I love a big, hefty project, one that takes a long time, sucks me into the process, and about which I can feel hugely satisfied when I’m done.
But sometimes, a girl just needs to start and finish something in a day. Sometimes, we all need a fun, small, manageable, creative endeavor that doesn’t involve a years-long commitment, like a yoyo quilt or a weaving project with a 6-yard warp. (Weavers—don’t laugh! Six yards is long for me!)
I made just such a project lately and it made me inordinately happy.
First, I received in the mail, late last year, a small wooden circle loom, from the kind blogger at Twill Textile Design. I spent some happy time making a small woven piece on it, using the yarn she sent and some of my own.
I love this little cutie but it drove me crazy that I didn’t know what to DO with it! I’m a practical gal and want my crafts to be useful.
Then I was trolling around on Pinterest and I saw the idea for making a pincushion out of an old cup.
I like pincushions.
I have lots of old cups.
Cups are round at the top and about 3-4 inches in diameter.
My woven circle was 3.5 inches in diameter . . .
I went online and ordered the stuff of which pincushions are made—I ordered both emery sand, the stuff that goes into the little strawberries attached to traditional pincushions, and ground walnut shells, an alternative to emery sand. Both are abrasive and meant to keep needles and pins sharp and free of rust.
And, for one happy, (mostly) carefree morning last week, I sewed and glued and fussed and fumed until my pincushion was finished.
I chose a vintage mug made by FireKing of so-called Jadeite. My mother had one of these when I was a kid so it has nostalgic value. (I have to admit I just researched, belatedly, and learned I could probably have sold this single cup for $25-$30 . . . oh, well!)
I like the mid-century aesthetic and sturdiness of this cup and there’s one stripe of green in my woven piece that sort of matches the green in the cup.
To make the pincushion, all I did was dig out some scraps of quilt batting I had on hand, to fill the bulk of the cup. The emery sand and walnut shells would become expensive if I was filling the whole cup with them!
I cut two circles of finely-woven muslin about a half-inch larger than my weaving. I sewed them together and left a small opening, and used my teeny funnel to fill the little bag with ground walnut shells. I tried to fill it really full. Then I finished sewing up the opening.
I hand sewed my weaving on top of the bag of walnut shells.
I fussed around to figure out how much batting I needed to fill the cup and, when I had it right, I used the handle of a spoon to help me tuck the weaving and pincushion bag into the cup.
Then came the part I liked least—the glue gun! I am not proficient with glue guns, though I did find one that worked here in my house. I tried to be careful but still managed to get glue on the cup, on the weaving, on the counter, on my hands. It doesn’t show up too much in any of those places . . .
The finished pincushion! Super cute, huh?
When I got done with that part, I still had my mojo working so I dissected a tea bag and used it as a template to make my own little muslin tea bag, to fill with emery sand. Since emery sand is the traditional filler for pincushions, I wanted to have at least a little of that available for use.
The sewing on the tea bag does not represent my finest crafting hour, it’s true. I was getting impatient to finish and didn’t think things completely through. But the thing was finished in one morning, and, frankly, I quite love it!
I learned a lot so, if I ever decide to do this again, I can make changes.
- I would try one using a cup with a saucer; I could glue the two together and give myself a little saucer/tray to hold my spool of thread, etc.
- I would dig through my damaged vintage linens to find alternatives to the woven circle. I am always trying to find ways to use vintage bits of embroidery or crochet and it would be fun to match such things with cups from different eras.
- I would look for braid or trim or something to add to the place where the pincushion meets the cup, to hide the glue more effectively.
- I would not leave a spool of 100 yards of tatting thread lying around, as temptation to the kitten from Hades.
I am pretty pumped to add pincushion maker to my list of crafty skills! Is there an easy, one-day project you’ve turned to, when the big projects get overwhelming?