Straight pins

Today, I discovered why my great straight pin hunt in China has been so unsuccessful to date. I’ve been looking in the wrong places.

Places such as yarn and fabric shops, notions shops have been carefully scrutinized to unearth the simple straight pin that is so valuable in blocking a tapestry. All that meticulously conducted hunt yielded were plastic-headed straight pins and safety pins. So, I bought a pack of safety pins and used that, dissatisfied, to block.

Today, I went into a stationer’s looking for ruled foam board to use for temporary mounting of the tapestries, or even a cork board to use for blocking. Finding none after a diligent search, on a hunch, I asked a clerk for da tou zhen, aka straight pins. She pointed me to the aisle, and I went down it peering carefully, no glasses.

To my great surprise, there it was! Boxes upon boxes of straight pins. Stacked, shelved, and presented in neat columns and rows. The legend on the box told me why I had not found them in fabric, yarn, or notions stores.

The label? OFFICE PINS!