Does anyone else out there suffer from memory loss? As soon as I got a machine and realized that not every needle is made equal (learned this the hard way after I attempted to applique on my first onesie. Note to self - use *ball point needle for jersey*), I started amassing a small army of machine needles. But could I ever remember which ones I already had and which ones I needed when I actually had a chance to go to the fabric store? As many of us feel at the supermarket when we've forgotten to write ourselves a list, I started to develop temporary amnesia whenever I faced the notions wall. As Jerry Seinfeld said (in one of my most favorite stand-up performances to date "I'm Telling You for the Last Time") about the most elusive staple in our fridge:
People are never really sure if they have milk. You think you have milk, you might have.
"I know there's a carton in there, I don't know how much is in it."
"Well, what shall we do?"
'Cause you wanna be sure. There's nothing worse than thinking you have milk and not having it. You know, you got the bowl setup, the cereal, the spoon, the napkin, the TV, the newspaper, everything's ready to go. You lift up the carton and it's too light.
"Oh, no! Too light!"
So milk. Machine needles. You don't want to be out of either. Especially if your machine is not idiot proof and you tend to break needles often. For the record, my 7470 is pretty doof-proof, but I used to sew on a much older machine (when I knew even less what I was doing) and this happened to me quite a bit. With that being said, needles still break and it's always good to have some extras on hand. The problem was, I kept coming home with the wrong kind and started developing a very lopsided stock of needles.
Come to think of it, this is how I felt about my spice rack for a long time. Eventually I emptied out all my spices into identical magnetic containers and it was a breeze knowing how much of each one I had and what was running low. Lovely, huh?
Anyway, the Needle Grabbit. I found it on eBay awhile back and snagged it for probably $6 or so (new they are $10ish). Very simple concept, but kind of genius. You could even make one yourself if you were so inclined. Basically It's a sturdy piece of magnet (I think - you could use cardboard or whatever you have sturdy that's lying around), with 2 strips of the fuzzy side of velcro attached to the front. You slide the needles into the sections corresponding to type and there's even a flat head pin that serves as a marker so you can always remember which kind of needle you currently have in your machine.
Sure, you could just sew up some pieces of felt into a little book, label the "pages", and slip your needles in. It'd be cheaper too. But if you're like me you have limited time to make stuff and just need to get things organized. What can I say, it works for me!