Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pincushions Multiplying

Heart Pincushion pattern available free on-line.I mentioned in my previous post about the multitude of pincushions that have shown themselves in my sewing studio. I thought it might be fun to document it in this blog. Here's the most recent one I made. Actually I made two of them - one for a friend and one for myself. This heart shaped, bow bedecked pincushion pattern is available free on-line. It is rather large compared to the other pincushions. If I were to make any more of these I would likely shrink the size down by a third or one fourth the original size. It is filled with brand new quilting pins I recently purchased so I know these are sharp and unbent - for now.

Two more pincushions - a 'chair' and magnetic pin holderNext you'll see a Mary Engelbreit chair pincushion than came from a friend. I was tempted to use it as a small doll's chair, but for now it holds pins near one of my sewing machines. Immediately adjacent to it you will see my pink magnetic pin holder. This was given to me by two very lovely ladies who once took a class I taught on quilt making. I love the ease of using this as I can sort of 'toss' my pins in its direction without looking while I am in a sewing frenzy and it 'catches' most all of them.

Next you'll see a standard tomato pincushion and my Golden Chicken pincushion. The chicken was supposed to be sewn as a couple of basic mini Log Cabin quilt blocks, but I made mine up with mini crazy quilt blocks showcasing decorative stitches at the seam lines. It was used as an sample for a sewing class I taught once. Mine sample didn't quite follow the standard way of doing this as a log cabin, but was a derivative of it. The gold lame fabric is soft and pliable compared to the cotton in the rest of the piece. But the batting that is sewn in prior to making it into a 'chicken' gives it enough body to hold it's shape. Here's one source for this type of chicken pincushion.

Rubber Duckie pincushonIn the basket that sits alongside my iron at my pressing station are some small stuffed squares with Rubber Duckies machine embroidered on them. There are three of them in the basket, plus three more with another embroidery design. They could also be used as juggling aids (without the pins!) or as originally made to be used in a tossing game we featured once at the local sewing store where I worked. The small round tin with the cat also holds pins (yeah, more new pins)! When I saw this I knew I wanted it as I already have Loralie Harris' machine embroidery design with this same cat image. I am not really attracted to things with cats on them (I'm allergic to cats), but this little cutie caught my eye and now resides in my sewing studio.

The last picture shows the Heart Pincushion again as well as a portion of the Weighted Pincushion with thread catcher my friend Rosemary made for me. I'll have to get a better photo of it to share. It is one of her own designs that I haven't seen quite like it in my search on-line, but looks similar to this pincushion with thread catcher. Rosemary's version has crushed walnut shells in the pincushion part, an attached magnetic strip to keep track of needles and scissors, and is weighted with a ceramic tile.

You can see another package of NEW PINS! I found them while de-cluttering my sewing studio. I've also got some older yellow headed pins that are just not as sharp as the long glass headed quilter's pins. Obviously I like using the sharper ones so I don't struggle getting pins through several layers of fabric.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pin Cushion Collections

My chicken pin cushion keeps my pins neat and tidy.I realized the other day I have unwittingly started a haphazard collection of pin cushions. As I have been going through my sewing studio to organize and straighten up the place I've found lots of pin cushions. I recently went out and purchased a new box of pins since some of the old ones have become dull through use and bent out of shape. Upon clearing some of the clutter I found I must have had the idea of replacing my pins awhile ago. I ran into another new box of pins. Now I'm happy to report I'm well stocked in new pins.

Replacing pins is something one does not think about replacing often, but it is one of those little things that can be frustrating when sewing. If it's been awhile since you've purchased new pins, it may be time to do so. Just like your sewing machine needles get dull with use, your pins do as well. Approximately 8-10 hours use is the maximum for machine needles in order to maintain quality work. If you let them go much longer they are dull and end up tearing the fiber of your fabric and abraiding it rather than piercing neatly through it. You will end up seeing frayed edges along your stitch line once the garment or article you are sewing is washed. How disappointing that would be when you go to all the trouble to do a nice sewing job only to wash the item and see a row of frayed and worn fabric at the seam lines.

Heather Bailey's pin cushion patternTo celebrate the new, cleaner state of my studio I treated myself to Heather Bailey's pin cushion pattern. I've had my eye on this one for some time, but wasn't prepared to purchase it at the time. Now I want to sew up a few more pin cushions and will likely discard some of the old ones that have seen better days. I love visiting Heather's blog! She has such a fresh, colorful look and lively tales to tell. So, this will be something new I'll be working on in the next week. I purchased some of Heather's fabrics some time ago. That'll be the perfect fabric to use of course. And the felt for the leaves on the fruit is in my stash as well. Pictures to come . . .