Needle Keeper: Tips and Tutorial Part 1

Needle Keeper ITH design by Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Bonnie's in-the-hoop Needle Keeper is not only useful, it's so darn cute and versatile, I'll show you some tips and even a couple of variations. You won't believe just how easy it is to make!

In Bonnie's last blog, she explained the importance of tracking needle usage. This Needle Keeper will help you do just that.

Preparing Pieces

It is much easier to sit down at the machine and make a project happen if you have all of the pieces you need at your fingertips.

Cut and press all pieces according to the instructions. For in-the-hoop projects like this where there are multiple components, it is also helpful to label each piece. Identify pieces with a sticky note listing their name or the step in the instructions where they are needed.

Don't forget to pre-cut your stabilizer, too. That way, you can grab it and go rather than have to cut it to size with every hooping.

The Needle Keeper Concept

Needle Keeper ITH embroidery by Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Each page has a felt side where you can stick needles to keep track of the number of hours they have been used. The other side features vinyl pockets to keep needle packets close at hand. Each is color coded to the other.

Pages are stitched on water-soluble stabilizer and edged in satin stitching like a freestanding applique. A clever marker shows you which needle is currently in your machine. Keep it all together with binder rings, add a front and back cover, and tie it with a bow.

There is a pocket page and needle usage page for the following needle sizes:

  • 60/8 and 65/9
  • 70/10 and 75/11
  • 80/12 and 90/14
  • 100/16 and 110/18
  • 120/19
  • Blank 

You can stitch the needle pages that you will use. Because pages are held together with binder rings, it is easy to add pages later on.

Stitching the Needle Usage Pages

Load a needle usage page on your machine. Hoop stabilizer and stitch the design as directed.

When stitching is done, remove everything from the hoop and trim close to the outside stitching lines. Put the piece aside for later. Hoop stabilizer and repeat, stitching out each of the needle usage pages that you want to use in your Needle Keeper.

Check back for Part 2 and I will show you how to put it all together!



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  • Bonnie Welsh - April 11, 2019

    Sylvia—Thank you! That’s great to hear! =)

  • Sylvia donoghue - April 11, 2019

    Just started making the needle keeper it is so cute I love love it

  • Bonnie Welsh - February 13, 2019

    Sandra—Thank you for the kind words! The Needle Keeper was born out of my own frustrations with organizing needles. Love how you’ve expanded it! Great tips! =)

  • Sandra Aul - February 12, 2019

    I love the needle keeper. I’ve made a few already and I’m making more for myself and for gifts. I use wool felt. It is the most organized needle keeper that I have ever found because it keeps tract of the hours and not just the needle in use. I added extra pages and added wording to mine to help keep tract of embroidery vs. micro vs. universal needles. I don’t use those in every size, but it’s nice to know if I have a micro needle for piecing verses an universal one that I might use for embroidery or sewing clothing. On the cover, I’ve added what machine it is for so that I can keep track of the needles for each machine. Thank you, Bonnie, for a quick easy way to keep track of my needles.

  • Bonnie Welsh - February 11, 2019

    Helen—I feel your pain. That’s EXACTLY why I decided I needed to do something about it. I know I’ve tossed perfectly good needles because (1) I didn’t know what size was in the machine because I could no longer read the tiny writing on the needle or (2) I didn’t know how long I had used it and just tossed it to be “safe”. Crazy huh?

  • Helen - February 11, 2019

    Your needle keeper is very clever. On the seldom used needles I wonder how many needles I’ve wasted because I don’t remember how many times have I used it.

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