WFMW–Storage for slightly used needles

What do you do with sewing machine needles that have been used, but aren’t ready to be thrown away? If you have to change the needle for one of a different size, where do you put the one you take out of the machine? It’s best not to put it back in the package with the new needles, because then when you need a really “new new” one, you won’t know which ones are new and which ones have been used already.

Here’s the quick, easy and cheap fix:

Tomato pincushion for used needles

Stick your slightly used needles into a tomato pincushion, which can be found almost anywhere for about $1.00, or you can get the extra large model for a bit more. You can make it even easier to re-use these needles at a later date if you mark the pincushion on the top with numbers using a pigma pen, so that you can organize the needles by size.

As I get older, I find that the numbers on the needles get smaller and smaller (I swear, if they get any smaller they’ll disappear altogether!! 😯 ), so this helps a lot when I’m working on a project where it’s not necessary to have a brand new needle. I can quickly figure out what size all these older ones are without squinting, or getting up to go to the sunny window, or…well, you get the idea.

NeedleTrakIf you really want to avoid eyestrain, get a NeedleTrak. You’ll only have to take the needle out of the case when it’s new, then you can set the size and type on the NeedleTrak so you know what it is when you take it out of the machine. If you don’t want to spring for the NeedleTrak gizmo, you can keep a notepad by your machine and note the type and size of the needle, or put the package on top of the machine.

Have a WFMW tip you’d like to share with the blogosphere? Find out more about Works-for-Me-Wednesday at WFMW headquarters at Rocks in my Dryer! Basically, the idea is that on Wednesday you post a little tip you’ve learned on any topic–anything that has “worked for you” in making your life easier. Visit Rocks in my Dryer for great tips on everything from kids to money on this Works-for-me-Wednesday!

9 thoughts on “WFMW–Storage for slightly used needles

  1. I’m supposed to change the needle? LOL I only do when I forget to remove a pin and the needle breaks trying to get through it. Bad bad sewing machine owner I guess. 🙂


  2. Kim–you’re too funny! I think we all sew over pins though, even when the machine people tell us we shouldn’t! A student in one of my classes actually sewed through a yellow plastic pin head once, and the needle didn’t break and neither did the pin. It was pretty amazing actually, and the sweet lady gave me the stuck together needle and pin (thread still attached and both of them bent at odd angles) as a memento of the occasion! 😯 I might even still have it somewhere…


  3. I do the tomato thing too! I also take an empty Schmetz needle case (the large, multi-size-needle ones are the best for this), mark it “used”, and put used needles into their appropriately numbered slots.


  4. So funny you should mention this, Nadine. Just last night as I noticed all the used pins lying around, wondering what size they ar, I was thinking, “I really need to do that tomato thing.” Especially since I even have an extra one! Good tip.


  5. Oh, and I tried the NeedleTrak thingy and found it easier to keep tiny sticky notes in my gadget box. I stick one on the machine to tell me what size I’m currently using. When I take it out, I wrap the needle in the sticky note, but the tomato is a much better way to store used needles. (Sorry for the double post.)


  6. Meg, that’s a great idea with the empty needle case too!

    Jane Ann, the sticky note on the machine tip is a good one too! (and no worries on the double comments. I love to hear from you!)

    Kristin, to be totally honest, I think I had this tip from somewhere else in the beginning, so my only cleverness was implementation before the used needles got totally out of control…


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