Yes, it's ugly. No form-follows-function elegance here. The designer couldn't even be bothered to pick a cheery color. But can this thing thread needles or what?! My eyes are not what they used to be, but I can still thread an ordinary needle. However, threading quilting needles goes beyond seeing what I'm doing. The eyes are so small that even with a perfect thread end, I can't get the darn things threaded.
One solution is using larger needles and getting the ones with the largest eyes. But I use lots of tightly woven fabrics and sometimes hand piece them and occasionally hand quilt them. Large eyes are not good. And even they are not quick to thread. Ordinary needle threaders still require substantial effort and time, break easily, and sometimes are too thick to work with my needles. Enter the Clover Desk Needle Threader! This baby just works. Drop in the needle, place the thread, push the lever down. Done. I even abused it unmercifully, trying to get it to thread John James size 11 applique needles. It took as many as six or seven tries for each threading, and I could hear the poor mechanism clunking against the needle end, the needle itself sometimes popping out of the needle port with the force of it. I was sure I had wounded it, maybe killed it. But no. It still works like a charm on my size 10s! (It may work on certain brands of 11s and 12s; it works on larger-eyed needles also, although not the huge ones.) I've had it for a couple of years now, and it's still working like new. To be on the safe side though, I bought a second one.
What special little gadgets do you all have that you simply couldn't live without?