This and that: winter sewing

Two holiday gifts to share today, both simple but satisfying projects.  Before I made any clothes for E, I spent years making little quilts and other small projects.  I love using little pieces of fabric.  I  love how fun it is to experiment.

First, I made a birthday gift for a friend who has recently started quilting.  This pincushion pattern is the first I’ve made from Modern Log Cabin Quilting.  This book is full of big and little projects that I hope to someday try.


The blue fabric is the last of some Robert Kaufman linen that I’ve used on countless projects and the blue flower print was more from my grandmother’s fabric collection.

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I made a pin cushion a while ago and stuffed it with cotton (thinking it might give a better feel than polyfil) but I ended up being quite unimpressed.  It doesn’t have the right weight and it is difficult to stick pins in- so really, a total fail and I don’t know why I keep it around other than it’s a really cute little tomato.  Anyway, a little internet searching turned up a wide range of alternate stuffing possibilities and I decided to give crushed walnut shells a try.  Which must be a common enough thing to do, because when I wandered into the pet store looking a little lost (crushed walnut shells are apparently used for lizards and birds) and asked for walnut shells, the helpful man said “are you making a pincushion?” Well, yes I was.  And it worked so well!  And it came in a really big bag, so I can either make many more pincushions or find some other use.  Just in case you’re curious, crushed walnut shells look like this:


I sent the pincushion off with some fabric scraps (I loved having new little scraps when I was just starting out quilting) and some stork scissors.


My other holiday sewing project was another great basket using this pattern from A Cuppa and a Catch Up.  This is my fourth go at this pattern and I love it.  My original idea was to make a 6-piece set of nested bowls in rainbow order (the pattern has sizes 4-9 inches) and I’d even picked out the fabrics.  But then reality set in and I only had time to make one, so I set those other fabrics aside.  Maybe another year.  Filled with some gingerbread cookies, mandarins, and cards, this was all ready for E’s preschool teacher.  The polka dot fabrics are both from Moda and the blue is Robert Kaufman essex yarn-dyed linen.

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And for future reference, 8 inch handles feel much too large for the 6 inch basket.  But they do make for easy carrying…


5 thoughts on “This and that: winter sewing

    • Thanks, Christine! If you lived near Seattle I’d happily share some of the extra walnut shells! Martha Stewart has a cute pattern for the traditional tomato pincushion and there are some sweet little strawberries that I want to try. If only there were more time….

    • We love our fiestaware! It’s held up so well, with no chips and just a few broken items over many years. Plus it is fun to keep adding items and different colors. E got a fiestaware tea set from her grandmother last year and it makes me so happy!

  1. Pingback: Pincushions and juggling balls | lizzieville

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