I’ve tried a lot of pincushions before, but this gonzo version is my absolute favorite. The threads of the bolt keep the pins sticking out at crazy angles so they’re really easy to grab onto, and the magnet ensures that the pins won’t spill when you carry it around. It’s also a lot quicker to wave the pincushion over a pile of pins like a magic wand, instead of stabbing them all individually into a soft pincushion.
Choose a bolt that has a flat top instead of a rounded one. It should be about 3/4 inch (19 mm) long, and of course it needs to be attracted to a magnet. You’ll also need a small scrap of fabric, a flat piece of metal that is attracted to a magnet, and a flat neodymium magnet. Neodymium magnets are also called rare Earth magnets, and they have a lot of strength and holding power for their size. A regular refrigerator magnet would be too weak to work here. The magnet and metal piece I’m using came out of a discarded computer hard drive.
Sew the fabric scrap into a small pouch that’s roughly 2 inches by 4 inches (5 cm by 10 cm). Slip the flat piece of metal inside the pouch. Now snap the magnet on top, and put the bolt on top of the magnet.
If you wanted to, you could just use a magnet and a bolt, but there are several reasons why I settled on this configuration. The flat piece of metal keeps the pincushion standing upright, and makes it easier to pick up. The fabric pouch keeps the metal parts from scratching your tabletop, and makes it easier to attach it to other surfaces. You could add a grommet or a buttonhole if you wanted to hang it on your pegboard.
I use this exclusively for my pins, but I have a different method for storing sewing machine needles, that keeps track of what size and type they are.