lap when the music stopped and so it went on until the prize was revealed.

    Oh yes, I have experienced waiting in for a parcel only to receive a message letting me know that the package was undelivered because no-one was home. And I know the doorbell had not rung nor the door been knocked.

    • Jan says:

      Thanks Annielynrosie!
      i must think positively UPS did eventualy bring the poacaage even if they employ doorbell challanged drivers. (i actualy have a door nocker, so that may be more challenging, since the rain hits that side of the house. some previouse occupent of this house took out the hard wired bell and when i bot the house i installed a pug in remote bell. it lasted till the next rain storm…. and i got the door nocker. a few years later we got a Dog who use to tell us if someone touched the door nocker. we miss him for many reasons including his door nocker amplification ability.)
      i was looking forword to cleening up the side yard and getting fleece washing and outdoor felting started but it looks like we may get an april fools day joke late. the wether says it may snow or rain today. it may be snow since i topdressed the grass yesterday in case it rained! blame me for the snow.
      Have fun stay Healthy Good shopping and keep your hands in soapy water!

  2. Yay. Now the needles are much closer to me, but still so far as we all stay home. I think UPS charges brokerage charges on everything even if they are not the broker. I am glad it was only $10 and not equal to the cost of goods or more. UPS has a real aversion to knocking. I am glad things seem to be arriving from China again. I have been waiting a long time for some small things and they have started to arrive this week.

    • Jan says:

      Yes Ann the needles are just North of you. (A lot closer!!) if you are intown shopping for some esental itum and bring a grabit from the doller store i will get my grabit and we should be close to the requierd distance to pass some of the crown needles to you!!
      i am looking forword to hearing if thay make your elbow happyer while felting. everything i have studyed suggests it should. just remember that larger muscle groups are stronger than smaller ones and that useing one joint to do all the movent will irritate it eventualy so try to ask larger mucles to asist the fine moter detail oriented ones in there work. (work mainly from the shoulder but also use elbow and a bit of rist) i will look forword to seeing what you do with them!

  3. ruthlane says:

    Glad your shopping adventure was successful. I haven’t tried to order anything online since lockdown started. But it would be fun to open a package 😉

    • Jan says:

      Thanks Ruth! Shopping can be fun, although its so much more fun in person. i was almost out of needles so it was an important quest. much of what amazon had posted for sail was also listed on the site out of china. the cost even with shipping was usualy cheeper out of china directly but the wate times are listed as much longer. i had refrained from shopping there for a number of resons but thay were the only ones that had the quonties i was interested in so it was worth a try. and it would be challenging to needle felt with out any needles!!!

      i use to shop on ebay and allways request Prity Stamps for my elderly fother in law who was collecting them. he is now 92 and has stoped working on his stamp collection. but it was fun to get pacages from all over the world with cool stamps!

      at this time of extra time at home to felt, sew, read, spin, weave and soon garden. its nice to get a misterious pacage in the mail! and if it takes a while to arive you can more easily forget what you asked for and let it be a grate suprize when you open it!
      Have fun and stay helthy!!

  4. Kathryn says:

    All this information is great, but I do not want to purchase any supplies from China anymore if there is any way possible to avoid it, due to the disease they have unleashed on the world.

    • annielynrosie says:

      ‘Heidifeathers’ sells from her own website – https://www.heidifeathers.com/ – and on Etsy. I have bought needles and a mat from her and I am very happy with the quality.
      There is a lot of lovely information on her site and her blog.

      She sells from England but posts Worldwide – overseas orders are freepost if over £50 so perhaps if you’re abroad you could get together with a friend to order?

  5. Jan says:

    Annielynrosie i think she has been able to get Groz-Beckert to sell her needles. most of the other amazon sellers (she also sells there), are itums ive seen out of china.

  6. I’m glad you finally received your orders and are ready to create! That’s all I’ve been doing is ordering online, so frustrating at times, especially when you don’t get what you ordered. Particularly, groceries. I’m waiting for a few packages from China. I wonder if they’ll arrive before Christmas!. Enjoy using your new supplies!

    • Jan says:

      HI Marilyn! there is hope for your paccages eventual apearrence! My Hubby is going in tomorow to do overtime parcel sorting and i think delivery with the Ottawa Potal service. on Thorsday 2 of his missing birthday presents from Mid March arived!! all safe and sound just a bit slow.
      Grocerys has been a bit challanging so far most of what i have on my list is ariveing sometimes hubby dosnt quite get what i requested and that makes for more interesting meals. At least we have food, and are both resonably healthy (stupid snow mold allergy). i think there will be a lot of us on line checking out substitutions and resipy suggestions!
      i am looking forword to felting, i have been watching wet and dry felting vidios today and theroly enjoyed myself. tomorow is archeallagy of the dining room table, i know it is there somewhere jsut have to find it!
      have fun and keep helthy!

    • Jan, we are in a whole new dimension of our world. I’m glad you’re enjoying your journey into the YouTube Felting world! I look forward to your future creations!

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