Festival of Broken Needles
On February 8, 2017, during our Wednesday morning stitch-in we celebrated The Festival of Broken Needles. Starting 400 years ago women in Japan celebrate Hari-Kuyo, the Festival of Broken Needles. Those who rely on needles for their livelihood come together at shrines to acknowledge their tools and give thanks for the hard work they (the needles) have done during the year. Additionally the women pray that their skills will improve in the next year.
Traditionally seamstresses, embroiderers and the like take a day off from their work and bring their bent and broken needles and pins to their temple or shrine. As they pay their respects (which is similar to a memorial service), they stick the needles and pins into a block of tofu. The soft tofu is supposed to soothe the needles after their year of hard labour.
Although there was no tofu, thank you to Deb for baking two cakes served with cream and berries. A yummy celebration treat.
A number of the members shared their well-loved or favourite sewing tools. Included was a small ruler that was made from a recycled antique ivory key, embroidered postcards from World War I, knitting needle holders from Holland, tatting box with shuttles, old crochet hooks, a niddy noddie, old tracing paper with tracing wheel, Dorcas sewing needles, an old awl, 1923 Sewing Manual, 1937 Practical Sewing Book, a skirt marker, needlework books, a needle cases that was made by a member’s daughter, a needle case made by a member when she was in grade 7 home-ec, a needle case a member received as a gift 30 years ago and other various items. It was obvious that the telling of the stories around the items evoked wonderful memories.