I’d rank the difficulty of threading a needle somewhere between removing the pencil from the forearm of the man in Operation and attempting that Indiana Jones scene where he has to replace a golden idol with a bag of exactly the same weight. I don’t do it often, but every time I find myself with a piece of string and an unthreaded needle in hand, I’m reminded of just how infrequently I thread a needle and how difficult the task really is.
Most people go the classic route: Lick the end of the string and jab it at the tiniest hole in the world and pray to some higher power that this time it’ll work. Others use wire loop needle threaders but those are like the size of a speck of dust and so easy to lose. There has to be a better way. And maybe there is.
Just last week, a video surfaced on Twitter that’s upending convention. A user named John Bick shared the hack to end all others, and it’s been making the rounds on Twitter ever since, kicking up all kind of dust. See for yourself here:
That awkward moment you realize you did it wrong your whole life. pic.twitter.com/oi8vKbMyvY— John Bick (@JohnBick4) April 2, 2018
I wish I had the vocabulary to properly communicate what happens in the above video. Or maybe even the smallest notion of physics to fully explain why ferociously rubbing eye against thread against hand actually works, but all I can really land on is: friction. There’s something about high-speed friction that wheedles the filament into the teensy opening and leaves you with a perfectly strung, ready-to-go sewing needle. Twitter was incensed, but divided:
How many people are running off to try this right now!— Pam Parker (@menolly7) April 3, 2018
Good grief. After 50 years of going cross-eyed 😢— D Bell (@Bell32796) April 3, 2018
This thread made my day— Crys (@yeezuscrys) April 4, 2018
But does it actually work? Obviously, we had to find out.
For the sake of journalistic integrity and ethics and all that, I have to admit that at first, it didn’t work for me. No matter how much I rubbed and how fast I moved the needle and how badly I wanted it to, I couldn’t quite get the needle to thread. That isn’t, however, to say that the method is futile. On my left, Katie got the hang of the trick in a matter of seconds. She threaded hole after hole and by her fourth or fifth needle had it down to a second. I admire her capability. To my right, Cory’s experience was somewhat closer to mine, if not a few hairs more successful. It took her but a handful of tries to master the method. “It’s great,” she conceded, “and pretty effective, but would I pick it over the traditional method?” Hmm, the jury is still out. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here trying to nail down the near-perfect form of the hands in the video.
What’s your go-to needle-threading technique? Please, please share other suggestions in the comments below.