When I spotted this pincushion on Pinterest, I knew I had to make one.
The popular name for this quilt pattern, Dresden Plate, reflects the romance of the Victorian Era with it’s love of elaborate decoration on household items and décor. Dresden, Germany was a center of 19th century romanticism movement in art, one that included the fine decoration of porcelain. The plates were embellished with elaborate design using flowers, fruits and foliage. The beautiful plates would surely have been admired by women of the early 20th century.
I’m pretty sure my Grandma made a scrappy Dresdon Plate quilt, in yellow and white, and we used it until it’s last dying snuggle.
So when I saw a way to use a single Dresden Plate in a more modern, usable, don’t have to spend years appliquéing kind of way, I was ready to jump on it.
You see, I don’t think I’ve owned a traditional pin cushion since Mrs. Summitt’s Junior High Home Ec class. You know the tomato with the dangling strawberry pincushion?
According to folklore, placing a tomato on the mantle of a new home guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits. If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust. The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose—a place to store pins. I’m just glad someone decided to improvise, otherwise, things would have started getting a little messy by now….
The strawberry is generally filled with some kind of abrasive to help keep pins sharp and burrs away. When I started thinking seriously about replacing my purple magnetic pin catcher with a real life pincushion I knew I wanted it stuffed with emery sand. Dull, burred pins, bent and those missing the little balls on top make me crazy. Many days I am cursing myself for having tossed out so many pins. Then I swipe my magnet pin catcher across the floor and gather more… I digress….
Following my spotting this pincushion on Interest, I searched out Molly Flander’s Dresden tutorial and quickly realized, not only did I not have a Dresden ruler, but with all the quilting books I own I couldn’t find a paper pattern, either. I tried, several times, printing Molly’s pattern and couldn’t get the size right, no matter my printer settings. My ignorance, not hers, obviously… So on to winging it. I could tell from her pictures each fan piece was 2″ in length with the width tapering from 1.5″ to 1″. Digging into the Kaffe Fassett scrap basket, from my Jane Austen quilt, I came up with all the fabrics for the fan-like pieces. I think mine took 19, as opposed to her 20, so I wasn’t off by much.
I then using this lollipop technique to add the circle to the top. I always wanted to give that a try and it works. Appliquéing it down was much easier when it was partially down with the iron on interfacing. You should check it out!
I continued on and made a big fat yo~yo for the top. I discovered this yo-yo maker when looking for fun crafty ideas for my granddaughter, last summer. It’s so easy and fun to churn out yo-yos when you’re 12, 22 or even 30….
For me, it took a couple more tries. I eventually got it, right side out and all! I then tacked down the interior valleys leaving the tips to hang dimensionally.
I added a textured button from my Grandma’s button jar, topped it off.
For the filling I made a pillow, the size of the top, maybe 6″ round, and filled it with the emery sand and then proceeded to stuff it in. Reminiscent of when we made meditation zafu cushions… Trying to stuff a buckwheat filled liner into a cover where the hole is too small is not easy. Eventually it all filters in….
Same here, no pattern, we had nothing but a picture to go by.
I then added stuffing to fill the rest of the cushion, under the sand pillow, and stitched her shut. The sand really gives it a nice heft, no need for the cardboard liner.
Now to buy some new pins to replace all the bent and missing head ones that are constantly being confused for needles….
It sits on the sofa arm, just where I need it, beautifully.
I am in love!
What fun, thanks, Molly!
Now I need another for my studio.
I’m going to stretch it and link up with Pillow Talk over at Farbstoff. It’s a stretch because these people are making amazing pillows, and since Brigitte says a pincushion is a mini pillow…. I’m going for it! I so need to be the random winner of her amazing fabric! I’m working with the quilt weight of “Juggling Summer, Laces” from the Zen Chic line right now. My heart does an extra little pitter patter every time I sit down to quilt on it. I can’t wait to share what this fabric does to a project!
Hope you find time to do a little of something that makes your heart sing this weekend!
Make it a great one!