Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pincushion Potential

The pincushion. An item in the sewing room that used to be strictly utilitarian and plain in appearance. (I [Kara] think of the traditional tomato pincushion here.) However, in recent times the lowly pincushion has been elevated from just being functional to a stylish, creative, decorative, item that graces not just our sewing rooms but can be used as a part of any room's decor.

As a former seamstress (see Out With the Old and in with the New), my tomato pincushion was my right-hand gal, and I'd go into panic mode if my assistant cat knocked it somewhere into the messy depths of my sewing room. It's still downstairs next to my sewing machine, ready to fulfill its duty for that time that I come out of seamstress retirement, or for when I can get some time to do some quilt piecing.

 But now my assistants are these two gems:

They sit beside me at my kitchen table where I do most of my stitching now. The flower pincushion was made this past April at Jan Vaine's Tea and Stitches Retreat, and the crazy quilt one was given to me by Teri at our last Appliqué Academy.

A couple of months ago, our friend Jo brought a craft to do during our weekly stitch time. It was a pincushion made from a bottle cap. I was hooked after making the first one and proceeded to scour my house for bottle caps.

Without realizing it, I now had a pincushion collection and began to think that I really needed to add to it. I had also been seeing a lot of creative pincushion ideas on Pinterest and different blogs that I followed. Combine that with my love of all things vintage, and I now had another collection: items for "potential" pincushions. My thrift store wanderings took on a different mission as I viewed the housewares aisle as a place to find future pincushions.

Here are a few of my recent finds:

The sugar bowl top will hide the pincushion and the bottom will be storage
 Won't these look lovely as pincushions with some vintage trims?
This basket will have new life with some wool for a pincushion top
Hidden storage and a pincushion
This brass acorn used to be a lighter 

A bee-themed pincushion with storage
So what to do with all this potential? I think each item will lend itself to a certain decorative flair and I've gathered a few items that I think will work for the new purpose these pieces will have. Antique quilt blocks, doilies, and velvet will make beautiful decorative tops, and this sari silk ribbon will certainly be used somewhere.

Add in some vintage-style trims, beads, lace and silk and I've already found so many options for creating some beautiful yet functional works of art.

Do you have a pincushion collection or have you transformed any unconventional items into pincushions? Stay tuned to see how these treasures find new lives as pincushions, and check out our "Pins and Needles" Pinterest board for inspiration to add to your own collection!


  1. Wow I bought a sugar bowl at the Goodwill. I want to make a pincushion of out it. When I go to the Goodwill I see artwork not second hand items Love to go there on a weekly bases

    1. Thrift stores can be so much fun when you are seeing potential for creative art. Hope you'll share a photo of your sugar bowl pincushion with when you've finished it. Enjoy!