There’s nothing as pleasing as using the right tool for a job. Take the bodkin.
First, isn’t bodkin a fantastic word? It’s so…medieval-y. And it feels good in the mouth. I checked the OED on it, and it is a very English word, but its origins are obscure. It used to refer to several things: a dagger (he himself might his quietus make / With a bare bodkin), a long hair pin, an awl, and the meaning it has retained through today: a needle-like instrument with a blunt knobbed point, having a large (as well as a small) eye, for drawing tape or cord through a hem, loops, etc.
It also had another meaning, which is totally fun: transf. (colloq.) A person wedged in between two others where there is proper room for two only; esp. in phr. to ride or sit bodkin . How wonderful is it that there is a word for being that person uncomfortably wedged between two others in the back seat of a small car (or in the olden days, a coach)? I refer to this state as “riding the hump” but “riding/sitting bodkin” is so much better. Modern usage would be: “I’ve got short legs, so I’ll ride bodkin.”
Let’s make 2015 the year “riding bodkin” came back into the language. Come on, people!
Uh…where was I? Oh yes. The sewing bodkin.
I had to buy a bodkin as part of my kit for sewing class–they insisted we have it for drawing elastic through casings and whatnot. But oh my goodness, this thing has been such a happy little miracle around the house for pulling errant drawstrings back through sweatpants and swim trunks and things like that. Yes, you can use a big safety pin, but somehow I never have a big safety pin on hand. Before the bodkin, I often accomplished the task with a small pin, or nothing at all. It is possible to shove a naked cord through by force of will, it just takes hours.
But I tell you my friend, if you have a bodkin, it takes about 10 seconds to fish a cord through a garment.
There are a few different models of bodkins, though they are all essentially large blunt needles. Mine is extra fancy in that one end opens up, like a pair of tweezers. A ring on the needle’s shaft slides down to lock the arms in place with a firm grip. This allows you to hold onto the tape or cord which you are drawing without piercing it with a hole. The opposite end has a big needle eye for pulling thread and string.
I love my shiny little bodkin.