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“Why don’t they…?” The Birth of the Stiletto point needle – and Signature Needle Arts

Like many new products, ours started with a "Why don't they…?" moment. One night, when struggling with a fuzzy yarn, I said out loud, "Why can't I have needles with a better point?" From across the room my husband, Kent, replied, "You can, just take them to work." I am the President of Bothe Associates Inc., a family-owned precision machine shop, that makes custom metal components, so I did just that.

I had a pair of what has come to be called the "Stiletto point" made and had it hand-polished. I could not believe the difference in my ability to deal with all sorts of yarn. I found myself changing patterns to accommodate my "special" needles.

At the same time, I began to think about the metal needles available and the opportunities for designing fine tools for knitters that would include both performance and aesthetics. Think about it: people who restore cars can buy high quality tools for their hobby, but knitters have to make do with whatever the big companies sell. We knitters spend lots of money on yarn, and even more of our time, but knitters who like metal needles didn’t have much in the way of choice in great tools, or any ability to customize their needles to their preference.

Not every knitter is fortunate to have access to a metal cutting company, so we decided to open up shop and share our special needles with everyone. We had many people involved in the design and manufacturing process here at Bothe Associates Inc. Machinists who were non-knitters became experts at crafting needles perfect for avid knitters and they rose to the challenge with a great, reliable product made here in America. In addition, we met with focus groups of knitters who had lots of great ideas to give us a push in the right direction – and so Signature Needle Arts was born.