Finishing The Family

Grainy phone picture of hands working on something set up on an ironing board.

The next challenge was to work out how to attach the Family to the navy blue velvet stele I had prepared for them. It was a bit too awkwardly sized for the various tables I have tried to work on – or they were at entirely the wrong height – so I ended up perched on a stool beside the ironing board.

What’s the phrase? Adapt, improvise, and overcome!

Close up of a curved needle, mid-stitch.

I keep trying to make use of my Grandmama’s curved needles. For some reason it has become one of those skills I am determined to master. Goodness, I wish I’d asked Grandmama how she managed!

In this case, I began to feel that maybe I was getting the hang of the idea. Gradually. Work speeded up a little after I managed to remove a burr from the point, restoring the proper sharpness.

Photographer hard at work, the Family upside down on their easel.

I was a bit baffled to begin with as to how to remove that burr, but a question on Mastodon elicited several replies in varying detail. I used a nail file, since you ask (lowest tech solution), although one of my friends suggested a dart sharpener – which I never even knew was a thing that existed!

I have a lot of mounting embroidery in my future, so I suppose I am going to get the hang of it – or go stark crazy, of course, always an option!

Anyway, several stitching sessions later – the Family had to stand on their heads for their closeups, to bring themselves into reasonable range of the camera!


  1. Sue Jones says:

    I have never managed to achieve anything useful with a curved needle. Well done! From what I can see upside down at a distance, the end result looks good.

  2. I have never got the hang of manoeuvring a curved needle. It’s like sailing against the wind – a bother!
    Clear tip, that of using a nail file to sharpen the needle.
    The photos will come out great, I am sure.

  3. Lin says:

    Such awkward things to work with but I can see you had no other option.

  4. Carolyn Foley says:

    I am only good at sewing up feed bags for the horses with those needles.
    I am be joining you with doing my own framing. My framer of over 40 years is closing down.

  5. Yes, curved needles are frustrating, but once you get the hang of them they do become slightly less so, and sometimes you get it right for more than two stitches at a time and think, “wow, these are exactly what I need”. I have found Sarah Homfray’s video on how to hold them helpful, and I think I use a slightly smaller one than the one you have there, which may or may not be helpful!
    You must be getting the occasional little flicker of excitement fluttering now as things start to come together? Not to mention pride in all you have achieved x

  6. AJ House says:

    Even if you get the hold finally right I don’t think you ever ‘get the hang’ of curved needles! I often use a fine nail file on a good needle. Just a gentle one direction swipe is usually enough. Despite having hundreds of the things, I’m still not willing to just start a new one! Mean I know.

  7. Alex Hall says:

    Sounds like I’m not the only one who struggles with curved needles. I find that they just want to twist round in my grip, so if you do manage to master the art, please share!

  8. Jillayne says:

    It alway takes me a minute or two to get in the groove with curved needles but once I do it’s fairly smooth going. I would have guessed a nail file, followed by a few slides through emery powder, which is the same thing really I suppose, except it smooths all around.