What is a Needle Minder?
A few years ago, I started to hear many stitchers talk about needle minders, and I found myself always wondering, "What is a needle minder?"
Over the years, I have answered my questions about needle minders. For starters, a needle minder is a small, decorative piece that magnetically holds onto needles.
Needle minders generally use two magnets - one glued to the back of the decorative piece and one that is loose. That way, the stitcher can sandwich their cross stitch or embroidery fabric between the two magnets to fasten the needle minder to their project. This makes the needle minder easy to move around on the cross stitch/embroidery piece and easy to remove from the piece.
As the name implies, the main purpose of a needle minder is to hold onto needles. Needle minders are an especially useful tool because embroidery needles can easily get lost if there is no specific place to put them. With a needle minder, the stitcher has a place to put their needle when they are grabbing more floss, changing floss colors, or done stitching at the moment. This eliminates the time wasted looking for needles, the cost of buying replacement needles for the ones lost, or the pain that might occur if you find a lost needle with your foot.
"Can a Needle Minder Only Hold Onto One Needle?"
Answer: Nope. A needle minder can hold onto many needles at a time.
Sometimes, stitchers will have different sizes of needles on one needle minder. That way, if they come to a point in their stitching where a bigger or small needle will work better, they know exactly where to grab one.
Some people also have other accessories that magnetically stick to their needle minders, such as needle threaders, small embroidery scissors, and/or laying tools. This allows the stitcher to have constant, easy access to those accessories.
Why the Type of Magnet on the Needle Minder Matters
There are two common types of magnets that are used to make needle minders - ceramic magnets and rare-earth metal magnets (also referred to as neodymium).
Most people who make and sell needle minders generally will use rare-earth metal, or neodymium, magnets. These work perfect because they are the strongest type of magnet, and they don't leave any residue on the stitching. So, they securely hold onto needles and don't damage the embroidery/cross stitch fabric. Although rare-earth metal magnets are strong magnetically, try to be gentle with them because they can be fragile. They are coated to prevent them from breaking, but if they are snap together too violently, they may break.
Ceramic magnets (black in color) on the other hand will sometimes leave a black residue on the embroidery fabric it was in contact with. That really isn't an issue if the needle minder is placed in a spot that will not be shown once the embroidery piece is framed or fully finished, but it is something to definitely be aware of. I have used needle minders created with ceramic magnets before and didn't have an issue with black marks left on my fabric, but that may not be the case for everyone.
Notice in the image below that the magnets are a shiny, silver color. Generally if a magnet looks like the magnets in this image, it is a rare-earth magnet, and is perfect for putting on stitching or embroidery fabric.
Dangers of Using Needle Minders
Needle minders are a great accessory when stitching, but always be aware that they are created with strong magnets, so electronics should be kept away from needle minders at all times. The memory on electronic devices may get wiped if the magnets from the needle minder get too close.
It is even recommended to keep needle minders away from pacemakers because the magnetic pull from the needle minders can stop a pacemaker from functioning properly if it gets too close.
Making Your Own Needle Minders
It is possible and fairly simple to make your own needle minders. All you need a small, decorative piece with one side that is flat, two magnets (preferably rare-earth metal), and strong glue (E6000 is recommended).
To create your needle minder, glue one magnet to the back of your decorative piece. Once the glue is dry, your needle minder is ready to use - don't forget to grab your second magnet so you can connect your needle minder to your fabric. You can glue something to the second magnet if you want, such as a button, to help you grab the magnet to pull it away from the other magnet, but of course, that is not necessary.
Gifting Needle Minders
Needle minders can make a great gift because of the almost endless possibilities of designs. It is usually possible to purchase or make a needle minder that fits someone's tastes. For example, if their favorite animal is a fox, consider finding them a fox needle minder, or if they are working on a piece with a strawberry on it, maybe consider getting them a strawberry needle minder.
Plus, unless someone is running out of storage room, they really can't have too many needle minders. The more they have, the more often they can change them out on projects based on their mood and/or the more projects they can have a needle minder dedicated to.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you don't currently have a needle minder, maybe consider getting yourself one and trying it out. Some great options are available in the Thread Maniac Designs online shop. They make great stitching buddies that are always there to hold onto your needles.
As always, thanks for reading!
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