In December, I was fortunate enough to spend the morning with Tom Collingham, Vice President at Colonial Needle headquarters,in White Plains, New York. Not only did I learn a lot, which I am excited to share with you.
Honestly, I also had way too much fun on that very frigid morning, learning about needles, thread and notions. http://www.colonialneedle.com/
Colonial Needle is more than just a needle company, which I never knew. They have an amazing thread division; Presencia, notions and some other surprises to me, which I will get to later, in Part 2 of this post. They sell mostly to small independent shops.
Tom Collingham, Vice President and his wife Jameson, are the third generation of this quality-oriented family business, which is the sole distributor of English needles in the U.S.A.
A little quick history first. Jim Collingham, CEO, and his wife Terry, President, (second generation) are very active in the business too.
The beginning of this story starts in Watertown, New York. (Very, very cold winters. Just below Canada). Mr. Brabant was approached by F.W. Woolworth, and asked if he knew where he could purchase needles for his store. In 1925, Mr. Brabant found a supplier, Colonial Needle, in England and started a needle business in the U.S.
The small business eventually moved to 11 E. 31st. Street in New York City, then to Yonkers in the early 1990’s. Jim worked there after school and during summer vacations. Eventually he bought the entire company, and in 1999 they moved to a larger space in their current building in White Plains, NY.
Throughout the years Colonial Needles acquired Roxanne Needles, S.Thomas,
John James, Richard Hemmings, and Mary Arden. Interesting fact – Mary Arden was started by William Shakespere’s mother.http://www.colonialneedle.com/html/trade-tools.html
Colonial Needle offers a wide variety of needles for quilting, sewing, machine quilting, darning, weaving, crocheting and knitting. I enjoyed these displays, which is part of their archives. There’s a lot to be proud of here!!
Okay, how many of you have trouble remembering that the higher the number of the eye of the needle, the smaller the eye of the needle actually is? And the shorter the needle? This pop quiz only applies to hand sewing needles. I do!!
Below is a great visual to keep by your sewing machine. I had to photograph this in three parts, close-up so you can read it, and it’s still not as clear as I would like. I will find a camera or a scanner that will provide you with the entire chart all on one page, clearer, and re-post. It’s so helpful.