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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fabric Pumpkin Pincushions

TRICK or TREAT! Need a little treat for your quilty friends? How about pumpkins?

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 or lizard 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 sand 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. We all love candy for Halloween. Eye candy is the best of all!

If you have any questions you can leave them in the comments below.

This article was originally  published in its entirety on October 31, 2018

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See you next time.


PS. Wanna see where I hang out when I'm not at Seamless Piecing?

The Quilt Pattern Magazine is an online, monthly magazine where I publish some of my designs.
AND... it's not just a magazine. It's also a delightful, private, online community called Pattern Pastiche. Some of the best and nicest quilters around hang out there along with others, like me, who just want to rub shoulders with them.

It's a safe place to ask questions and get mentoring from those who know and care.
AND... If you go there from here you can use a special discount code just for Seamless Piecing readers. Here's the link. The code is: SP

The You Choose adventure is happening at Pattern Pastiche. It's a FREE event. You just have to stop by during Live Chat times to get your clues.

Come find out what your clue is. It probably won't be the same as mine.

Three new groups started at TQPM this month. All the patterns are published in the October 2019 issue of The Quilt Pattern Magazine.

Kaliedescope Flake is an English Paper Piecing design by Cindy McCoy. If you've never done EPP it's time you learn. It's a perfect take-along project. Cindy is a fabulous EPP designer and will gladly help you learn this skill.

Floral Spin is a mystery quilt designed by Bonny Peters of CatDenMountainQuilts.com. Bonny's designs are always fresh and fun. She has an amazing eye for color and she's a great teacher. If you are looking for a mystery you know is going to end up looking awesome, this may be the one for you.

Nancy Noah designed the Harlequin quilt as part of an Ostrich Round Robin group at TQPM last year. It turned out really great and is now offered in the magazine as a Block of the Month. The monthly installments aren't actually blocks, they are each unique borders on this beautiful Queen size quilt.

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