How To Organize Hand Sewing Needles
Sewing needles are ancient tools that have never lost their usefulness. Today there are many sizes and styles to choose from, from darning to embroidery to leather. I don’t know how prehistoric sewers would have stored their needles, but I’m sure they would have done all they could to ensure the precious accessory was not lost.
There are many ways of keeping your sewing needles organized and secure. If you don’t sew regularly, you’ll want to put them out of sight with your other sewing accessories. If you sew more often, you will want a certain number to be easily accessible for day-to-day use.
Related: What Are Curved Needles Used For?
The Good and Bad of Pin Cushions for Needles
Okay. Here’s a funny, true story.
For the first few years I was sewing, I used the same pin cushion for both pins and needles. I very quickly began to be frustrated with the way my needles seemed to be forever disappearing. Where were they going? They weren’t falling on the floor. They seemed to vanish in thin air!
I found the answer to the mystery the first time I “wore out” one of those classic, tomato-shaped pin cushions. There, within the stuffing of the cushion, was a plethora of needles. I had found my needle ”black hole.” As I constantly pulled pins in and out of the cushion, I inadvertently pushed the needles in until they were entirely swallowed by the roomy interior of that sawdust-filled pillow.
Lesson learned. I still use pin cushions. But now, I use a separate cushion for frequently used needles. I don’t remember where I got it from, but my needle cushion has a wooden base with a fairly shallow cushion pressed into it. A needle would have to be pretty short to be lost, and even then, it could be easily found again.
I have one of just about every type of needle in my needle cushion. Darning, hemming, embroidery, leather, even a yarn needle are always at my fingertips. Since I sew many kinds of projects, these are all necessary for me. I also like my needle cushion because I can leave longer lengths of thread in the needles for future use.
How To Organize Hand Sewing Needles
So it’s pretty clear from the story above that a regular-sized pin cushion is not a good place to keep needles. By shopping around, you can probably find a shallower cushion to keep frequently-used needles in.
However, needles are generally sold in larger packs, and it’s a good idea to have a consistant place to store extras. Here are a few suggestions from myself and others.
Just as an FYI, sewing machine needles are a whole other ball game. When you store them, I recommend they be labeled for easy identification. If you’re like me, those tiny numbers stamped into the needles are not easy reading. Save your eyes and time by marking the sizes on whatever storage medium you choose.
Baskets, bins and tins.
Hand sewing needle packs don’t necessarily have to be separated into categories. There are a few things I am OCD about. Sewing needles are not one of them. I’m happy if I can just remember where I put them last. Since I’ve done a lot of moving in my life, this has sometimes been a major issue. Setting up a new sewing space which may be either more or less accommodating than your last sewing space means you may unintentionally hide things from yourself.
One way to make things easier to find in general is to keep certain items in their own unique container. A special basket, small bin, or tin that will readily shout, “Here I am!” can be a real time saver. I keep my large needle packs in a chocolate tin. The lovely heart-shaped tin reminds me of my romantic husband and my favorite treat. Happy thoughts!
For individual projects, there are some fancy needle organizers to keep near you while embroidering. These organizers make changing from one color to another quick and easy. If you love gadgets, you may want to check them out.
There are also magnetic needle holder options to keep loose needles corraled. If you have small children, this may give you a bit more peace of mind.
If you have plenty of fabric scraps and enjoy being a do-it-yourselfer, there are also easy ways of making your own needle storage pack for loose needles. You can envent your own or look up ideas online.
Keeping It Together
If you do more than one needlecraft requiring specific types of needles, you’ll want to keep the accessories for each type of craft together for easy access. Embroidery, needlepoint, and yarn needles should be in supply with the other necessities of those crafts. You can make pin cushions or cloth storage packs for each one or purchase small storage containers for the purpose.
Taking the time to organize hand sewing and craft needles is worth the effort in the long run. It will enable you to reach for the needle you need with confidence at the moment you need it.