Wool and Whimsy
Love to work with wool? Bring garden-fresh blooms to any sewing table with folk art wool pincushions that you can stitch in an afternoon.
5×9" rectangle pink felted wool (background)
Scraps of green, yellow, dark pink, turquoise, red, blue, and orange felted wools (appliqués)
2-6-1⁄2×9-1⁄2" rectangles teal plaid felted wool (pincushion)
Embroidery floss: green, dark pink, and gold
Finished pincushion: 6×9"
Quantities are for 100% wool fabrics.
Felted wool (available in many quilt shops) doesn't fray, so there is no need to turn under the edges of the appliqué shapes. To felt your own wool, machine-wash it in a hot-water-wash, cool-rinse cycle with a small amount of detergent; machine-dry it on high heat and steam-press.
To make the best use of your fabrics, cut the pieces in the following order.
Click on "Download this Project" above for pattern pieces. To use freezer paper for cutting appliqué shapes, complete the following steps.
1. Lay freezer paper, shiny side down, over patterns. Use a pencil to trace each pattern the number of times indicated, leaving 1⁄2" between tracings. Cut out freezer-paper shapes roughly 1⁄4" outside the traced lines.
2. Using a hot, dry iron, press freezer-paper shapes, shiny side down, onto designated fabrics; let cool. Cut out fabric shapes on drawn lines and peel off freezer paper.
From pink wool, cut:
1 of Pattern E
From green wool, cut:
1-1⁄4×5" strip for stem
1 of Pattern D
From yellow, dark pink, turquoise, red, blue, and orange wool scraps, cut:
1 each of patterns A, B, and C
5 of Pattern D
Appliqué and Assemble Large Pincushion
1. Referring to Appliqué Placement Diagram, position green wool 1⁄4×5" stem on pink wool E background; baste in place.
2. Using two strands of green embroidery floss and a couching stitch, sew stem in place. To make a couching stitch, work small stitches, 1⁄4" to 3⁄8" apart, back and forth over the strip (Couching Diagram).
3. Position A flower on background; pin. Using one strand of dark pink floss and a running stitch, sew A flower in place.
To make a running stitch, pull needle up at A and insert it back into fabric at B (Running Stitch Diagram). Continue in same manner, loading several stitches on needle at a time.
4. Referring to Appliqué Placement Diagram, position B and C pieces on center of A flower. Using two strands of gold floss and a star stitch, sew both pieces in place.
To make a star stitch, pull needle up at A and push it down at B (Star Stitch Diagram). Bring needle up at C, cross it over first stitch, and push needle down at D. Pull needle up at E and push it down at F.
5. Using two strands of gold floss, add a French knot at center of C piece.
To make a French knot, pull the floss through at A, the point where the knot is desired (French Knot Diagram). Wrap the thread around needle two or three times without twisting it. Insert the tip of needle into fabric at B, 1⁄16" away from A. Gently push the wraps down the needle to meet fabric. Pull needle and trailing floss through the fabric slowly and smoothly. The size of a French knot depends on the number of floss strands and how many times you wrap them around the needle.
6. Referring to Appliqué Placement Diagram, position D leaves along stem; pin. Using one strand of green or gold floss and a backstitch, sew each leaf in place.
To backstitch, pull needle up at A (Backstitch Diagram). Insert it back into fabric at B and bring it up at C. Push needle down again at D and bring it up at E. Continue in same manner.
7. Pin appliquéd background to a teal plaid 6-1⁄2×9-1⁄2" rectangle. Using one strand of dark pink floss, tack-stitch along scalloped edges to make pincushion top.
To tack-stitch, pull needle up at A and push it down at B (Tack Stitch Diagram). Come up at C and continue in same manner around entire appliqué shape.
8. With right sides together, sew together pincushion top and remaining teal plaid 6-1⁄2×9-1⁄2" rectangle, leaving a small opening for turning. Trim corners.
9. Turn right side out. Using a chopstick or the eraser end of a pencil, push out corners. Stuff pincushion firmly with fiberfill. Whipstitch opening closed to complete large pincushion.