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More Delightful Pin Cushions

After last week’s post I received a number of pictures of more pin cushions. They were so diverse and interesting, I just had to do one more pin cushion post  😀 !

Laurie sent this picture with the following message: “I inherited this stagecoach pin cushion from my Mom who passed away in 2009.  There is styrofoam under the red covered top and if you look closely you can see the retractable measuring tape on the bottom between the wheels. I don’t use it because it’s too cute and I don’t want to wreck it.”

Lorraine’s email contained another helpful hint for using cushions: “This isn’t a special pin cushion but it has a special purpose. I love using these numbered pins but got frustrated because they would always get mixed up in their sectioned container. I finally decided to dedicate a pin cushion just for them.  By keeping each number grouped together the pins are now so much easier to use.”

Shellie said “Here’s a photo of a thumb pin cushion that I bought on Sunday, at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah.”
I think I have one of those too – now to figure out where I put it!
Nina sent me a photo of part of her collection with the comment: “Some from flea markets, others from mom and grandma and children. I just adore them!”
And Cathy said the following are only part of her collection too:
What a fun, useful and collectable item pin cushions are! Thank you so much ladies for sharing your treasures with us.
These all got me to thinking about 2 additional ones I inherited from a relative’s sewing collection many years ago. They’re unique in that the pins are stuck into the edges. One is a velvet circle and the other looks like a “mattress”. I’m showing them from two different angles and the pin heads give you an idea of their size. I wonder how old they are.
I spent the past 6 days in New York City with my cousins Deb and Cindy.
We had a marvelous time visiting all the sites and seeing a few Broadway shows. It was wonderful!
Funny thing – in all the shops we wandered through I didn’t find a single pin cushion  😉 !

May 27, 2018, Uncategorized
Pin Cushions

On our rare “child”- free days Mike and I like to go for rides to nearby towns and visit antique shops. On one of our recent adventures I found an old pin cushion that really tickled me.

As you can see it’s in the shape of an old telephone (so very different from our present day devices), with the pin cushion in the center of the rotary dial, the scissors fitted into an opening at the top, and it even has a retractable measuring tape that comes out the back of the “phone”. It makes me smile and got me to thinking about some of the other pin cushions I have. Some are utilitarian, like my purple magnet with flower head pins that I use daily:

Or the one I made that hangs by my sewing machine and is attached to a schnibble bag:

I’m sure these are familiar to many of you. The next one I’ve shared before, but I think it may bare repeating. I have a divided pin cushion that I’ve marked with the needle sizes I use. When I’m changing needles, and the used one still has life in it, I stick it in the appropriate place in the cushion. I then put a fancy headed pin in the section that represents the needle I’ve just placed in the machine. That way I always know which type and size is being used.

The next one was our trip project when Wendy and I took a group of quilters on a riverboat cruise in France. It is an armchair caddy that not only has a pin cushion across the top, but 2 roomy pockets and a scissors holder (the pocket on the other side has an embellished map of our trip on it).

(Just a quick note – we still have a few cabins available for our Quilter’s Hawaiian Cruise this January. Click here for all the information)

This next cushion isn’t one I use, but I found it in an antique store many years ago and I love it. It will keep my new “telephone” company on the shelf.

Are you a collector of pin cushions? I never thought I was, but I guess they do appeal to me.

Do you have a favorite one you use every day? or any that are interesting or unique? Please send me pictures at

May 20, 2018, Uncategorized
Quilting with Difficult Fabrics

I’ve put Minky™ fabric on the back of a few quilts to make them extra snuggly – with good results. In fact, on my granddaughter Rainee’s quilt I put it on the back and turned it to the front to make the bound edge; and I reverse Repliquéd it into an “R” on the front of the quilt too (this is a technique in my book “Snuggle and Learn Quilts for Kids)! To read about that quilt go to .

turned back to front binding

Recently I was making a quilt for my dear niece Kate. She and her husband are expecting a little girl in June and I couldn’t wait to make her a quilt. The problem was I chose to piece with Minky™ this time. I found the fabrics I wanted to use at Vogue Fabrics near Chicago. Minky™ is an ultra soft, plush type of fleece, and what I found there was similar, but I’m not sure that’s what it’s actually called. The pink check on the right is for the back of the quilt and the white was what I decided to piece into a star – just look at the height of that nap! What was I thinking!!!

I cut squares of a pink cotton and drew a diagonal line on the wrong side. I then placed them right-sides-together with the “furry nightmare fabric” called “fnf” from now on 🙂 , pinning intensely. I sewed on both sides of the line and cut down the middle. The nap made everything squish and squirm. I was really glad I’d oversized the squares. After trimming them down I needed to pieced these half-square triangle units into a star. That meant “fnf” right sides together with “fnf”. It was awful. I’ve sewn on velvet and this was much worse. But I refused to give up.


Once the star was finished the entire perimeter was the cotton fabric, so I could breathe a little easier and lay out all the other pink squares.

Did I mention the nursery theme is pink with stars? And Kate and Ryan are both hunters, thus the pink camo fabric (thanks Maria!) The rest of the piecing was a breeze.

What I learned is that one should never try to put a really high nap fabric right-sides-together with anything else and expect to have great results. I decided I could still use the pink checked Minky™ for the back because it wasn’t sewn right-sides-together with anything, and it worked well. To quilt the “fnf” star, I cut a heart from freezer paper, ironed it in place on the back of the quilt,

and quilted around it from the back.

It all came together and I was happy with the results. Especially when I saw the smile on Kate’s and Nonna Deb’s faces.

Can’t wait to meet this little sweetie in June. Love you guys!

May 13, 2018, Uncategorized
Repaired and Back on the Bed!

In last week’s post I told the story of a quilt (it’s really a comforter because it’s tied, not quilted) that has kept Mike and me warm for 42 years. I was overwhelmed with the wonderful comments and suggestions to that post. I washed it, hung it outside (Spring is finally here!) and took a few minutes to simply look at it.

As puckery and worn as it is, it has too many wonderful memories to end it’s usefulness now. But how to repair it? Since almost all of the worn blocks were on the edge – why not cover them with a border “quilt-as-you-go” style? Please bear in mind my original comforter was layered with a sheet and a sheet blanket, stitched around and turned; then it was tied with yarn every 16″ – so it never laid flat, even before the wool shrunk. That added a minor layer of difficulty to this process, but I persevered.

I pulled out a pretty fabric from the “multi-yard” area of my stash, and cut a strip of fabric the length of each side of the comforter by the width of the outer row of blocks + 1 ½”. I laid a border strip, right sides together, with it’s appropriate side of the quilt, covering the outer row seam by 1/8″ and stitching with a ½” seam allowance.

As I continued stitching I found a block that shows why something had to be done  🙂 !

Once the seam was done I folded the border strip over the row of worn blocks, turned everything over to the back, and folded the border back on itself to create a “self-binding”.

I stitched it in place from the front with a decorative stitch.

I repeated this for the other side, then I added the top and bottom strips, this time leaving 1 ½” extra on both ends to finish the corners.

While working on the borders I did find 2 squares in the interior that were threadbare. To fix them I went through my box of 6″ squares, chose 2, trimmed them down to the right size, pressed under 1/4″ hem, and topstitched them in place with a mending stitch on my machine.

My old friend is still quite wonky, and there were some unavoidable puckers on the back (which I will not share pictures of), but it’s back on the bed and ready for another 42 years!

Thanks for all of the encouragement!

May 6, 2018, Uncategorized