“ Brand: John James / Type: Needles „
I started 'real' knitting at the age of eleven - some 47 years ago now - when I knitted a little cardigan for my new baby sister. I had been doing bits and pieces before then as I was learning to knit but, from memory, this was the first actual garment that I knitted.
As anyone else who knits knows you cannot use ordinary sewing needles to sew up your knitting. The main reason for this is the fact that the wool would be too thick to go through the hole in the needle!
This is where Yarn Darners come in. These are needles just like ordinary sewing needles except for the fact that they are longer, thicker and have larger eyes for threading. These are then used for sewing up knitted or crocheted items and sewing in loose ends.
I still knit a lot of baby hats which I sell on EBay and I also make baby shawls using a Wendy Multi Needle to make individual daisies and then sewing them all together. I need a darner not only to make the daisies in the first place but also to sew them together once they are made.
The Yarn Darners that I bought were made by a company called John James and came in a pack of seven silver coloured needles which cost me around one pound to buy - a bargain in anyone's book!
John James is a British company based in Redditch who make a wide range of specialised hand sewing needles and accessories which are sold all over the world.
The seven needles are all different sizes numbers 14 to 18. Now, even though I am a knitter, I had no idea what these sizes actually represented. I bought the needles by sight - they looked as though they were the right sort of size and that the eyes would be large enough for me to thread wool through them.
After a bit of investigation I have found out the actual sizes for each number needles and they are as follows:-
The size 14 needle is 75mm in length and 2.03mm in diameter
The size 15 needles is 69mm in length and 1.83mm in diameter
The size 16 needle is 66mm in length and 1.63mm in diameter
The size 17 needle is 63mm in length and 1.42mm in diameter
The size 18 needle is 60mm in length and 1.27mm in diameter
When I bought the needles they were attached to a bright yellow and black piece of card, fitted through a plastic needle holder and covered with clear plastic to keep the needles in place and away from any danger of puncture!
The words on the packaging state 'Finest Quality Needles' and give the details of the type and size of the needles enclosed.
I purchased my pack of Yarn Darners from one of the suppliers listing on EBay but I have had a look on Google and they are available from quite a few suppliers. Of course they can also be purchased at any good haberdashers or wool shops.
I have found these needles to be ideal for my needs in sewing up my knitting and daisies. They are smooth and easy to thread and, importantly, are very strong. I do find that, sometimes, I need to put a bit of extra force into pulling the needle through the knitted work. Lesser needles have broken in the past, which in itself can be dangerous, but I haven't yet had that problem with John James Darners.
So there you are - if you are a knitter or indeed any kind of craft worker, I would recommend you get a pack of these needles. I promise you that you won't be disappointed.
Review of John James Yarn Darners.
~~What is a Yarn Darner?~~
Basically, Yarn Darners are a type of hand sewing needles. They are longer and thicker than normal sewing needles with long threading eyes which are used for spanning large holes during mending, using yarn or cotton and also for sewing up and darning in the loose ends on knitted or crochet work.
The John James Yarn Darners come in a packet containing 7 silver coloured sewing needles in sizes 14/18.
Size 14 75mm length x 2.03mm diameter
Size 15 69mm length x 1.83mm diameter
Size 16 66mm length x 1.63mm diameter
Size 17 63mm length x 1.42mm diameter
Size 18 60mm length x 1.27mm diameter
The needles are packaged in a very distinctive bright yellow and black cardboard case. The case has a see through plastic needle holder fitted to keep the needles secure. The actual needles sit in a white plastic holder, the sharp ends down facing, for reasons of safety. The strap line on the packaging states that these are 'Finest Quality Needles'.
John James is a trading name of Entaco, a company famous worldwide for the manufacture of specialised hand sewing needles and tools. The Entaco company is a privately owned British firm who are based in Redditch, Worcestershire. Redditch has been called the Needle Capital of the World.
The company produce a vast range of needles suited to many different crafts, from leather working through to cross stitch and embroidery.
~~Price and Availability~~
These needles are very reasonable in price, I believe I paid around £1 for this set from my local wool shop. The John James company also offer online ordering and their website currently offers these needles for 85p, plus P&P.
Their website is a fascinating one, it gives a really interesting glimpse into the history of needle manufacture in the UK.
~~My Thoughts and Conclusion~~
These needles are mainly used in my household for wool work. I enjoy knitting and these needles are perfect for my needs. There is one thing that annoys me about these needles, which actually has nothing to do with the needles, and that is that my 13 year old granddaughter finds it hilarious to keep saying "Yarn Darner" in a phoney American accent whenever she sees them in my work box!
I have used John James needles for many different craft projects over the years and have always found them to be of extremely good quality. The needles are very durable, they do not blunt easily and give years of service. I find these needles are easy to thread, even with the thickest ply yarns. They do not split the yarn on threading, as has happened on occasion with other needle brands I have used.
I fully appreciate that these needles would be of little interest to anyone who does not knit, crochet or enjoy craft work. Although this review is aimed at fairly limited audience, I feel it is good to hear of a British based company who are still going strong after a period spanning 300 years and still producing high quality goods at a sensible price.
To conclude, I would recommend John James Yarn Darners to anyone who has a need for this type of product.
Thank you for reading
©brittle1906 February 2012
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.