Sunday, 27 October 2019

Pincushion Swap

I've been away at Quilting Retreat hosted by Just Jude Designs this weekend, and, oh my word, how fabulous it has been!!  I promise to tell you more about it soon, but for now let me tell you about my contribution to the pincushion swap.

I've been pinning pincushions to my Pinterest board since I knew this was happening and had quite an overload of ideas for a while.  I wanted to try so many things that I'd seen, but still wanted to do something a wee bit different, too.

While I pondered, I made a pincushion in the style of Fabric Mutt's Deluxe Pincushion design.  I loved it and was going to keep it but gave it away to someone who loved it just as much.  It's heartwarming to give to someone who loves a thing, isn't it?

This practice pinnie was great for getting my brain to think around how to execute some of the ideas weaving about in my head, so I started drafting and calculating and came up with a plan.  With fingers tightly crossed, I gave it a whirl, and ended up with this to swap -

One of my ideas was to try to include an area for needles as well as pins.  I don't know about you, but when I pop needles into my pincushions I can't distinguish them easily from the pins (middle aged eyesight probably), so I end up hunting around for one usually to discover it disappeared inside the pincushion months ago!  I thought a little felt needle landing would be a nice inclusion so the needles have their own dedicated space.

Aware of the popularity of Wonder Clips of late, I made a little clip tab as well.  I know it only holds 3 or 4 but that's enough to deal with a 'hold it together emergency' while you hunt out your pouch of wonder clips for the rest. 

I loved the idea of a scissor pocket like the one on the Fabric Mutt design, so I wanted to have one of those too.  And, of course, some actual space for sticking pins!

The tallest part of all that order was getting all of the elements to fit in a pincushion that wouldn't come out measuring 12" square.  It did take some puzzling and a few drafts and re-calculations to achieve the resulting pincushion which measures approx 5" x 6.5".

Fabric-wise I chose some reliably pretty Bonnie and Camille prints with the addition of a little lace trim and mother of pearl heart shaped button. 

The backing is Essex linen in natural (right pincushion in pic above).  I attempted to get the gorgeous texture of matchstick quilting that one of my old pincushions has (the one on the left).  I've always felt that texture has really helped the pincushion's hardiness and it's also just lovely and tactile.  But for some reason, it just didn't really work on the Essex linen.  I don't quite know why, but it's definitely very flat compared with the older pincushion back.  Aw well, you win some ...

As you can see, I also incorporated one of Carina Envoldsen's teeny mandala embroidery designs in the pin part of the pincushion.  I had enjoyed a few stitchy hours working up this mandala on my holidays but didn't quite know how I wanted to use it.  When it came time to think about this pincushion swap I wracked my brains as to what to feature on the pin area and I almost went with a downsized quilt block design. Fortuitously, when rooting around my sewing pile for something unrelated, I came across the mandala again and thought it might be nice to try to work it into the pincushion design.  A little porthole worked beautifully in the pink scallop design fabric and the embroidery popped neatly in behind there.

Next time all I would do differently is make the scissor pocket just a little bit taller (and perhaps add something more reinforcing in the bottom of the pocket).  Other than that I'm rather pleased with the resulting pincushion and hope the swapee who received it is too.


  1. These are both wonderful and you had a very lucky recipient. I have to say my favourite is the one you kept, the sweet little bird just makes it due. x

  2. I love them both, but so much amazing work went into the one you swapped. It's beautiful. Jxo

  3. They're both lovely! Hooray for finishes! *waves pompoms*


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