Magnets and Pins

A while ago, I was concerned about finishing Samus in time for my friend Suzanne, who was about to give birth. Many readers assured me that she wouldn’t return to pre-pregnancy size for a few weeks, so there was no need to rush. Good thing, because I didn’t actually finish it until last week.

Being a new mother (for the second time), Suzanne didn’t exactly notice the delay. And she was only vaguely aware of the bad zipper karma that I had to work through in order to get this sweater finished. I also made the mistake of leaving it folded over the back of my reading chair, thereby attracting the attention of my cat, who views all of my knitting as sleep fodder. She’d only been on it for a few hours when I discovered my lapse, but I still went through half a roll of packing tape getting all of that fur off. But what really got me to buckle down and finish this sweater was this:

That’s right, a magnetic pin cushion. Let me tell you about this magnetic pin cushion. When you spill your pins all over the floor, you can just wave that thing over them and they fly upwards like a movie in reverse. When you’re removing pins while you sew in that zipper, you can just throw the pins at the pin cushion, and thwap! You don’t even have to throw them at the pin cushion; you can throw them near the pin cushion, or even past the pin cushion. That pin will change direction in mid air. It’ll curve around and land on the pin pile with metallic ping that is so satisfying, you’ll sew faster just so you can take out the next pin as soon as possible.

I am so enamored of this thing that I actually pulled all of the pins off once, just so I could pick them up again with the magnet (thus earning a much-deserved hail of snickers from my wife). It reminds me of the pair of red circular magnets I had when I was a kid; no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t force them together. But if I turned one of them around, they’d smack together, and then I could barely get them apart. It’s an incredible phenomenon, and it’s the same one that drives the aurora borealis and directs compasses all around the world. Now it’s right here, at work in my living room, helping me finish my sweaters.

Okay, so I’m a big nerd. Whatever. Just look at the sweater, okay?


  • Sarah says:

    Hehe, I love my magnetic pincushion! Just make sure not to put too many pins on the magnet at one time! : ) Cute sweater. . .

  • P-) says:

    Great sweater!!! Way to go!! Hmmmm…I may be going out today to buy a magnetic pin cushion!

  • nate says:

    my mom had one of those when I was a kid. I used to love playing with it. I always thought it would be fun to have a really big one.

  • Christine says:

    Bravo on short fingernails!!! yay! a man who gets it!!! haha.

    The sweater turned out amazing.

    Im new to sewing… but wasnt born yesterday… that pin cushion is a must have! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Rachel says:

    Im just really glad that someone else shares my obsession with that magnetic pin cushion.

  • Bravo on the sweater! That zipper looks perfect. Good job!

  • Leslie says:

    Your sweater turned out beautifully. I just love cardis with zippers, although you do have to have the patience of Job to put one in. Also, your pin cushion is really cool, although I’m not sure it’s an actual cushion, more like a donut or puck. Yeah, a pin puck!:)

  • john says:

    Byootiful. And you are NOT a nerd. So there.

  • Carolyn says:

    You know, if you make your readers laugh this hard, it’s hard to comment…
    I’m so glad mom’s hidden the magnetic pincushion, because I love that thing!
    You may be a nerd, but at least you’re a cool one!

    Oh, and great sweater, btw. 😀

  • donab says:

    I love my magnetic pin cushion. I can’t imagine sewing without it! Nice sweater, too!

  • Kari Zipf says:

    The sweater is lovely. I think I’ll do the cable instead of ribbing on my next one. I’ve been knitting over 60 years and sewing for more than that, and I’ve had a magnetic pincushion since they first came on the market. HOWEVER, I do not use pins when sewing knitting together. Go to the drugstore and get some hair clips. Big improvement over pins and eliminates the blood.

  • haricotvert says:

    jeebus’s gift to man was the magnetic pin cushion. fer sure. SO MUCH LOVE.

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