Welcome the season into your sewing room with bluework pincushions used alone or as a pair. Hand-embroidered pine branches, snowmen, and trees create the letters.
Darling Duo
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DESIGNER: Robin Kingsley of Bird Brain Designs

Finished size: About 2-1⁄2 ×9-1⁄2 ×1"

Materials for Two Pincushions

Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.

  • 12 ×14" piece cream snowflake print (embroidery backgrounds)
  • 12" square blue-and-white snowflake print (pincushion tops, backing rectangles)
  • 5" square each solid blue and blue dot (pincushion tops)
  • 9×12" thin cotton batting
  • Perle cotton No. 8: royal blue (Designer Robin Kingsley used Presencia 3405.)
  • 2 white snowflake charms or buttons (optional)
  • Crushed walnut shells or sand for pincushion filling
  • Blue fine-point permanent fabric pen (such as a Pigma Micron pen) or Printable Stick 'n Stitch from Sulky (also known as Sticky Fabri-Solvy)
  • Crewel needle: size 4
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Terry cloth towel

Cut Fabrics for Both Pincushions

Cut pieces in the following order.

From cream snowflake print, cut:

  • 2—7×12" rectangles

From blue-and-white snowflake print, cut:

  • 2—4 ×10-1⁄2" backing rectangles
  • 2—2-1⁄4 ×4" rectangles

From solid blue cut:

  • 2—1-1⁄4 ×4" strips

From blue dot, cut:

  • 2—1-1⁄2 ×4" strips

From thin cotton batting, cut:

  • 2—4×10-1⁄2" rectangles

Prepare for Embroidery

Click on "Download this Project" above for Full-Size Embroidery Patterns. Use one of the following methods to center and transfer each embroidery design to a cream snowflake print 7×12" rectangle. 

To trace pattern onto fabric with pen: Tape full-size embroidery patterns to a light box or sunny window. Center a cream snowflake print 7×12" rectangle over one pattern; tape in place. With a blue fine-point permanent pen, trace pattern onto fabric. (If you plan to add a snowflake charm or button under the r in Winter, do not trace snowflake illustration onto fabric.)

To transfer pattern with Printable Stick 'n Stitch: Instead of tracing embroidery patterns with a pen, designer Robin Kingsley transfers them with Printable Stick 'n Stitch from Sulky. (This product is also known as Sticky Fabri-Solvy.) Use an ink-jet printer or copier to print the pattern onto a sheet of the paper-backed film, peel off paper backing, and stick printed film to a cream snowflake print 7×12" rectangle. After stitching through film and fabric, dissolve film in warm water according to package directions. 

Embroider Rectangles

Referring to each embroidery pattern, stitch designs using royal blue perle cotton No. 8 and size 4 crewel needle. For embroidery stitch instructions, click on "Download this Project" above.

1. Secure a traced rectangle in embroidery hoop.

2. Backstitch on all marked solid lines except for pine needles.

3. Make a French knot for each dot on patterns.

4. Make a lazy daisy stitch for each loop on snowmen's hats.

5. Add a cross-stitch for each large snowman eye and the small snowman buttons, and to attach each snowflake charm if desired.

6. Use a straight stitch to sew each pine needle and the small snowman's eyes.

7. If you used Stick 'n Stitch, remove it following manufacturer's instructions. 

8. Lay embroidered rectangles right side down on a terry cloth towel to prevent the stitches from flattening when pressed. Steam-press from wrong side. (Before pressing, Robin sprays her work with starch for a smooth, firm finish.) Let cool.

9. Centering each design, trim embroidered rectangles to 4×7" including seam allowances.

Assemble Pincushions

Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Press seams in directions indicated by arrows on diagrams. If no direction is specified, press seam toward darker fabric. 

1. Referring to Pincushion Top Assembly Diagram, sew a blue-and-white snowflake print 2-1⁄4×4" rectangle, solid blue 1-1⁄4×4" strip, and blue dot 1-1⁄2×4" strip to short ends of each 4×7" embroidered rectangle as shown. Each pieced rectangle should be 4×10-1⁄2" including seam allowances.

Darling Duo

2. Layer each Step 1 pieced rectangle atop a batting 4×10-1⁄2" rectangle; baste. Referring to photo, use royal blue perle cotton and a running stitch to quilt through all layers 1⁄8" from each seam line of cream snowflake print rectangles.

3. Using royal blue perle cotton and a fly stitch, sew through all layers along the seams joining solid blue and blue dot strips to make two pincushion tops.

4. With right sides together, layer a pincushion top with a blue-and-white snowflake print 4×10-1⁄2" backing rectangle. Sew together along all edges, leaving a 3" opening to turn. Carefully trim diagonally across corners without clipping into stitching. Turn right side out and press flat to make pincushion cover. Press seam allowances to wrong side along opening. Repeat with remaining pincushion top and blue-and-white snowflake print 4×10-1⁄2" backing rectangle. 

5. Stuff each pincushion cover firmly with crushed walnut shells or sand. Stitch opening closed by hand to complete each pincushion.