Did you know that National Thread the Needle Day — observed on July 25 each year, has multiple different ways to celebrate? This is all because the phrase itself “Thread the needle” has a lot of different meanings in the English language, and so, this day invites different kinds of celebrations depending on what you prefer.
History of National Thread the Needle Day
While the origins of this idiom, and the subsequent day, are a mystery, we do know that it has been used for more than 70 years. “Threading a needle” has seen fairly frequent usage in sports reporting, with many also using this idiom in its literal sense.
As for the history of sewing with needles, archeologists believe a form of sewing has been around since the prehistoric ages. Early men needed to tie together animal skins, and they probably used thorns and sharpened rocks to do so. Archeologists have even discovered needles made of bone dating back hundreds of years across various counties, suggesting humans have been “threading the needle” so to speak, for an incredibly long time. The precursor to the sewing needle was a form of wire, made of gold and bronze. By the 10th century, needle-making saw a breakthrough with the introduction of steel, and the needleworking industry developed in full swing.
Threading has been recorded as one of the banes of needle design. Multiple early needle designs in the 19th century attempted to circumnavigate this problem by moving the eye of the needle or adding prongs, but it wasn’t until the sewing machine was invented that putting a thread through a needle became easier.
National Thread the Needle Day timeline
Archaic humans, the Denisovans, create needles from bird bones; remains are found in Denisova Cave, Siberia, Russia.
English Egyptologist Flinders Petrie finds copper sewing needles at Naqada, Egypt.
High-quality steel from China changes how needles are created.
The metal processing German company Schumag introduces a machine that threads needles by itself
Publishing databases show early uses of the phrase “threading the needle” for a golf competition held in Illinois.
The earliest mention of “threading the needle” in U.S. football comes with a mention in the Sweetwater [Texas] Reporter.
German manufacturers are innovating newer and newer sewing machines all the time.
National Thread the Needle Day FAQs
What is thread the needle pose good for?
This pose stretches the spine. Great for beginners and advanced yoga practitioners, this calming pose helps relieve chronic shoulder or back pain.
What is the Sanskrit name for thread-the-needle pose?
The thread the needle pose is called Parsva Balasana in Sanskrit. It is a combination of Sanskrit words – Parsva meaning ‘revolved,’ Bala meaning ‘child,’ and asana meaning ‘posture.’
Why is threading a needle so hard?
According to Dr. Stephanie Goodhew of the Australian National University’s Research School of Psychology, our visual system is ruled by two types of cells — P cells and M cells. As the M cells are good at picking things up but not good at seeing details near our hands, it would explain why threading a needle is so difficult.
National Thread the Needle Day Activities
Thread a needle
Take this day, and the celebrations, literally and enjoy some arts and crafts by threading the needle yourself. Amaze yourself by completing fun DIY projects with a bit of thread and a needle or take up sewing classes for fun (and to test your eyesight). A few sewing institutions even offer free classes and courses on this day; you can take advantage of this too.
Try out a physical activity
In the spirit of this day, play a sport like football or golf. Focus on sports you haven't tried before, just for a new experience. Encourage a team challenge for added fun, recruiting friends and loved ones onto your team.
Explore this day further
The lack of awareness about the founder or the meaning of this lends a certain freedom to the celebrations. They can be whatever you want them to be. Explore the phrase, the meaning behind it, and decide for yourself how you want to spend this holiday. You can even come up with a completely fun-yet-unrelated way to enjoy it. Let us know how it goes!
5 Different Meanings Of “Thread The Needle.”
This phrase refers to the act of taking a thread and guiding it through the eye of the needle.
In a metaphorical sense
People, usually in politics, use this term when they speak about a situation that is difficult to navigate when people have to walk the line (and balance) between two opposing views.
In a game of billiards
This phrase refers to a billiards move when the ball is shot precisely through a narrow pathway.
As a sports metaphor
Sports commentary and dialogues use “threading the needle” when they want to describe a tight space in which to move the ball.
A yoga pose
This phrase is also the name of a yoga pose.
Why We Love National Thread the Needle Day
Celebrate any way we want
We love the freedom this day gives us to celebrate in multiple different ways. The dramatically different meanings of the phrase — and the day’s hidden origins — mean we can choose to observe this day in any way we prefer. A refreshing and fun change!
We learn a new idiom
Okay, we knew what threading the needle meant in a literal sense, but we had no idea it was also used in so many different ways! We appreciate a day that not only gives us the freedom to celebrate any way we want but also teaches us a new idiom in the process.
It brings self-improvement to mind
Think about it. Sewing, yoga, sports, navigating difficult relationships; each activity associated with this day is linked to self-improvement of some sort. Whichever celebration we pick to link with this day, we are ultimately working on our skills or our own personalities. We are all for this kind of celebration!
National Thread the Needle Day dates