pincushions | December 19, 2019 | By

I have become ADDICTED to making pincushions! It all started this summer when I was homebound (well, not traveling anyway) to undergo radiation treatments for breast cancer. This is where I scream, GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!! Seriously folks, mine was found on a 3D, annual screening. It was extremely small and easily treatable. SOOO, back to pincushions. They exist in my world because I was home and looking for a distraction I believe. A pincushion is the perfect small project! Fun to make, uses scraps, and it’s hugely satisfying to finish a project in a few hours.

They also were an accidental beginning because I had bought a cute little used, Hello Kitty sewing machine for my granddaughter. I started pulling out scraps to sew on that machine and had so much fun, that it never left my dining room table!

The first pincushion, made from tiny half square triangles

Honestly, the last few months have gone by SO fast! I’m not very good at keeping up my posts here, but check out my Facebook page for almost daily pincushion ideas. They’ve grown into vintage focused pieces. All I need to do is look around my studio and I find inspiration. My stash is probably on the ridiculous side of LARGE!

This pincushion started with a piece of vintage embroidery

Each pincushion has a personality of its own. Depending on what machine I’m working at, the Hello Kitty, mom’s Singer 401A, the Bernina 440, or even my longarm, they all look different! I’ve enjoyed free motion quilting on some, ruler work on others and sometimes I’ve used the computer on my longarm machine. It’s pure fun just trying so many techniques and playing on different machines.

Free motion quilting on a hankie corner

The smallest pincushion is probably 3″ square and the size is only determined by the original embroidery or handwork. Some are large, going up to 5 or 6″. I find it’s difficult to cut into really beautiful embroidery, so I try to keep intact what I can.

Sweet vintage bird embroidery with 1930’s prints

I’ve also tried to keep the fabrics I use in line with the era of embroidery. I’ve been gifted so many beautiful feed sacks recently, so those have been my choice when they fit the embroidery. I also love to use Dupioni silks with some of the fancier cut work and drawn thread handwork. They show off nicely with the sheen of the silk.

Beautiful crocheted butterfly, hankie corner

Where do I find all of these beautiful vintage pieces? Mostly antique and thrift stores. I’m also gifted so many fabulous hankies, embroideries, tablecloths, you name it! Most people don’t know what to do with their generations of linens. It’s become my passion to teach, share and inspire, to get those wonderful pieces out of their drawers and made into something usable. (I keep a class schedule in the tab above of where I’ll be teaching, 2020 added soon!)

Always one-of-a-kind, never duplicated

I’ll be spending my winter mostly holed up in my studio, quilting and probably making pincushions, along with a few other projects. I don’t travel during winter months and leave that my time to really create. When I have a group of pincushions, I will sell them in my online shop . I never know when that will be, but I usually post on Facebook when it happens.

Thank you all for following my quilting journey. The adventure is ever-changing and I love to see what happens next. Creating is like breathing for me! Happy holidays to you all and I hope there will be some sewing in your winter months!


  1. Leave a Reply

    Brenda Alburl
    December 19, 2019

    These are just adorable, Kelly! And, I am so glad your cancer was found and taken care of at this stage. I’m looking forward to seeing what you create this winter. Thank you for sharing your talent with us and especially for being a survivor!! Blessings to you and yours this holiday season!

    PS: I got my granddaughter one of those cute little Janome machines and everytime she spends the night with us she wants to sew. I say, sew on, little ones!

    • Leave a Reply

      December 19, 2019

      Absolutely, get those kids sewing!! Thank you so much for your sweet words and happy holidays to you as well!

  2. Leave a Reply

    Dana Barry
    December 19, 2019

    Those are so cute, I have pin cushions swimming in my head now! Thanks for sharing, and encouraging us all. And so glad you kicked cancer!!!

    • Leave a Reply

      December 19, 2019

      Thanks Dana, try ’em, you’ll fall in love!! 😉

  3. Leave a Reply

    Millie Sargent
    December 19, 2019

    Kelly you are such a inspiration and so creative… Thanks for sharing all of your work. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with over the winter months… Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Leave a Reply

      December 19, 2019

      Thanks Millie! Merry Christmas to you and hope you get some time to quilt!

  4. Leave a Reply

    Elizabeth Adler
    December 19, 2019

    I so enjoy your posts, especially this one which feels like a personal letter where you share your life and inspirations with us! We all have our little niche where we are happiest creating whatever pops into our minds! Mine is mostly piecing and quilting, but the tiny pin cushions have really been calling my name! I hope to tryout a few this winter! Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year!

    • Leave a Reply

      December 19, 2019

      Thanks Elizabeth! My mom always tells me I seem to write like I talk to people. 🙂 Life should be about doing what makes each of us happy. I’m fortunate to do just that! I do hope you try a few over the winter, they are FUN! Merry Christmas to you as well!

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