Pincushions were first recorded in history during the Tudor reign in 15th century England. Metal pins were a very costly and precious items in those early days and before the 15th century were kept in small cases made of bone, ivory, or silver. During the Tudor era, simple stuffed shapes started to be used instead of the cases. They began by being made of colorful and elaborately decorated silks and linens, replete with tassels and laces.
During the 18th century new materials were used to hold the pincushions or "pynpyllowes" as they were then called. Wood, ivory, and silver were carved and fashioned into various shapes. Hanging pin balls were also very popular and were usually decorated with some kind of embroidery, needle weaving, knitted silk, or patchwork.
Pincushions began to be made commercially during the 1800's and became popular souvenirs commemorating historical events. From the 17th to the 19th century, "pin stuck" pincushions were made. The decoration was made entirely of pins. It was impractical as a working pincushion since the decoration was spoiled if any of the pins were removed. Beads became popular too, and the pincushions were soon filled with them so that they, too, became just a decorative item.
During the Victorian era there was a great deal of emphasis on the parlor room and it became the perfect place in which to display the novelty pincushions of the era. Pincushions were made in the shape of shoes, fans, dolls, teacups, umbrellas, fruits, and vegetables. They were hung on the walls or placed on occasional tables.
Today the most familiar pincushion is the red tomato but, as we have seen, they can be made of many different materials in in many different shapes.
SELECT PINCUSHION OF YOUR CHOICE:
Flower Pot Pincushion
Norwegian Chicken Pincushion
Pin Blossom Pincushion
Victorian Fan Pincushion
This pincushion was such fun to create... and every time I use it, I enjoy it all over again! The pattern originates from a Cyber-friend. It is made from a scrap of off-white wool blanketing, the kind used for heirloom ribbon embroidery.
My 'slight' variation includes adding semi-precious stone chips (Peridot -- my birthstone) alternated with French knots around the monogram.
For the complete pattern with precise directions, click on the little angel.
If you need semi-precious stone beads, chips, etc.
to decorate your pincushions (wholesale prices) . . . click here!
I was first introduced to the "bottle cap pincushion" at my quilt group when the hostess passed a basket of assorted pincushions around for her guests... what excitement it created!
The base of the pincushion is made from a "bottle cap", in my case, I used Faygo. I heated the tip of a metal skewer over the flame on my gas stove and melted two holes in the bottom of the cap. Thin flexible elastic is then inserted, knotted and secured with a spot of hot glue on the inside. The cushion is made like a yo-yo... approximately 4-1/4 inch diameter, enough to turn under the edge and stitch around, draw-up... fill with wool, or poly and pull the circle closed tightly, knot off. Glue the lace edging inside the bottle cap and then put a dot of hot glue inside the bottle cap and press the cushion in!
Simple, easy to make, handy to use... especially if you sew in the car. My sister treated me to a Christmas bottle cap pincushion. It was fun to use during the holidays.
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