Needlepoint accessories are as varied as can be. But I love the way needle holders are so easy to buy or make, and can add a pretty bit of color to your needlepoint as you work.
I must admit I’m as guilty as anybody. Right now as I type this, my current needle is parked not-so-firmly in my dress. But there is a better way to deal with needles to keep them handy, secure and within reach while you stitch — needle holders.
There are many variations on the theme, but the general purpose is to give you a place for your needle to sit when you are not using it. Holders are a needlepoint accessory that can be something which is used over and over again or just used for that canvas. You can but lovely ones, or you can use a scrap of thread to make your own.
The current preference for needleholders is to use a pair of magnets. Many companies make hand-painted or decorated magnets which can brighten up your stitching.
My favorites have ribbon holding the pair together, so I don’t lose one of them. I make these myself by using super glue of some kind and buttons from my button jar, old earrings or pins from the thrift shop. 1/8 inch ribbon works to keep the halves together.
You can also use those “blue magnets” which you can find in almost any needlework shop. Most of these magnets are about 1/2 inch diameter. Magnets from the chain stores don’t work; they aren’t strong enough.
Another possibility is to use Rare Earth Magnets, which are tiny but extremely strong. You can also use what are called “ceramic” magnets. They look like craft store magnets, but are stronger.
You can also use magnets bought at places like Radio Shack. These are much less expensive, if not as good-looking. If you use these, you should lightly sand the rough edges with a coarse nail file and coat the magnet with clear nail polish. This will help it stay nice.
When magnets are powerful enough, placing one on top of and one underneath your framed canvas works. You will never lose track of the needle. The advantage of magnets attached with ribbons is that they can easily be moved around the canvas as needed.
Another alternative is a magnet with a tie tack on the back. I like the firmness of the grip with the tack and I don’t mind the extra work to move it around. You can also make these yourself easily. Take a magnet and get some clutch/tie tack backs at your local craft store. Using a glue which will work with metal, glue the pin to the back of the magnet. Let dry. Now you have a pin needle holder.
In The Needlepoint Book, Jo Christensen suggests using a Leviathan Stitch (charted below) done in the margin of your canvas as a needleholder. You simply put the needle under the top stitch to hold. The advantage of this method is that it can be used with any needlepoint, framed or not. The disadvantage is that it could eventually come undone.
Other stitches that might work include Rhodes, Waffle, and Norwich.
You could make this needlepoint accessory with a scrap of thread, use it as a simple way to try out a new thread, or test a color without stitching on the main part of the canvas.
But whichever method you use, this is one needlepoint accessory, you will be glad you have. It sure beats losing needles in the chenille of your fuzzy bathrobe.