Updated October 30, 2018
When it comes to needles I have a dilemma. I have lots of them and like to carry them with my projects. But I don’t like round needlecases. For me they either have tops that fall off or are too small. Over the years I have tried many different things to hold my needles, but have mostly been dissatisfied.
One, a recycled mint tin, had a hole in an odd place, so you couldn’t get the needles out. Another, a pill case, is too short for the 22 needles I like. A third has top and bottom joined, but not completely, so the needles get stuck in it. There were ones that were too small, ones that had needles get stick between magnet and side, and ones that would not open. But I have found plenty of others that work well.
The delightful metal tin pictured is from tinytins an etsy shop. Tinytins is on hiatus but I found other shops that have these tins. I love this little piece of art for my stitching. Iprintit makes decorated tins in many styles, including an elegant black personalized one.
Avoid altered Altoids tins because your needles can get stuck. Better choices are pillboxes and rectangular lip balm cases.
Sliding Top Tins
Many companies make these. The simplest are lip balm tins with sliding tops, such as the ones from ChibiJay Designs on Etsy. They come in many styles and two sizes. This company also makes round pillcases that are big enough for needles (many aren’t).
You can also find these in designs specifically for needlework, such as the ones from PinoyStitch. They even have one with an open top that you can add your needlework to.
The next step up is a sliding case with a magnet in it. The magnet holds the needles in place. These magnets are narrow and smaller than the tine so your needles won’t get stuck. Because the tine is metal, the magnet just sticks to the inside, so it’s removable.
Mine is from Just Nan. They make a wide variety of decorative tins. There are also etsy sellers of these including SeptemberHouse. You could also make your own by adding a narrow rectangular rare earth magnet to the inside of a metal case.
Longer Needle Storage
I realized in the reorg of my office that I needed a better solution for long-term needle storage. They were in not very secure acrylic boxes from TAP Plastics. At The Container Store I found flat translucent hinged boxes in several small sizes. The smallest size,pictured above. is about the same size as the pillbox pictured at the top of the article. It can hold a ton of needles.
Because they are plastic, they aren’t something to be used everyday. But so far they work great to add needles to several kitted projects.
What to Look For in a Case
My struggles have led me to some conclusions about what needs to be in a good needlecase. Many of these things seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many cases don’t measure up.
- be big enough to hold needles straight
- be relatively flat for easy storage
- close securely
- inexpensive so you can have separate containers for sizes and types
- look nice
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
Elizabeth Goodman says
I ordered several of the sliding tins from Pinoystitch. They arrived yesterday and they are even better than you mentioned as they also have a magnet inside. Since I am also giving one as a gift, I found small leather drawstring pouch bags, 2″ x 3 1/2″ at Expressionsinleather on Etsy at a great price. They fit the tins beautifully and not only make a nice presentation, they will protect the graphics on the lid of the tin from getting scratched.
Thank you for sharing the information.