About Needles 2 Pins

This introduction is dedicated to my mum who sadly passed away before seeing the publication of this website. RIP Mum 27/01/2019.

Hello from Karen and welcome to Needles 2 Pins which was formed following a lifetime’s experience of having been born into a family of haberdashery retailers and having then worked within the craft and haberdashery industry for 40 years. I have worked in field sales and managerial roles representing most of the major companies and brands within the craft and haberdashery industry from manufacturers of sewing needles, sewing boxes, knitting yarns, embroidery and sewing threads to wholesalers of haberdashery, quilting fabrics and everything needlework.

I have been given the nick-name of Needle Queen by my friends within the needle industry, which is probably most appropriate (a bold confession I know) as I am a “needle nerd”! Or do I mean a needle enthusiast? I am passionate about needles and pins and I love to share my knowledge and experience and to motivate and inspire you my fellow stitching enthusiasts through my website Needles 2 Pins and through my Needle and Pins Knowhow Talks.

Here is a brief insight into my story:

Some would say needles and pins are in my blood! I was born into a family of knitters, embroiderers and dressmakers and at the tender age of 6, I was introduced to my parents’ craft and haberdashery retail empire. They started trading in 1968 in Newark on Trent, Nottinghamshire in the United Kingdom and named their business Needlecraft. As their empire grew Handicrafts & Haberdashery was born next door and they operated 5 shops over a total of 30+ glorious years. I remember school holidays being spent behind the counter and in the stock room and to be honest I hated every minute of it. My older siblings were allowed to stay at home and play with friends whilst I went with Mum to the shop - the injustice of it all! However, little did I know at the time what fantastic grounding this would become and for which I will be eternally grateful.

Needlecraft Shop

My first experience of creating a piece of embroidery came in the 1970s when I was given an embroidery kit of a Chinese Dragon by one of Mum’s major suppliers at a traders’ exhibition we were attending. I remember sewing with Binca and creating a placemat at primary school, but this kit was something different and I look back now and see the combination of stitch work, sequins and metallic thread and I feel extremely proud of my achievement at the age of 10 or thereabouts.

Chinese Dragon Embroidery

My first experience of public speaking and providing talks came in the late 1970s and 1980s when Mum would put on fashion shows featuring the latest trends in yarns and knitwear at the time. We would tour the East Midlands visiting WI and local craft groups, modelling our knitted wares and providing commentary on what yarn to use and how to create such fabulous masterpieces of knitwear and always to be followed, of course, by coffee and cake. It is so nice to know some things never change!

In 1985 I put my knitwear design skills to the test and became a finalist in the Aero 200 Knitting Competition, a competition organised and held to celebrate 200 years of English knitting needle and crochet hook manufacture under the brand name of Aero, based in Redditch, Worcestershire UK. I sketched my design initially on paper and transferred it to graph paper and worked out the details of the colour, texture and stitches before picking up the knitting needles and creating the finished garment. My winning jumper was featured in a fashion show held at the Roof Gardens, Kensington, London and filmed by the BBC and formed part of The Clothes Show watched by the nation.

Aero Certificate

A few years ago I had the privilege to work for W. Williams & Son Ltd, established in 1819. Having a heritage spanning over 190 years they were indeed the oldest haberdashery wholesaler in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, they are no longer trading however to find out more and gain an insight into the fabulous array of products available in 1910 please read my blogs .