See a pin and pick it up,
All the day you’ll have good luck.
See a pin and let it lie,
You’ll be sorry by and by.
I have a little tin box filled with a chaotic mess of pins and needles and where I can never find anything. To search for a needle in this box is much more perilous than looking for it in a haystack. And while pricking your fingertip in a fairy tale can lead to all sorts of interesting adventures, in my case it just leads to a sore finger. So I’m going to get organized and will start by making a needle book. Sometimes called a needle case, it’s a piece of felt enclosed in a cloth cover. The needles are pinned through the felt.
To make: You will need a small piece of coarse muslin or sheeting, a scrap of interfacing (medium weight), a scrap of felt and either ribbons or scraps of cotton for making ties.
Make a cardboard 7 x 4-1/2 template. Draw around the template on a piece of the muslin. Using a stencil and fabric paint, stencil your design on the right half of the rectangle. (I secured the stencil onto the cloth with wide cellophane tape, which also protected the cloth cover from stray marks.) Let dry over night, heat set, and wash. (These instructions might vary depending on what kind of fabric paint you use.) Draw another rectangle on the muslin, and cut out both rectangles with pinking shears. Then cut out rectangles (one each) of interfacing and felt. With regular scissors, trim both rectangles (of interfacing and felt) 1/4″ all around. Meanwhile, have your ribbons ready or tear long pieces of cotton about 1/2″ wide. Make sure your covers, interfacing, and felt are ironed and smooth. Make a sandwich of the pieces, with the plain muslin face down, interfacing, and then stenciled muslin face up. The felt will be sewn in separately. Insert your ribbon or torn calico a half inch into the edge, behind the interfacing. Smooth “sandwich” and pin. Right side up, sew about 1/4″ from the pinked edge, all around the rectangle. Turn over, and position the felt. Sew down the inner “spine” of the book, turn back, and sew again over the first stitching, so it will be sturdy.
Note: You don’t have to use a stencil–just use a piece of pretty cotton. I purchased the brass lily-of-the-valley stencil at Hobby Lobby, but it was a while ago. It can be purchased online at http://www.stencilwith style.com. Including shipping, it will cost about $10.00, but it will last forever, and can be used for other projects, such as stenciling a sheet and pillow set. Or, use a floral stencil that you already have.
Also, keep in mind that sometimes housewives just stuck their needles into a folded hanky–I have seen this a number of times in old sewing baskets, and show an example here.