March 21, 2009 in This n' That
No doubt the average sewer or quilter has a huge supply of pins and needles; and probably several pin cushions. They are used several times when sewing, but have you ever thought about how to care for these essential notions?
Due to the fact they are inexpensive, little care is needed. However, there is nothing worse than needing a needle and the only one left is dull and hard to work with. In general, a good pin cushion and an abrasive is all you need.
Magnetic pin cushions are nice to have on hand because they “grab” the pins for you. They can make working with them a lot easier. However, they are not a good choice for storage, even though they may prevent a mess in the sewing drawer. The magnetic pin cushions do not protect the pins or needles in anyway and, overtime, can magnetize them; this would make them frustrating to work with.
The trusty, old cloth style pin cushion does a little more to protect the metal finish of the pins. Because the pins are stuck into the cushion they are less likely to rust. Most cloth style pin cushions are filled with fiber fill and wool. According to an article on About.com, the wool roving contains lanolin which helps prevent rust. The most important thing to look for when selecting or crafting a cloth pin cushion is how tight the stuffing is; they tighter it is the better it will hold the pins in place.
The smaller needle cushions are generally filled with something more abrasive such as sand or silica. This helps to keep the needle points sharp. In fact, there are several suggestions on how to sharpen needles or make pins last longer by rubbing them with an abrasive material such as sandpaper or heavy wool.
Keep in mind that pins and needles are one of the most inexpensive notions used. Simple care and knowing when to discard them are key. It is recommended to discard your needle after eight hours of use; usually when threads or fibers start breaking and you feel it pulling on your fabric instead of gliding through it. Get rid of pins when bent or if they don’t go into the fabric easily.