Monday, October 5, 2009

On pins and needles

The expression "on pins and needles" can have special meaning for quilters. A friend recently spent several thousand dollars getting a milliner's needle extracted from her dog. Given that pins and needles are indispensable tools for quilters, I have collected some tips on safely storing them.
The magnet, in many shapes and forms, is perfect for keeping pins and needles in place as well as for searching for lost ones. Auto parts stores sell a highly-magnetized bowl (used to hold bolts, nails, and such) for under $10. They catch anything even remotely near them. You can turn them upside down and do a clean sweep of the floor to gather misplaced pins and needles. Just be sure to keep any magnetized objects away from your electronic sewing machine.
For searching the chair, couch, or other hard-to-reach areas for lost pins and needles, a bingo wand is very handy. This is a magnetized stick used for picking up bingo chips (see photo). They can be found in most variety stores in the hobbies and game section for about $2-3. It is not as powerful as the bowl but you can get under things and in nooks and crannies.
For transporting needles and pins safely, make a needle box. Choose a small box that will shut securely, like an empty gum or mints tin. Trace the shape of the tin on a flat refrigerator magnet. Cut to size and glue to the bottom of the tin. (It may fit in without gluing.)
Safely dispose of bent, used, or dull needles and pins. Family members who empty the trash will appreciate it. Any handy recyclable will do - a popular one is the old pill or prescription bottle with a childproof lid.
Remember the immortal words of Mother Goose:
See a pin and pick it up,
All the day you'll have good luck;
See a pin and let it lay,
Bad luck you'll have all the day.
(Submitted by American Quilter magazine contributing editor Kathy Niemann)

1 comment:

  1. Good article. I have one of the bowls you are talking about that I absolutely LOVE. I have thought that I need a better travel system for pins. I am going to make a needle box like you suggest. That's a great idea! If I get a wild hair, I might even have my scrapbooker sister modpodge some fabric over the top of it.