My New Pincushion

My old worn-out pincushion on the left and my new(before the first pin went in) one on the right.  The tiny tomato in-between.

I didn’t notice the worn felt or how soft my pincushion had become till I saw the tiny grains of crushed walnut seeping out of the hole.

I get attached to my pincushion, like I do any of the tools that I use for my work.  And I get a pang of sadness whenever one of my tools wears out beyond repair.

But because of Jane McMillen, that sadness doesn’t last long when it comes to replacing a pincushion.

Every October, Jane shows up at the Bedlam Farm Open House with plastic tubs of handmade pincushions, most of them stuffed with crushed walnut shells to keep needles sharp.

Her pincushions are like small soft sculptures, each one a different color and shape.  Some look like fruit, some look like flowers or chickens, or owls, even ice-cream.

And some look like pincushions.

They’re all utilitarian and I own several that each have their own unique purpose.   Some holding straight pins, others needle another quilting pins.  And one, a chicken, just sits on the electrical box in my studio looking good.  (I don’t think I could stick pins in her).

The day I noticed the hole in my pincushion, I emailed Jane and asked if she had anymore pincushions. I sent her a photo of my old one and told her to pick one out for me like it.  But instead, she dragged out her stash from one of her tubs and sent me photos to choose from.

I knew which one I wanted right away.  I remembered admiring it last October when I was setting up the exhibit in my School House Studio for the Open House.

Jane put my pincushion in the mail and I sent her a check.  The box came a couple of days later and in it, was not one pincushion but two.  Jane sent me a mini tomato pincushion as a gift.

I didn’t use the new pincushion the first day I had it, mostly because I’m just in the habit of grabbing my old one when I’m sewing.  But today, I stuck the first pin into it.  And, like cutting fabric with a newly sharpened shears, the feel of that pin going in the densely packed walnut shells was really satisfying.

Jane will be back at the Bedlam Farm Open House this October with her pincushions.

Until then you can see what Jane’s doing on her blog, Little House Home Arts.   Jane’s a thoughtful and funny writer and always has plenty of photos to go along with her words.  She’s always doing something new or working on something old.  But she’s always doing…

I’ll retire my old pincushion,  give it a special place in my studio.  We’ve been together too long for me to just throw it away.


6 thoughts on “My New Pincushion

  1. Jane has been quilting up a storm and even has me, of no sewing
    skills, excited about buying fabrics for projects yet to be

  2. Maria, that little tomato pincushion is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen! What a treasure(:-) Blessings to your friend Jane❤️
    Also, I thought you might like to take a peek at this Web site, especially since you & Jon have contributed so much assistance and compassion toward the newcomers in your community. Beautiful works…but also beautiful WORKS, on behalf of our newest residents. I admit that the recent goings-on by our government have angered and saddened me. Projects like this, and other similar yet quiet efforts, give me hope during these dark times.
    Thank you for all you do.

    1. I’ve heard of this Virginia, but I didn’t know it was still going on. Quilts and blankets are the perfect form of welcome. Thanks so much for sharing this. And I know just what you mean about having to find hope in these times.

  3. Love the new pincushion, I have some red tomato pincushions I bought back in the 1970’s every time one wears out I would pull out a new one they tended to last for quite some time, I usually keep the old ones on a shelf.

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