pin·cush·ion; pinˌko͝oSHən; noun – a small cushion into which pins are stuck for convenient storage.
So this is about as small as it gets. I love this little guy. I tuck it into my bag for travel to classes or handwork on the go. Pincushions have come a long way since the red tomato version that I remember sitting next to my mom’s Singer sewing machine in the 60’s.
I got this idea a few weeks ago to do a story on quilter’s favorite pincushions. Would they match the quilters’ personality? We all have our personal favorite. That one that you grab first. The one that has been with you through your trials and tribulations of quilting. So I put the word out on Facebook,Instagram and in my drop-in class for everyone to share their favorite pincushions with me. I have collected quite an assortment to share with you!
The tomato pincushion will always be a classic among sewists. It just happens to have a bit more personality today.
Top left to right:
SHWS emeritus, Jennifer Rounds wrote about these lovely Heirloom Tomato Pincushions in a past blog post. Which, just happens to come with a free pattern on our Pattern Page.
Catherine Jarrett sports a green tomato in my drop-in class. I am pretty sure this one has helped with some show-stopping- quilts. If you are on Instagram, you can see one of Catherine’s quilts featured in a recent Quiltmania issue here.
Fern Royce, from Textile Mavens sent this snapshot to me. Love the colors and fabrics of this. It just reminds me of Fern and her wonderful quilts.
How about a colorful version, by none other than the talented longarmer, Kerry Reed? Check out some of her beautiful work on her facebook page here.
Some quilters get more excited about beverages than vegetables, (ahem – tea cups vs tomatoes, get it?).
Top left to right:
Pam Petsas brought this Victorian jewel to our Indie Modern Quilters meeting. Such a fashionista!
Kerry Reed, shared another pincushion that her sister gave to her 10 years ago. How many quilts do you think this lil’ teapot has seen quilted in it’s time? Oh, if only it could talk. . . .
Rosemary Patterson – OMG, if you know Rosemary, you know this is perfect for her – fun and full of spunk!
Kristen Takakawa, of The Needies has a pincushion made by her sister in law, using a sake cup as the base. Kristen says the weight of the cup always keeps it right where she wants it.
And then there is the “form follows function” category, still managing to slip in some creativity. Pincushions with storage – how smart is that? Left to right:
The talented, Linda Harding keeps Frida close at hand for toting tiny tools.
And my friend, Chancy Fessler snapped a photo of the cushion of choice for Ben Venom while he taught a workshop at San Jose Quilt Museum.
My personal favorites, the wool versions. . .
Left to right:
Laura Nownes, of course with no less than a ladybug! This one is a real cutie!
Longtime friend of SHWS, Diana McClun has a wooly treasure. I love this one. Maybe because it is always out and in use in her studio when I visit.
Moving on to pieced with perfection . . .
Top left to right:
Kim Buteau, of Etsy’s Zombie and Posies totes this sweetheart to class with her. I challenge you to find anything else pink in her shop!
And for perfect points, we have Rita of Mochi Studios‘s little gem!
These last two were shared by my new Instagram buddy, Cyndi Murdoch of JackcynRedesign.com. She wrote a sweet post about A Quilting Afternoon, you might like to read.
Speaking of sweet. . .
Left to right:
Margaret Glendening of Etsy’s MGmade, uses a pincushion her daughter made in Kindergarten.
Art quilter, Pauline Pearsall has a lovely lace number to hold her pins. Check out one of Pauline’s amazing quilts at Pattsart.com
And we have to have an animal section, now don’t we?
Left to right:
This busy little turtle was found sitting on the worktable at Oakland’s A Verb for Keeping Warm. It was sitting right next to their new book!
And let’s end with Terri Carpenter of The Quilted Fox, who shared her adorable little mouse..
So after seeing all these creative pincushions, I noticed that I have quite an odd collection poking around my own sewing room.
I don’t even think the turtle was made for a pin cushion, but it works great for one! The red one holds my machine needles, when I am not quite ready to retire them.
Which reminds me of one of the first posts I wrote on SHWS, about Hari-Kuyo, a lovely Japanese ceremony for retiring old and broken sewing needles. It is such a lovely tradition. You can read about it here.
To end this story, I am going to be quite honest. Usually when at home, I use my trusty metal bowl. I like that in a quilting frenzy, which I am often in, I can actually toss the pins and the magnet just pulls them on home. Second in command would be my beloved pincushion/threadcatcher I made a few years ago. These are definitely my tools of choice.
So how’s that for a pincushion extravaganza? I hope you enjoyed it. I know I totally enjoyed seeing how my friends express their personality this humble little tool. Want to share your favorite pincushion? Tag me on Facebook or Instagram and #favoritepincushion to be a part of the collection. I would love to keep it growing!
After four years of blogging with a quartet of talented women at See How We Sew, I am going to take a leap into solo blogging. Starting this coming Friday you’ll find me at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, a blog about whatever strikes my fancy. Sure, there’ll be quilts and sewn crafts in the mix, but with my own blogging venue, I’ll be exploring a broader world of creativity and random other things.
Before I head out, I’d like to take a look back at some of my favorite posts and shared moments with Christie, Darra, Laura, and Pati. Just to reassure you, dear readers, SHWS remains in the capable hands of Laura and Pati.
Do check back on Friday for a preview of Chasing Bright Shiny Objects. I’d like to invite you to join me on my new adventures—the road map is a work-in-progress!
No question—Candace Kling. Writing a blog is a great excuse to marshal courage and contact the more iconic figures in our creative realms for interviews. I’ve long admired Candace and it was a treat to meet her and visit her outrageously wonderful studio: rough around the edges in its warehouse setting, but a true Aladdin’s cave filled with glorious examples of her art and collected vintage wares.
Favorite SHWS Project
Again, a clear favorite for me,Achoo!, a collaborative pattern we developed for the debut of Jennifer Sampou’s Shimmer line. It’s not easy to squeeze in shared sewing time when we have such crazy working and life schedules—remember Laura had her daughter’s wedding in that interval—but somehow we managed to design and sew the quilt, plus write the Achoo! pattern instructions. Yes, we were breathless by the end, mostly because we had to make an additional quilt for the Robert Kaufman Fabrics trunk show, but we very happy with the result. Truly, the team collaboration has been the most satisfying experience in this last year. (Laura is awe inspiring as she power sews!)
Favorite Team Event
It too was madness, but so much fun: Quilting in the Garden 2012. That’s where our original quartet, Christie, Darra, Laura, and I, were featured artists for the outdoor quilt exhibition in Livermore, California. What a fun weekend we had visiting with fellow quilters and visitors to Alden Lane Nursery. Laura returned this year with her long-time collaborator, Diana McClun, for a retrospective exhibit of a quarter century of shared quilt making. They have an astonishing number of them in their archives–we’re talking hundreds of quilts!
Favorite Personal Post(s)
Yikes, that’s a tough one because there are several that resonate with me still. As a writer who spends most of her professional time crafting sentences that have a neutral voice, taking those first steps to sharing my own voice has been both scary and thrilling. My first post, Designing Quilts One Grocery Bag at a Time, was a complete improvisation. I experienced something that tickled my fancy and I wrote about it. It was weird inspiration, but that spurred me to share the moment with photographs. My peanut gallery of males (i.e. my all-male household) thought I was demented as I tried to figure out how to photograph groceries on my kitchen table. Par for the course as it turns out with this blog–we have each grown our skills as we’ve navigated this endeavor. Next fave personal post: My Quilts Have Feet–it makes me teary eyed. I miss my little fellas, even as I adore the grown men they have become. I absolutely do miss them when I have large quilts to photograph though. They know the drill and, as I mentioned in this recent post, my new crew needs some pointers.
Ah, this one was a true pleasure: the African textiles and quilts series that culminated in a virtual quilt show of African quilts (Part I, Part II). This mega international project would have be impossible without Paula Benjaminson, art quilter, ambassadorial wife, and former U.S. foreign service officer. We most definitely spanned the globe with this extravaganza: Paula and I were in touch via email as she traveled from Africa to Europe and the U.S. The images from the collection of posts are still favorites for Pinterest pinners and for those who love African textiles.
Wow, four years and somewhere around 50+ individual posts, it’s been a blast here at SHWS. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me in the Comments section, it’s been a true pleasure getting to know such a talented and passionate array of crafting people. Keep the pedal to the medal with your sewing and do consider joining me on my new blogging journey.
Hello dear readers! Hope the holiday season is treating you well. We’re enjoying the closing days of 2014, and looking forward to all sorts of crafting and sewing adventures in 2015. You’ll remember that last year we shared our Top 10 Posts for 2013 and we’re establishing a New Year’s tradition by looking at our results for 2014 and sharing them with you.
Like last year, you favor learning about techniques, notable textile artists, and products:
As I mentioned in my post last Tuesday, I just returned from International Quilt Market in Houston. I am not always the most dependable person to be in charge of photos, but I did actually pull out my lil’ red camera to snap a few shots of our favorite friends and guests of See How We Sew.
I also wanted to share a slideshow of my personal favorites in the quilt exhibit. Click here: slideshow to get a peek. My apologies for the adds that are slipped in. You can thank Flickr for that. I also apologize for not keeping track of the artists and quilters responsible for these beauties. Remember, I am not the most responsible photographer. . . so if you recognize a quilt, be sure to let me know and I am happy to add the names to the photos.
I took quite a few photos of the Windham booth, since our quilt, A Day at the Shore (aka Making Waves), was hanging right at the front entrance. How fun is that?
Fabric designer Kim Andersson was sporting an adorable frock made from her Tidal Lace Collection, along with other happy quilts created for her fabric line .
Unbelievable detail on her Paint quilt. And yes – the cactus is made of fabric!
Jessica Levitt had a serene and oh-so-beautiful display for her new line, Cascade, complete with a trickling, water fountain in the background.
And Succulents by Heather Givens – definitely a fabric line that I will be buying.
I kept finding myself just hanging out near this beauty.
Okay, moving on from the Windham Booth, I got to visit with a few friends on the floor. I feel so lucky to know these uber-talented people.
Jennifer Sampou looked amazing as ever with her totally fun black and white booth.
Seriously, how fun are these?
Valori Wells did it again with her wonderful eye for color and playfulness – and scored a blue ribbon for her booth design.
Again, seriously? How cute is that?
Jennifer Moore and her husband David Miguelucci own Mona Luna, a small, independent organic fabric company. Keep your eyes open for this one. Her fabric and patterns are beautiful. We talked about a future visit with See How We Sew in the next month or so.
Then it was time to take a break for fun with friends.
I met Madeleine Roberg of Domestic Strata almost immediately as I hit the show floor on the first day. She is so much fun. I just wanted to hang out in her booth all day. Next, it was off for dinner with Kim, and two more new friends, Linda Warren (the talented designer and teacher of Linda Warren Designs) and Timna Tarr (you just have to go look at her site, Timna Tarr – I am in awe of her quilts.)
Back to those inspiring booth displays.
So much creativity!
And then a shout-out to a few more Northern California peeps that we love.
This was a quilt I fell in love with in the Chenille-It booth. Check this out! It is done with raw edge “blooming bias” tape. Can’t wait to try this.
And I will end with photos from the Soak booth. One, because I felt like I was in a cool cosmetic counter when I visited them and two, because they gave me samples. Thanks ladies! I am already using it.
Hope you enjoyed all my favorites. Have a great weekend.
I just got back from International Quilt Market last week. What a great trip! So many new things to sew; so many new things to try! It was also a really great time to reconnect with friends in the industry, and as always, make new friends.
The big news, this year, was that International Quilt Market celebrated its 35th Anniversary. It’s amazing to think that this huge show to the trade all started with one doozie of a great idea! Congratulations Quilts Inc. for following your dream. So many talented people have kickstarted their quilt-related businesses through this wonderful forum. Quilters everywhere – thank you for this!
Also, International Quilt Festival celebrated it’s 40th anniversary this year. In this celebratory spirit, Ruby Red Jubilee was created, a breathtaking quilt exhibit filled with an amazing selection of red and white quilts. All I can say is – it was spectacular! If you would like to watch a video of the show, I am including a link to a video that Pam Holland created. Thank you Pam! http://vimeo.com/110033586
There were many other incredible exhibits at the show. One in particular grabbed my attention. 500 Traditional Quilts, the new book by Karey Patterson Bresenhan, was was on display with selected quilts from the book, including a quilt by our own, Laura Nownes, Harijuku Star. Congratulations Laura!
The Schoolhouse Series, always held the day before the show opens, was jammed packed with announcements of all the latest, hottest fabric lines, patterns, tools and ideas. My personal favorite of this year? Pepper Cory’s class on Big Stitch quilitng, and an introduction to the newest pallette of Peppered Cottons, including Peppered Plaids.
It was also really cool to see how the quilt industry has embraced the clothing sewers. Schoolhouse was filled with lots of patterns and fabrics designed for more than just quilts. For the first time ever, I am inspired to actually make some clothing for myself! Don’t you just love these dress patterns?
Evenings were filled with a meet and greet, Fabric 2.0 and a festival meetup with Modern Quilt Guild members. Both were lots of fun and yet another chance to visit with friends and acquaintances. Oh, and let me tell you – swag bags galore! I could have used an extra suitcase to bring home all my goodies!
What is trending this year? Ok, keep in mind that you are getting this from the world of Pati Fried, but this is what I saw as new and popular on the show floor.
Sizzix – A die-cut and embossing tool for paper – and you guessed it – FABRIC! Everywhere I went, someone was talking about them. And yes, I now have one on order.
Fabric designed for more than just quilts. The seamstress has officially been embraced. Cotton and Steel announced a beautiful new double gauze cotton collection called Bespoke. Yummy!
Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler teamed up to create a fabulous line of cotton knits for Free Spirit. Anna Maria Horner demonstrated how they could be used as a companion with quilting cotton. The tunic below is made of knit, and the applique is quilt cotton. They work so nicely together.
And to wrap up my take on what’s trending – self publishing is becoming more and more mainstream. I attended an eye-opening lecture by Marguerita McManus of Fibers Media, on the subject of self publishing and e-books. These platforms are an easy fit for marketing yourself and ideas in the quilt world. Great information and very inspiring.
Ok, enough for now. On Friday, I will show booth photos from some of the SHWS favorite friends and guests that I
saw exhibiting at Quilt Market.
The winner of last week’s giveaway is Lola. Congratulations Lola! Laura will be contacting you with you gift.
As bloggers, my SHWS sisters and I review our readership numbers regularly to see what posts have been popular with viewers. That certainly helps us figure out if we’re writing about topics that are appealing, informational, and–we hope–fun.
Here’s the rundown for 2013. Clearly you like clever people, projects, products, and how-to guidance. Some pre-date 2013, which shows that we’ve truly hit on a topic of universal interest.
Technology has changed our lives in many places, the sewing room among them. We 21st-century stitchers are beneficiaries of so many advances: computerized sewing machines; accurate and sturdy rulers for every conceivable use; instruction available 24/7 via the ‘net. In the cutting department, we have rotary cutters in all sizes, perfect for cleanly cutting straight or scalloped edges, and cutting systems such as AccuQuilt, capable of quickly cutting dozens of identical shapes. Yet, despite the options, sometimes nothing will do but a good, old-fashioned pair of scissors.
No one knows for certain exactly when scissors made the scene, or even how they got their name, but there are some pretty well-acknowledged guesses. A single-bladed, scissor-like implement was evident in Egypt, circa 1500 B.C. The cross-bladed, pivoted configuration more familiar to us today likely dates to the early-2nd-century Romans. As for the name: according to Merriam-Webster, the Middle English word cisours (or sisoures) was in use by the mid-14th century, tracing its roots to the Latin caedare (“to cut”).
In honor of this venerable and versatile tool, we thought it would be fun to share a snippet or two of our own history with scissors: memories, favorites, even a tip–you’ll find it here!
Jennifer’s Ode to Her Scissors
Even as a child, when I was a novice sewer, I realized scissors were imbued with mythic power. Those shiny, big shears were strictly off limits except for cutting fabric. Honestly, I was a little afraid of them. Not so much now. What with rotary cutters and such, we’ve got scads of choices when it comes to our cutting ways. As for scissors, I favor a sporty model that Diana McClun gave me a few years ago—it was the designated giveaway for the Empty Spools sessions at Asilomar (CA) that year. I love them because they are the racy sports car version of scissors: they are sharp, corner well, snip cleanly right up to the tip of the blade, and they are also exotically international—they are Japanese by birth.
Laura Checks In
I have always enjoyed having a pair of scissors in my hands. Sometimes the cuts did not produce the outcome I had hoped for; for example, at around age 4, I clearly recall cutting the beautiful, long curls from my best friend’s new bride doll . . . sorry Patty! (Perhaps this experience softened me when, at around the same age, my younger daughter gave her best friend a haircut.)
Soon after, I was given my own pair of safety scissors. I remember patiently awaiting the arrival of the monthly McCallsMagazine just to be able to flip to the last page and cut out the newest version of the Betsy McCall paper doll that appeared in each issue. For me, it was always about the cutting and much less about playing with the dolls.
When I started dressmaking, a pair of beautiful Gingher shears were my new treasured tool. When I want accurate cutting for large or multiple fabric shapes, these are my scissors of choice. I have a variety of small, embroidery-type scissors and use them for all my appliqué and embroidery projects. Like Jennifer, I also was gifted with a pair of Kai scissors. They have become my new favorite pair.
A Tip From Darra
Funny how our memories overlap. I have similar recollections of the forbidden fabric scissors: I learned about the distinction when I was discovered trimming my bangs with Mom’s precious Wiss dressmaking shears. I also remember waiting impatiently for her to finish with McCall’s so I could get at those paper dolls. (Heavenly were the months when the reverse page contained no stories, just ads. Instant green light!)
Like Laura and Jennifer, I’ve accumulated quite a collection of sewing scissors over the years, and I have my favorites; however, I’ve got one special pair among my “essentials”
that you might find unusual: a pair of small, sharp, curved-bladed manicuring scissors. They are perfect for cutting out small (or otherwise) curvy shapes from template material. If they’re sharp enough, you can use them for cutting out curved applique shapes from fused fabric as well. I wouldn’t be without them!
Leave a comment telling us about your favorite scissors by noon Thursday, April 4,and you’ll be eligible to win a pair of shiny new 8″ Gingher knife-edge dressmaking shears . . . and a secret bonus that we’ll reveal when we announce the winner in our Friday, April 5 post. It’s a special, double giveawayto mark a very special milestone: the 2nd anniversary of See How We Sew!
We hope your week includes some time for stitching.
Another year, another family wedding! My niece/goddaughter will be marrying in the French village where she grew up and we’re so excited to visit that side of the family for such a joyous event. Of course, such a milestone requires the bestowal of a wedding quilt so I’ve been working away at my latest nuptial project.
Quilt Inspiration, a blog co-authored by sisters Marina and Daryl Lynn is one of my favorite sources for quilting ideas. They’ve got the best selection of free quilt patterns stacked in the blog’s rightmost column. I took a gander last fall and downloaded a few to share with the bride’s sisters. Jelly Roll Strip Starburst by Kimberly Einmo and Brigit Schuller, published by the quilt batting manufacturer, Fairfield, made the cut.
True confessions: I had to choose a quilt pattern that worked with my preselected quilt backing. I don’t usually work backwards like that, but I own serious yardage of Alexander HenryHarajuku Ladies and it’s pretty darn fabulous. Laura’s the one who revealed the print’s charms to me in a past post.
Turns out that my backing choice is serendipitous—the bridegroom is of Japanese descent and the design is both modern and retro, which is perfect for a young, happening couple.
Quilting kismet! I knew there was a reason why I broke the bank on that yardage.
FYI: I’m a bit of a contrarian when it comes to following quilt patterns. I’ve just got to put my own spin on whatever one I select, and so my niece’s wedding quilt is a riff on Kimberly’s original. My preference was to set the stars on a white field so there’d be plenty of space for quilting. I wanted something clean-lined that could age reasonably well: scrappy, bright, and light-filled. I’m no seer, but I suspect (and hope) simplicity trumps all when it comes to enduring appeal.
I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the quilting with this project and considered many options. That’s the detail, I think, that will really make the quilt shine and so I’ve commissioned a truly spectacular long-arm quilter to add an heirloom touch to the wedding quilt.
Even though delivering the quilt and backing should be a no-stress step in the quilt-building process, I actually find it nerve-racking, even though it’s about delegating the workload and unloading anxiety. Is my quilt top well sewn? Are my borders wavy? Do I have enough backing? Are my requirements insane? Am I a high-maintenance client? Will the quilter, to my shame, send back my quilt for fixing before quilting?
Rather than freak myself out with worries, I decided that I’d tackle these questions in my Friday post where I will share insights from an interview of Marla Monson, long-arm quilter extraordinaire. She’s helping me channel my angst and quilting the wedding quilt.
While visiting my mother-in-law in Florida last week, I took advantage of the beautiful weather to enjoy a seaside stroll, and happened upon an adorable 8-year-old girl drawing in the sand. I was quite taken with her, and asked if she would allow me to photograph her artwork. She graciously assented.
Later on, when I viewed the photos I had taken that afternoon, something struck me as oddly familiar. Then it hit me: the simple lines of that drawing in the sand (and the inspiration for it) reminded me of the super-easy House block I had used in “It Takes a Village,” one of the quilts from my latest book, Cuddle Me Quick, co-authored with Chris Porter.
I’ve always loved the Schoolhouse block (and its many variations). Back in the day, I even collaborated with editor Karen Soltys to produce the Schoolhouse volume of The Classic American Quilt Collection series produced by Rodale Press. This 122-page, hardcover book included photos and instructions for 11 wonderful quilts made by quilters from around the country, including well-known teachers and authors Sharyn Craig and Mary Stori.
All this got me thinking about the many wonderful Schoolhouse and other house-themed quilts I’ve seen over the years, both vintage and newly made. For example, I’ve always loved the colorful and quirky House quilt detailed on the cover of Laura’s (and Diana McClun’s) book, Quilts, Quilts, and More Quilts!
Here’s a view of the entire quilt. Can’t you just picture it over a sofa or buffet?
Quilt history has always fascinated me, and I typically begin my search for good, solid info with quilt historian, Barbara Brackman. Her classic book, Clues in the Calico, has been my Number 1 “go-to” resource since it landed on my shelf in the late 1980s, and once again it proved to be just the ticket. (NOTE: Although the hardcopy version of Clues in the Calico has been out of print for some time, you can find it via Barbara’s wonderful blog, Material Culture. Click on the link and scroll down the page until the book appears in the left-hand column. You’ll find a link there for the eBook version as well.)
From Barbara’s book, I learned that the pieced block we call Schoolhouse appeared rather late in the nineteenth century (c. 1880 – 1890), and was known by a variety of names (including Old Kentucky Home, Old Folks at Home, and Lincoln’s Log Cabin) until Ruth Finley gave it the familiar moniker, Little Red Schoolhouse, in 1929. Barbara featured the block in her “Quilt Block of the Week” series last November. Click here to view her post, which includes directions for making this 8″ finished block.
I asked Barbara if she had photos of any special Schoolhouse quilts that she might share. She came up with this great interpretation, made in 1987 by her sewing group, Seamsters’ Union Local #500. Read more about it on her blog by clicking here.
Don’t forget to check back for Part 2 of this post on Friday, January 18. It will include instructions for making the 4″ x 6″ finished House block that appears in my quilt “It Takes a Village” (shown above), along with photos of some other wonderful house-themed quilts, old and new.