Everyone who sews knows that it can be quite a perilous pastime for one's fingers. Not only are you risking stab wounds from pins and needles alike, you also have to watch out for instances where it can be quite difficult to force a needle through many layers of fabric, or where the eye of the needle can even puncture skin as you try to push it through! Some of us also don't really like using thimbles, or sometimes find ourselves in a situation where even a thimble can't help. What do?!
One of my favorite tools for really tough situations like this is a pair of hemostats that I "borrowed" from my husband's hobby kit. (He bought these for gun cleaning; I am not married to Dexter Morgan or some such thing!)
These are great for grabbing needles and really gripping them when they just don't want to cooperate. I've used pliers before, too, but the fine tips and locking function on these really help with hand fatigue and feel way less clunky in my relatively small hands. For less than $7 for both (and free prime shipping if you have it!), I highly recommend keeping these in your proverbial back pocket for times when you just need to give your fingers a break.