Not every needlework accessory or needlework tool needs to come from the craft industry.
Take, for example, the magnet wand (like this one I wrote about here). Buy the unadorned, simple magnet wand at a needlework shop, and it could cost you upwards to $14. Step over to a hardware store and you can purchase essentially the same thing for about $4.
Today’s case in point (hardy-har-har) is the pencil case / make up bag / pouch-made-for-just-about-any-other-industry.
This conversation came up thanks to a post over in my Needle ‘n Thread Facebook Community, where Sara Rossi shared a photo of her travel embroidery supplies nicely tucked into a pencil case.
I thought I’d show you three (four, when you get to the end) pouches and cases that I use for needlework, that were not purchased within the craft industry – they are sold as pencil cases, make up pouches, even document carriers.
Many a time, I have been enticed by the nice, branded organizational bags, pouches, and cases found at craft stores and needlework shops. They often come with a surprisingly hefty price tag for what they are. Granted, if they’re a specialty item at a local needlework shop, you’re usually (though not always) paying for a higher quality item made from a small-quantity producer closer to home. But at most craft stores, a lot of the organizational goods they sell can be found in slightly different configurations elsewhere within other industries, for less.
It’s rather embarrassing to admit, but I have at least 8 of these types of cases around my studio, tucked in specific cubbies or baskets or boxes with specific types of things – like art supplies, embroidery kits, tools, and so forth. Some hold specific sets of “good” pencils or markers. Some are larger and contain the components of large embroidery projects.
Basically, I use them all to organize specific things.
The three above are my grab-and-go pouches. They’re smaller, and they fit in my tote-style purse.
I used this first one-compartment pouch a few times for embroidery projects.
I could fit a 6″ hoop for a flour sack towel in it, add some floss and a pair of scissors in a protective sheath, and I was good to go!
Then I made the “mistake” of throwing in some pencils, erasers, and a small sketchbook one day for an outing, and it is now permanently my grab-and-go sketching pouch, for obvious reasons.
It’s a perfect sketch pouch, and I love it!
This is a simple zipper bag originally sold as a travel pouch for make-up.
This is my favorite grab-and-go case.
It’s sold as a pencil case, but it works perfectly the way I use it…
…which is as a small kit to carry my hexies around. I can slide this into my purse and take it with me anywhere.
It’s much smaller, much more compact than the sewing box that I use for storing most of the project pieces.
I can unzip the case and lay it out pretty much anywhere and have everything I need at my fingertips, for paper piecing hexies.
It has a fairly deep cavity for the bigger stuff, divided for organization.
The divider comes out, but I prefer to leave it in for my uses.
I carry around a stack of pre-cut fabric, a glue pen, a spool of thread, my small pincushion (you can find instructions for making this pincushion here)…
…. some extra glue pen cartridges and my tiny scissors…
…a couple leather thimbles in the mesh pocket…
…and some paper forms in the closed velcro pocket.
It’s tidy. I love this case!
This case I’ve only used once so far. I successfully toted a flour sack towel (from my Festive Fall designs) in a 4″ hoop, all the threads, scissors, tweezers, needles and so forth in it.
It’s a bright and shiny nylon case with three zipper openings, and it offers a good amount of room for compact storage.
The two side zipper compartments are not too deep. I found I could lay out my skeins of DMC in this side, using the straps there to hold the skeins in place.
The center is the deepest part. A 4″ hoop and a folded flour sack towel about 27″ x 27″ fit in there very cozily.
This other side zipper area can hold small tools. I had scissors here and a pair of tweezers.
The outside of this bright and shiny case (hey, it’s easy to find if it’s in a large tote full of other stuff!) has two useless pockets on it. You can use them, but you need to be mindful of anything in them, because whatever’s in them tends to slip out.
It’s an ok pencil / tool / needlework travel case. It’s not super well made of high quality stuff, but it is affordable and it held up to being stuffed and toted around for a week or so. And I’m sure I’ll use it again.
I half-way thought about putting some drawing stuff in it, but it would ruin the case for embroidery use.
This particular mesh zipper pouch I’ve had for at least five years.
I’ve seen these pouches sold at needlework shops. Before I ever saw one at a needlework shop, though, I found them at an office supply store, where they were sold for transporting documents. (I’m still trying to figure that one out.)
They were less expensive at the office supply store, where they came in a multi-pack. And they are less expensive still on Amazon. And they’re all pretty much the same.
I have several of them. I use large ones to hold the components of larger projects. I can even fit full stretcher bar frames in the large ones, along with all the threads and tools for the project.
Right now, this one is stuffed with two flour sack towels, a 4″ hoop, threads (the project is monochrome, so the skeins are loose), and a pair of round-tipped lace scissors, because I’m using my good scissors (which have a sheath) elsewhere.
So those are four pouches or cases that I’ve used very successfully for transporting needlework about. All of them make good grab-and-go project holders.
The one I’m using for my hexies is probably my favorite because it’s so very discreet and tidy. But the others are all functional and they work!
The take-away: look beyond the craft and needlework industry for organizational pouches and cases, especially if you want to put together a grab-and-go project for car travel, waiting rooms, long commutes, and the like.
What About You?
Thanks again to Sara for spawning this topic! I’d love to hear what interesting tools or accessories, storage or organizational items you’ve found outside the needlework and craft industry that work well for your needlework needs!
Or maybe what type of case you use for your own grab-and-go projects, if you have them?
Feel free to chime in on the conversation below with your own recommendations!
Where to Find Some of Them
You’ll find the case I use for my hexes and the mesh zipper bags available on Amazon. If you visit my Amazon Recommendations Page, you’ll find them under tools & accessories.
The link to my Amazon Recommendations page is an affiliate link, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links on those lists, at no additional cost to you.