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Thread: Non Metal Needles

  1. #1
    Senior Member Pudge's Avatar
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    Non Metal Needles

    I met a woman who is allergic to metal. Are there any non metal needles she can use to hand quilt?

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Chances are she's not allergic to all metals, but rather to nickel. Most sewing needles are coated with nickel. It looks as if John James makes gold-plated betweens. Here is a link, but I would contact the Colonial Needle Company before purchasing to make sure that they are entirely gold-plated. Some needles have just a "gold eye",
    http://www.quiltingbookspatternsandn...products/10601

    Edit:
    Here is a link to the John James site that shows both gold-plated and platinum-plated needles. These are imported from England, I think, but should be available in the U.S.
    http://www.jjneedles.com/categories/...atinum-Plated/
    Last edited by Prism99; 11-25-2015 at 06:01 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pudge's Avatar
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    She's allergic to all metals. She can't even tolerate aluminum foil. Really a severe condition.
    Back in the real old days, they probably used whale bones to stitch but I'm not thinking that's a current option. Any other out of the box ideas?

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If she can't use a titanium-coated or platinum-coated needle, then I don't think she has any other options. Bone needles would not be sharp enough for quilting.

    Edit: Maybe she should consider machine quilting? Machines these days are primarily plastic so she could keep contact with metal to a minimum.
    Last edited by Prism99; 11-25-2015 at 06:30 PM.

  5. #5
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I know they make ceramic needles, but I think they are only made for machines, not hand sewing. Teflon coated maybe?
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Pudge's Avatar
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    I think she could try the "art" quilt approach instead. If someone else cuts fabric for her, she could do various collage works using glue or fusible webbing.

  7. #7
    Super Member Quilty-Louise's Avatar
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    My niece is highly allergic to all metals.
    Louise - Ya-ya to Zachary April 13 2015. I collect mugs from the U.S. and around the world. Also collect handmade pincushions, sewing/quilting themed fabrics, and fabric in general.

  8. #8
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    could she wear tight latex gloves like surgeons wear?
    Nancy in western NY
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Pudge's Avatar
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    Don't know, I'll ask. Good idea.

  10. #10
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Not sure I would recommend latex gloves. Frequent use can result in a latex allergy, which is very dangerous. But I think they make latex-free surgeon's gloves.

  11. #11
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    John James is really quick to respond to questions about the content of their needles. Hopefully she'll have better luck finding nickel-free quilting needles than I had trying to find nickel-free applique needles. I went on a worldwide search & checked with all the major needle manufacturers as well as a number of smaller needle makers that I read online or was told by various people were "nickel-free". To this day, I haven't found one. I have to carefully manage how much time I spend at a time doing hand work & was given a special protocol & topical steriods + topical NSAIDS by my dermatologist to manage the contact dermatitis I get that causes my hands to severely swell when working with needles. The plating rubs off when you work with it so if her allergy isn't only to nickel but to other metals as well, she will need to find out what is in the core of the needle, too. Gold & platinum are likely both too soft to make an entire functional needle out of. I believe JJ said their gold/platinum needles have a steel core.

    Anything is worth a try, but I tried working with latex fingertips & with AloeTouch gloves but couldn't hold onto the needle properly with either one. I guess there must be something that works since surgeons hold needles & stitch all the time; I just haven't figured it out yet.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Pudge's Avatar
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    Even better, the non latex. Thks.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ruby2shoes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bree123 View Post
    I guess there must be something that works since surgeons hold needles & stitch all the time; I just haven't figured it out yet.
    Surgeons use needle drivers, instruments designed to hold surgical needles whilst they suture.

  14. #14
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby2shoes View Post
    Surgeons use needle drivers, instruments designed to hold surgical needles whilst they suture.
    Hmmm... wonder if something like that could work with sewing needles since they're not curved like surgical needles. Would be interesting if they did. Personally, I was surprised with the number of people who are allergic/sensitive to nickel that there isn't even a nickel free option. They make nickel free earrings using SS, but I was told that for some reason no one uses SS in sewing needles. I will definitely be following this thread as a thin needle made with some non-metal material would really be fantastic for people like me with a nickel allergy. There are definitely non-metal needles (plastic, wood, bone) for yarn work, but I've not heard of that kind for working with fabric & thread.

  15. #15
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    WOW, what an interesting topic. I hope she is able to find something that works for her.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  16. #16
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    There is always machine quilting. I know dental implants are titanium because being allergic to titanium is extremely rare. That's why implants are expensive, the titanium used.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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    Maybe she could buy and use the finger cots that physicians use for examinations. I buy mine at a Walgreens or a medical supply store--don't buy the ones sold at Quilt Shows as they put only 5 or 6 in a bag and charge you big bucks. They roll onto your finger and each one lasts a long time. I actually give my beginning students one to use to pull their needle through the hand quilting. Of course, the girls laugh uproariously when I pass them out.
    They do come in different sizes too. Oh, I have also found them in large quantities in the hospital pharmacy.

  18. #18
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolynjo View Post
    Maybe she could buy and use the finger cots that physicians use for examinations. I buy mine at a Walgreens or a medical supply store--don't buy the ones sold at Quilt Shows as they put only 5 or 6 in a bag and charge you big bucks. They roll onto your finger and each one lasts a long time. I actually give my beginning students one to use to pull their needle through the hand quilting. Of course, the girls laugh uproariously when I pass them out.
    They do come in different sizes too. Oh, I have also found them in large quantities in the hospital pharmacy.
    Nitrile gloves will replace latex--mechanics use them and they have to hold instruments and small items (nuts,bolts, etc)

  19. #19
    Senior Member donna13350's Avatar
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    I agree with the nitrile gloves. I got the best ones I own at qvc...they come in a 3 pack for less than 20 dollars. I can pick up teeny tiny things with them on..all nitrile gloves are not made equal..some don't allow the fine grip/feel, some do..I had to experiment a lot before I founf the ones I like.

  20. #20
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    My mom used to get a rash from the back of her watch. We would coat the back with clear nail polish. Maybe she can spray the needles with polyurethane...keeping a thread in the eye to make sure the eye stays open. One needle sacrificed to the cause would be worth it to try out.

  21. #21
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    office supply stores have rubber finger grips/cots, About 1-1/2" long and with a thimble she should be ok.

  22. #22
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    I give a third vote for nitrile gloves. I wear them for work and if you get the right size, they are like a second skin. Don't get too big, they need to be snug. You can find them in phermacies, farm catalogs, Harbor Freight. Stay away from latex or vinyl. They don't have the dexterity of nitriles.

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