Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Ever since I started English paper piecing, over a year now, I've been wanting a small, stable pincushion to park my threaded needle while I prepare the piece for stitching. I looked at a lot of pincushion patterns, but nothing seemed right. Yesterday I was looking at old cross stitch patterns when I found this pincushion pattern in the July 1997 issue (Number 75) of Needlecraft magazine from the U.K. They made theirs from 1" hexagons, but I scaled it down to 1/2" hexies. I also added some quilting to the top!
I am really happy with how it turned out, but it took some doing! I started with some scraps of Kaffe fabric from my scrap bin:
The one on the right is the Lichen print, which is now out of production. This was my very last bit. If anyone from Westminster reads this, please bring it back! It looks a little scary on the bolt, but it is magic when it's cut.
The green on the left, by the way, was not a big enough piece, so I used a larger scrap of green Millefiore instead.
I was disappointed with how the middle fabric (it's Kirman) turned out after it was cut and stitched. The hexagon shapes are a little lost. I put that one on the bottom! The one on the right, the Lichen, came out great:
The pattern says to attach the side pieces to the bottom flower, but I could see in the magazine photos that this makes the join visible around the top. So I attached the side pieces to the top flower. Here it is with the 1/2 squares inserted between the side hexagons:
At this point I took the paper pieces out of the centre flower and sandwiched it with batting and muslin. It is quilted with #8 perle cotton. Then I carefully (!) trimmed away the extra batting and muslin:
FYI, this is my first completed, hand quilted project! It is so small that I didn't need to do a proper quilting stitch on it, but I am counting it towards my New Year's resolution nevertheless!
The big challenge was joining the top and bottom together. Holding the pieces right sides together, I first sewed five of the side hexagons into the "V"s in the bottom, and then went back and joined in the four squares between them. This left two squares and one hexagon unsewn. I took out all the paper except the ones around the opening, and turned the piece right side out.
I closed up one square and the last hexagon, wrong sides together with tiny whip stitches, removing the papers as I went. That left just one square open. Then I used a paper funnel and filled the pincushion with lentils to give it stability, removed the last paper, and whip stitched the opening closed. I'm sorry there are no photos of the final assembly, at that point it was getting late and I just wanted to finish it! However, you can see the join in the first picture, which is not really what I planned, lol!
The magazine says the project can be completed in an evening, but it took me a solid eight hours. A lot of that time was spent scrounging around for materials, cutting the paper 1/2" squares, etc. The quilting was at most an extra hour. I'm sure a larger one would be easier to manage! Here's a final photo to show the scale:
What a refreshing change for me to have a quick finish!