Friday, January 14, 2011

Pincushion Tutorial "Ride-Along"

I first discovered this type of pincushion over at Lily's Quilts.  Yet, I couldn't find a tutorial for it, so I figured I'd document my process along the way in the hopes of helping others who wanted to make one.

While I am calling this a tutorial, I'm not going to walk you through the entire process from start to finish...think of this as a "Ride-Along" instead.  So, let's get started.

This pincushion is based off of a soccerball; which if you look closely you'll notice both hexagon (6-sided) and pentagon (5-sided) shapes.  When you mix both of these shapes in a certain manner, it automatically starts "folding-in" on itself and creating a rounded shape. 

If you are not familiar with English Paper Piecing and/or making hexagons, I would encourage you to Google "Hexagon Paper Piecing".  There are tons of demonstrations and directions out there.

In order to get the shapes, you'll need to find a template, create your own, or use the one I have created.

The important thing is that the sides of the pentagons and hexagons must be the same length, otherwise it won't work.  This template I created isn't 100% perfect; but darn near close and is what I used to make my pincushion which measures approx. 4" tall.

I would encourage you to print the templates on cardstock; but I imagine regular paper might work too. 
Now let's cut out the shapes.  You'll need 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons.  The template includes extra.

Now collect several scraps of fabric and start covering the shapes.  Again if you don't know how to do this, make sure you Google "Hexagon Paper Piecing".

Don't these look pretty.  Let's "set" the shape, by gently pressing with an iron.

As I mentioned earlier, in order for this to work the shapes need to follow a pattern.  Remember that you are essentially making a FLOWER shape at all times with a pentagon in the center, surrounded by 5 hexagons.

Now that you've done this, let's continue adding shapes to this base remembering that you want a pentagon surrounded by hexagons.  One additional point to remember is that the hexagons along the sides will be shared between two "flowers".  Check out the pic below to see what I mean.

Just keep adding on and you'll notice that "walls" start to be built and a ball is beginning to take shape.
You'll also notice that you are building this from the inside out, meaning that the right side of the fabric is inside.  I found that it's easier to whipstitch from the back or wrong side of the fabric when it is on the outside of the ball.

Eventually it starts looking like this and might be getting harder to get your fingers inside.  Let's start removing some of the paper pieces so it doesn't get too stiff and hard to manage.  A word of advise, don't remove paper from any piece that does not have all it's sides whipstitched to another piece.

Once you have closed up all but the last few seams, Stop. 

Let's carefully turn this pincushion inside out and admire your work.  See, I told you it looks like a Soccer ball.

Find your favorite stuffing and carefully stuff this ball until it holds it's shape and is somewhat firm.

Now, this part was a little tricky for me; because as you'll quickly realize you still have some paper pieces inside the last few shapes.  Carefully unpick the basting stitch, remove the paper and try to reshape the fabric into it's hexagon and pentagon shape.  Let's finish whipstitching all remaining seams being careful to not distort the fabric.  **Mine got a little distorted; it happens and will get better with practice**

Clip the loose threads and admire your work. 

Thanks for riding along on this experiment of mine.
If you use this tutorial, be sure to let me know on social media @KristyDaum

Thanks for visiting