Hand Needles and their numbering systemI've always been flummoxed by the numbering on hand needles. I thought that the larger the needle, the larger the number should be. It was confusing to me and I think to a few other handwork and hand sewing people too.
However, the other day I was remembering a book about inventions I had read years ago. One story really struck me. It was about King C. Gillette. One day in about 1895 the idea that he called a safety razor came to him. Back then they had straight razors and had to sharpen them on a strop back and forth. (Leather belt like thing.) I remember my dad doing that.
So Mr. Gillette had the safety razor but it had no blade. No one made steel thin enough to fit into the razor. After many tries he was about to give up. Finally in 1903 (eight years later) someone came up with a method of rolling the steel thin enough to fit into the razor. And the rest is history.
Now I know that the hand needles had to go through the same process. The processes and technology had to evolve in order to make the first large, wider needles smaller and thinner, little by little. Maybe that's why the finest needles have the largest numbers.
No more confusion for me. Yea! I love reading.