I had been looking at Zirkels for some time, but I kept deciding that it was one, albeit small, expense that I did not need to follow through on. There are many less expensive options for magnetic pincushions. I had never considered buying one and I am unsure why, other than the fanning, the Zirkel caught my eye while the others didn't. Of course there is a caveat here....or it wouldn't be worth a post after so very long an absence.
I am working on a project that, like it or not, requires using a whole lotta pins...many, many more than I generally use ...which is usually as few as possible. I used my well loved wool felt pincushions until one day, as I sewed, I considered how much time I was spending taking the pins out ahead of my sewing and tucking them safely back in the pincushion. My mind turned to the Zirkel again. Would using one be any faster than using a wool felt pincushion? Keep in mind that I am most decidedly not a "quick, fun and fabulous" kind of sewer. In fact I usually won't even look at a book that has one of those words in the title. I tend go slow...but slowness and quickness are all relative to the person and the sewing situation.
It was also about time to replenish the supply of my favorite pins Clover Extra-Fine Patchwork Pins that are 0.4mm (the ones in the photo). Might it be the perfect time to hunt down a Zirkel and have fine new pins too? Simple pleasures for simple, retired income restricted, minds.
The pins were the easy part to locate. I did some searching for a good price in Zirkels with the all important "free shipping" option a bit less plentiful. They are offered in several colors. Lime, Blue (a very nice turquoise actually), red, purple and black. Of course I wanted the lime, but oddly enough it was the most expensive option on Amazon (yes, prime shipping is of prime importance to me). It was about $6. more than black or blue and several dollars more than the other colors! I chose the blue...thinking, from the photo, that was a blue that I was particularly not fond of, but a better alternative for me than the black. It was a lovely surprise to find that it is actually a lovely turquoise color that I like very much. A bit more potent and a tad more green than he above image indicates.
Yes, the Zirkle really does fan out the pins..if they are dropped onto the surface pointed tip down. It seems that there is a round magnet inside ...the circle on the top is blank underneath and, I suspect, that assists the fanning process. Of course in the thick of sewing and removing pins I am not always careful to "toss them on" tip down but it's easy to fix when the toils of the sewing day are done. Did it work to speed things up? I am not that certain really, but having this somewhat looser work flow does FEEL like it goes more smoothly and effortlessly.
The company that makes Zirkel states that they are safe for use near computerized home sewing machines, while the label says "strong magnetic field, use caution handling". My best guess on the both? Use common sense. I have had the Zirkel near my computerized machine and had no issues. That being said, I don't have it snugged up right next to the machine's sensitive motherboard. Likewise, this sort of pin cushion might not be a prudent choice for someone with a pacemaker...though I have no clue about how sensitive those monitors are.
At full price, I am not have sprung the "but me" button, but for the price I found it was well worth it for me. I like being able to know that pins are held securely to its surface. My incident with a "needle being caught in my beloved cats throat" of a few years ago has me hyper-vigilant about needles and pins....so much "sew" that when I hand sew in the living room I will only use a set number of pins in use so I can easily keep track of them. A tad OCD I know but I never want to go through that again!
So, in my opinion, while not a necessity, I think that the Zirkel is a handy tool to have. I am glad that I finally took the plunge and bought one. It does what I had hoped for and my new shiny, sharp pins look so perfectly displayed now too! Yes, it really is the little, "daily use" objects that make life just a bit more nice as well as colorful.
The blue in image above is too true blue...but you get the idea. I was happy to have turquoise instead!