In the past couple months I have become a needle minder convert. And, like many new converts, I have become obsessed with my new tools.
What is a needle minder?
It is a magnet that sits on your needlework fabric, which you can use to rest your needle on while stitching. I have also seen them called needle knacks, needle holders, and needle magnets. If the magnet is strong enough, it can even hold a small pair of embroidery scissors or other metal tools and items.
Until a couple months ago, I thought needle minders were a bit…unnecessary, maybe even frivolous. For many, many years I have just stuck my needle through the fabric to hold it in place and keep it out of the way until it was wanted again. And, this method still works perfectly fine, thank you very much.
But, suddenly it seemed like needle minders were everywhere. I saw other stitchers using them as they posted their progress photos on social media. I saw them advertised in the stitching magazines. And Etsy. Don’t even get me started with Etsy.
And, these needle minders were so cute! I had to have one, or two, or three…and a new obsession was born.
The funny thing is I have owned a needle minder for a couple of years, and up until about 2 weeks ago I didn’t know what it was!
This blue bottle cap needle minder was in a goodie bag I received for a workshop I went to that was sponsored by my needlework guild. All of the items in the goodie bag were stitching related, except this, or so I thought. I looked at it and thought, “Why did they give us this weird magnet?” I didn’t get it, but I kept it and just used it as a regular magnet, never noticing that the magnet actually had two parts.
It wasn’t until I started buying and collecting other needle minders that I rediscovered this blue bottle cap and finally realized what it was. So, this was my first official needle minder.
Now I am using my Alice in Wonderland obsession as an excuse to buy needle minders. I have found some great Alice-themed needle minders on Etsy. Here are 3 out of the 4 I currently own:
These needle minders are also quite large. Although it is difficult to get a sense of the scale in the photo, the caterpillar minder is about 1 1/2 inches square, and Alice is about 2 1/2 inches tall.
I thought the size would bother me since I usually stitch with a hoop, not in a scroll frame. But, I have found that I can use a larger needle minder and it does not interfere with my stitching area in the hoop.
Pros and Cons of Using a Needle Minder
First, the pros. Needle minders are convenient. Now, instead of having to stop to stick my needle through the fabric I just let the needle rest on the needle minder while I change threads or cut a new length of thread.
Second, the magnet holds the needle more securely than I expected. I thought for sure that when I folded up my fabric and shoved my project into my project bag that the needle would slip off and I would risk losing it somewhere. But, that has not been the case. When I pull my project back out, the needle is still there, resting on the needle minder, right where I left it. Pretty cool.
Third, they are fun. I love the infinite variety of designs that are available. Plus, they are easy to make yourself. I have some link to tutorials below.
So, what are the cons?
The main con is the fact that because these are strong magnets, you do have do be careful not to leave them near electronic devices. I love to stitch while listening to podcasts or watching t.v. on my laptop, so I try to stay aware of where I am putting my stitching if I put my hoop down on my desk with the needle minder still on the fabric.
Where to Buy Needle Minders?
There are lots of places now where you can purchase needle minders. First and foremost, most local needlework shops carry a selection of needle minders. Online needlework shops also carry them. 123stitch.com, for example, has a selection of beautiful minders from Kelmscott Designs.
But, the largest selection online is probably on Etsy. There are dozens of shops that sell needle minders, but here are a few to get you started:
- The Dove Tree
- Crafters Waypoint
- Gina’s Unique Boutique
- A Needle Runs Through It
- Winton Junction
Did I miss your favorite Etsy shop for needle minders? Feel free to list it in the comments!
Make Your Own Needle Minders
Finally, you can make your own needle minders from old brooches, pins, buttons, coins and more. It’s pretty simple, and you can get really creative with it. Here are some tutorials that will help:
- Let’s Get . . . Making Your Own Stitcher’s Magnets via Nuts About Needlepoint
- DIY Magnetic Needle Minders via Flamingo Toes
- Needleminder Tutorial via Tinker with This
- From Button to Needle Minder via Needle ‘n Thread
- Magnetic Needle Minder Tutorial via It’s Daffycat
I love this unusual needle minder from Winton Junction of an old English country church. And, the cat needle minder is a Japanese cartoon character named Chi — we named our stray cat Chi after this character, so I had to have this needle minder!
Do you use needle minders? Love them? Hate them? Can’t live without them? Leave a comment!