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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Gift From the Universe - a quilting treat for YOU!

Did you know that every few months a fifth Wednesday occurs? Yep, it's true. It doesn't matter which day you are looking at, every few months a fifth one will happen. Not all in the same month, of course, and never in February. And... because of February's quirkiness, some years there are 4 months with the fifth day, and some years there are 5 months with the fifth day.

TODAY, October 31, is the last fifth Wednesday of 2018. I think we should celebrate! Of course... I think we should celebrate if the dog chews on her toys rather than my shoes, so I'm pretty much happy to celebrate anything.

Fifth Wednesdays are like little gifts from the Universe. "Here!" says the Universe. "Have an extra Wednesday!"

When I asked what I should do with that extra Blog day, the Universe said "It's Halloween! A great day to give a treat to friends who live inside your computer."

What kind of treat? Copious amounts of sugar are in order for Halloween...obviously. But you'll have to get that for yourself. Sorry.

Here's my gift to you: PUMPKINS! Ok, not Pumpkin pumpkins. How about little fabric gourds that can be integrated into your fall decor AND they have a secret life as pincushions. Nobody can have too many super cute pincushions, right?

The "treat" part is that they take about 15 minutes to make. So you can make dozens of them in an afternoon if you want. I made 6 of them before I remembered I needed to take pictures.

Quick, easy and inexpensive makes them a perfect hostess gift for all your Thanksgiving feast guests. Make them for family, neighbors and especially all your quilting friends!

What you'll need for each gourd:

2 - 5" squares of fabric
Polyfil or other polyester stuffing
needle and thread
embroidery floss or perle cotton
Green or brown buttons of various sizes
Circle template (I used Bigger Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley)
Large and small needles
Blunt turning tool and/or chopstick

If you want to add grit, you'll also need:

Pet Bird litter (crushed walnut shells), or emery sand
2 - 2 1/2"circles of muslin or other scrap fabric
Small funnel (a cone of paper is great)

Using the template, draw a circle on the back of one of the fabric squares. Don't crowd these. You need 1/4" outside each circle for a seam allowance.

With right sides together, sew around the circle, leaving a 1 1/2" hole for turning and filling, back stitch at the beginning and end.

Cut out the circle with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Carefully turn the circles right side out through the hole. Run your finger or turning tool around the inside to smooth out the seam.

If you are not using the optional grit, skip the next step and ignore any other references.

Optional Grit bag: Decrease stitch length to prevent grit leaking. Sew the 2 1/2" circles together with a 1/4" seam allowance. They don't have to be pretty, or round. Leave a 1/2" hole for filling. Using a tiny funnel or cone, loosely fill the bag with a tablespoon or so of grit. Don't overfill or you won't be able to get it inside the pumpkin. Sew the hole closed.

The grit bag adds a little weight to the bottom so the pincushion is more stable. Emery will also help keep your pins sharp...so they say.

Take your time and use the chopstick to poke the bag of grit into the bag. Wiggle it around until it lays flat in the center of the bottom circle. Pin it in place from the outside if you can. Use small pins, like appliqué pins. Point them at each other, not at you.

Take the pins out when the pincushion is filled enough to hold the bag in place.

Without shifting the grit bag around too much, stuff the pincushion with Polyfil until it is firm. It will take LOTS, more than you expect. Use a chopstick or similar tool to work the stuffing around so it's even. The polyfil will want to come out, don't let it boss you around.

Tuck in the seam allowance and whip stitch the hole closed by hand. Smoosh the ball around until the seams are plump, the filler is balanced, and it sits nicely on it's bottom. 

 Ribs (not the smoky ones with tangy BBQ sauce, dang it!)

Thread a long needle with about 36" of perle cotton or 6 strand embroidery floss. Tie a knot in the end leaving a tail about 4" long. Draw the needle through the bottom of the ball, straight up to the top. Try to hit the centers of both circles. Pull the thread taut and bring the needle around the outside of the pumpkin to the bottom so the floss makes an indentation (rib) around the outside of the ball.

Draw the needle up through the gourd again and adjust the rib to the amount of indent you like. This time, bring the thread around to create a rib on the other side of the gourd. You should now have 2 ribs and 2 sections.

Continue drawing the thread from bottom to top and adjusting until the pin cushion has as many ribs as you like. I like 6 on these.

When you've finished the last rib, draw the thread from bottom to top and through the hole of a short stack of decorative buttons. Send the needle back through the buttons to the bottom. If your  buttons have 4 holes, send the thread up twice and back down. Tie off the threads on the bottom with a square knot. You can snip the threads close or bury them as you like.


For an extra bit of fancy, cut a leaf from felt (or make a curly cue from a pipe cleaner) and tuck it under the button, secured with hot glue.

Show off your pumpkin patch on the Facebook page. I'd love to hear how much you enjoyed making them... and how many you made. ;-]

Have a fun and safe Halloween. Did you finish your Witches Pickets? We all love candy for Halloween. Eye candy is the best of all!

Don't forget to FOLLOW.
If you have any questions you can leave them in the comments below or email me directly.


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