My mother used to just use her pins right out of the box. No pin cushions! It’s pretty awkward though—it’s really hard to pick up just one pin...
A cushion makes it much easier. Your needles and pins will be right at hand when you need them. They come in all shapes and sizes and types. Here’s where you can use your imagination and choose what you like. Some pin cushions are very utilitarian and some are just plain fun. Some are so fancy, you hesitate to use them. Get a pin cushion that appeals to you. In fact, nice tools and pretty things will make sewing more fun!
I have several kinds. I keep a magnetic one next to my sewing machine—I can just “throw” the pins at it as I sew.
***NEVER*** sew over pins!!! Doing this can seriously harm your sewing machine! Or even injure you... If the needle strikes the pin, it can bend and start skipping stitches. Or it can throw the timing off of your machine and you will have an expensive trip to the dealers to fix it. Or the pin will break and go down into the works of your machine - yup. Another way to have an expensive trip to the technician. Or worse yet, the needle or pin can break off and go in your eye! Yeah... just be careful and NEVER sew over pins.
Either remove the pins as you sew—or in difficult cases, baste the seam beforehand.
I use other types too. I keep my appliqué pins in a small Chinese cushion where you just stick the pins in.
A wrist cushion is handy for work away from your machine. Some people use this type exclusively because it is so portable.
And then there are the whimsical ones shaped like chairs or shoes and other shapes. If these appeal to you and serve your needs, go for it! There’s nothing like turning work into fun.