"Rachael, dear, I think you'll find it a lot easier to pull the needle through all those fabric layers if you grip the needle with a (deflated) balloon. Mine is gold, a DMC giveaway years ago, which I keep in my sewing basket, always handy for frequent use. I also keep one in my purse, car, kitchen junk drawer, etc, good for grabbing and opening all kinds of things "
What a fabulous idea~ THANKYOU SO MUCH Trevette! I didn't have any balloons, but I do have a box of latex gloves I keep for doctoring the animals and such, and it worked so well, I just cant hardly believe such a simple thing can make such a difference. My fingers don't hurt at all, and I no longer had to really grip my needle hard to pull it thru. I really like this idea of wearing the glove, as I don't have to pause my stitching to pick up the balloon if I needed it. I can feel the needle thru the latex just like I didn't even have a glove on. We dug the last of the potatoes and such today, and I was going to share pictures of that, but this was TOO GOOD to wait to tell you about! Stitched around 5 hours today, and could do another 5!