Back in the day, when my grandmother had a treadle machine, lived way out away from any stores, she used to unthread her dull needle and sew through a piece of very fine sandpaper. This removed the small burrs and did sharpen the needle some. Cheap me, when I have a needle that is just a little dull, like one that just grazed a pin I forgot to remove, I still Iuse her remedy. A word of warning, DO NOT use sanding disk for eletric sanders or sanding sponges or sandpaper for wet sanding. All of these have too heavy a backing and/or adhesive that defeat the purpose. Just a simple piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The larger the number on sandpaper the finner the grit.
A pincushion filled with fine steel wool works wonders, too. Just don't store your needles or pins in it as they may rust.
Melissa http://ardeasnest.blogspot.com"Love isn't what makes the world go round, it's what makes the ride worthwhile."
Hey, I like the pin cushion of steel wool even better. Remember when the tomato pincushion came with a pepper or strawberry attached full of iron shavings to sharpen your hand sewing needles with? Mother would never let me use it for machine needles because it poked to big a hole in the fabric. Think I will make myself a steel wool needle cushion. Let you know how it turns out. Now I think I have a pattern for a ball or doll's head around here somewhere............. Think orange wedges
Well, I've made my steel wool pincushion. Being a lazy person, I did not envision unthreading my machine, removing my needle and repeadly pokeing it in a round pin cushion so I decided on simply making a 'pillow case for a 'loaf' of steel wool (extra fine i.e. 0000) I had left from finishing my kitchen cabinets. I sliped the steel wool loaf in, turned under the remaining raw edge and top stitched it closed. Now I have a "pillow' . It slides easly under the presser foot and I can stitch through it with an unthreaded machine easly! to some rust off an old needle and really did sharpen it! Not like new, but more like 20 blocks down the line. I also have some old hand sewing needle that my mother used stored in one of those wooden tubes, a couple of which had some light rust on them. I threaded one - did not knot the thread and stitched like I was quilting through the "pillow". By the time I reached the end of the 5" pillow, the needle was slideing through like new!
Now this does not "recycle" used needles, but it will give them a much longer life.
For disposal I wrap the broken, bent, or otherwise unuseable needle in masking tape and put it in my sewing trash can. I keep a roll alongside my machine next to my seam ripper.
Oh, I like the masking tape idea. I wonder if pink duct tape would work. I keep threateneing DH, I will buy some of that. I told him, next Spring, he could color match the lilies with duct tape around the stems to keep them from falling over. : )
Just don't let the duct tape's sticky side touch any fabric. By the time you get it off, it will be stretched and or frayed out of shape. If you want a pretty color use that blue painter's tape, then misshaps are much less likely and it would contrast beautifully with the pink tulips.
the hand sewing needles are coated for sliding easily through the fabric, once the coating wears off you feel the resistance. running them through the steel wool might make them sharper for a few stitches, but it wears off what little coating is left. once i start to feel that resistance i want a new needle.
gini in north idaho
Opps! did not know about coating..........do very little hand sewing/quilting now. LOVE my sewing machine;)
A tip from my quilting class many years ago was to start each and every project with a new needle.Since I sew, make quilt tops and embroidery I end up with a bunch of full "old" packages. When I break a needle I was using a needle box and when it was full I'd dispose of that box in my sewing room trash.
Now I have my lg tomato separated into sections and marked those sections with the needle size and this keeps them ready to reuse for a similar project (especially the ball point needles as I do not use them too often) after I reuse one out of the tomato, I was placing them in an old package for disposal, however I now use this tip;some time ago I read a tip about recycling the sewing machine needles. when you need a new needle is hammer the old one in the wall and use it as a nail. Try this you may be amazed at how strong a needle is; I have my newsletters, pattern pieces, swatches, and a pair of small scissors in the same spot right next to my serger.
I have a migraine medication that comes in a plastic box and my rotary blades are disposed there! It has a snap top. I don't have migraines any more but love the plastic box!