Monday, June 28, 2010


Having been a sewer for years and years, I have had a variety of pincushions, including several of the classic red tomatoes. I once made myself a pincushion in a sake cup, which finally fell off the table and broke. I have needlepointed a pincushion and had one of those magnetic pincushions. Pincushions get ratty after awhile, except for the magnetic ones, but I just didn't like reaching into that mass of  poke-y pins.

My bad habit is that I end up sticking needles into my pincushions. The ones that have no thread quickly disappear into the innards of the pincushion. The ones that have thread make a big mess with the thread tangling through the pins and other threads. Most pincushions are, in my opinion, too small. I've been wanting a nice big, flattish pincushion that won't roll like tomatoes and sake cups do.

The other day I ran across this piece of needlework I had tucked away. It was something I found among my mother-in-laws things after she died. I don't think she made it. Perhaps it was a souvenir of a trip she took or just something that was given to her. I'm not sure of its purpose. Maybe kind of a doily. It is a punched kind of needlework that creates a surface that is somewhat like chenille. I liked the stylized tulip design and thought it might be the beginning of a new pincushion. I stitched a back on it, leaving an opening and stuffed it with little plastic pellets made for adding weight to dolls' feet and bottoms. They are about the size of rice, which I have also used to stuff pincushions in the past. It came out a little misshapen and too round, so I stitched a cord in the center that pulled the middle together a bit and flattened it. I worked the stuffing around to fill it out. The cord makes a loop that I can pick it up by.

I went through my pins and discarded all the bent and dull pins. You just have to do that every so often. I like nice sharp, long, glass headed pins. Those little short pins with the tiny, flat heads are worthless. I throw them away. I'm going to try to keep needles in the magnetic holder and I have thrown away my raggedy old pincushion.

I am loving our summer weather and I took my new pincushion out on the deck this morning and stitched a sleeve on the back of my newest quilt and trimmed off all the loose threads on the back.

Now, that is a useful pincushion.


  1. Looks so pretty with the pins in it. My favorite pins are short and no glass head and very sharp and quite expensive, but they do what I need them to do and don't stick into my hand or arm where they can cause problems.

  2. Love the pincushion! Very clever of you. I have one of those wool pincushions, and my needles always disappear inside it, too. I love cleaning out my pins, getting rid of the bent ones, and replacing them with new ones. Very nice!

  3. For years I have been taking all my old pins to Empty Spools Seminars and throwing them out when the week is over. A tablemate asked me what I was doing and I told her that I like nice, new sharp pins and she said she would like my old ones! So, now I ask if anyone wants the old ones and someone always does. I much prefer the new pins and the magnetic pin holder.

  4. Anonymous6:35 AM

    I have a pincushion made from a felted wool ball cut in 1/2 it is big and it doesn't roll. I have had it for 20 years I think. I bought it at the local Sidewalk Arts sale from the local fiber guild. Probably the best buy I ever got at one of those events.

  5. Useful and beautiful, too!!! Great idea!

  6. Can't help but smile at this delightful pin cushion. You are so clever to make that stitched piece functional.

  7. Michal9:20 PM

    Love the pincushion. It looks perfect! Yahoo! Summer is here at long last! I am in Puyallup, WA. and felt your pain with all the rain.

  8. This must be the week for tiny tasks; while you were sorting pins, I was sorting pens -- and pencils. How did I manage to accumulate so many of each? The mechanical pencils, especially, are a mystery, since I've never really used them.