Monday, September 19, 2011

Emery Cushions

I have had a few requests for more information about tatting needle emery cushions so I dug out my packages of emery powder and did a little research.
Pictured above is the package of emery powder I use to make my tatting needle cushions.  Mine was purchased from Pat at the Stitcher's Workshop.  Inside the bag is a very informative leaflet relating all sorts of info on emery.  Essentially, emery gets its name from Cape Emeri on the Greek island of Naxos.  It has been mined there for over 2,000 years!  Emery is basically aluminum oxide- it is non-toxic, yet very hard & abrasive.
Emery being used to polish and sharpen needles and pins is a relatively new usage that came into being with the invention of the steel needle.  Steel rusts, which presented problems for needle workers.  Today's nickel plated needles will also tarnish and have some discoloration due to natural body oils found on our skin.  Hence, the use of emery.
I am rather particular about my personal tatting needle emery cushions.  I use an inner pocket to place the emery in that is a very tight weave fabric & sew it firmly shut.  This inner pocket is placed within a larger outer pocket made of crushed velvet- the upholstery grade NOT the cheap stretchy kind.  If it is needed, I will fill the remaining space with polyfill or even cotton batting.  This produces a tightly packed emery cushion that is very efficient in cleaning my tatting needles.  I run the needles completely through and saw them back & forth.  (Whatever is needed to keep them clean & smooth.)  I prefer the crushed velvet as it seems to having a buffing effect on the tatting needles.  Hope this has been of help to those who have emailed and messaged!

I did have a nice surprise in the mail this afternoon-  the rocaille beads I need to finish the necklace project finally arrived!!!  I hope to work on the necklace some this evening and have the finished piece ready for your viewing by the end of the week.

This lovely spider was perched on a leaf of the hornbean by my outdoor tatting chair.  Isn't she pretty?  I wonder what kind of web she will be spinning in my piney woods.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Deadline for the Halloween Give Away is September 21st!!!
To enter for your chance to win, simply click on the google "Join this Site" button to the right just below the poll.  The winner will be picked by a random number generator & notified Thursday morning, September 22nd via email.

Have a wonderful day, until tomorrow~
Happy Tatting!


  1. I have an emery pin cushion that I love, but I've never tried making one. I remember reading a bobbin lacer's comment that she didn't like using emery because it took the finish off the pins. Have you ever had that problem? I've been trying to find further information on this, but I haven't found anything. I'd love to get your take on it!

  2. I was very interested in your emery story, I have seen the island, we were going to another island to visit a volcano. I have never done needle tatting but I am interested in having a go at it, 40 years as a shuttle tatter time I tried something new.
    I am not sure about your spider, I am glad shes not near me, I would run a mile, but thank you for sharing the picture it was nice to look at her.

  3. Aluminum oxide? Who knew!

    Thanks for a good read, as always.
    Fox : )

  4. My mom had a pin cushion that was filled with very fine sand (as it was supposed to sharpen the needles).

    I realize that emery is probably the best choice, but do you think this would be an acceptable alternative?