When I went to Gulf War this year (or as they’re calling it now: Gulfnado), I lost my needle book somewhere on the drive. I was terribly upset, considering it held all my reproduction clothing pins, and needles, as well as the brass pins I use for hand sewing. When I got home, I replaced them all, but I had to come to terms with the idea that I was trying to make a multi-tasker out of a uni-tasker. I can’t put pins and needles in the same tool. Needle books are crappy choices for pins because you have to stop and carefully replace the pin instead of just stabbing it in and carrying on. And pincushions are crappy places to put needles because they just get lost inside. So I decided to start using a pincushion I had laying around to see if I liked the arrangement better. And I did!
Eventually though, it was clear that the cushion I was using wasn’t going to cut it. It was a quilting cotton that had a pattern on it which made the pins hard to see (and wasn’t remotely period looking), and it was stuffed with poly-fill which I am not a fan of, because it is bouncier than I like and makes a weird squeaking feeling when I use it. I’m not sure that makes sense when I write it, but it’s true.
I happened to have some scraps of linen (in my colors, of course) and some minimally processed cotton fiber (note: I actually changed this out for fully processed cotton roving, since the pins kept catching on the bits of plant debris) and a lone button. Since this was just a quick project, I went ahead and hand sewed it with silk Gutermann thread, in a back stitch.
I went with a biscornu arrangement, which is when you sew two squares together offset, so that the order of one square is in the middle of the other square’s side. The tutorial I referenced can be found here. I clipped the straight sides where they met the corners, just to give it a little ease while I was sewing.
I pinned the last seam allowanced back and stuffed the cushion full of cotton, making sure to get the corners well packed.
It’s not a real cushion without pins. Poppet wanted to help so I let her put the pins in…. which lasted for about two minutes. I finished up for her. Such a happy cushion, with all my brass pins. Right now I just have my needles on a piece of felt pinned to the bottom of the biscornu. But I plan to make an actual needle-book with grey felt. I may attach it to the pincushion; I haven’t decided yet whether the convenience of having them attached will outweigh the annoyance of them being fiddly.