Sunday, August 23, 2009

Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company: Fruit Salad Pincushions


Project: Watermelon Pincushion designed by Carrie Nelson,  featuring “Bees Knees” fabrics by Maywood Studios.  Click here  for pincushion pattern.  Click here for a fabric kit. Click here  for fabric collection (currently on clearance at $7.50/yard).

Finished Size: approximately 4” x 7”

Skill Level: Intermediate


  • Curved Piecing
  • Embellishment 

Useful Supplies

  • Fusible Fleece (click here & here)
  • Aurifil 28 weight thread for machine quilting, top-stitching, and pin-cushion construction. Click here for our current selection.
  • Embellishments not included in fabric kit: Perle cotton No. 5, or Embroidery Floss.  Beads or tiny metal brads for seed accents. I found the brads at Fried’s Scrapbook Shoppe.

Project Description:

A three dimensional watermelon pincushion is created from quilted layers of coordinating fabric.  Seed accents are added. The pincushion is stuffed with a combination of cotton stuffing and crushed walnut shells.  A herringbone accent is hand-stitched as a decorative accent.

Disclaimer: This blog is meant to illustrate the ease of pincushion construction, and demonstrate some useful tips.  It does NOT replace the pattern.  Please refer to Carrie Nelson’s pattern for precise measurements, excellent sewing diagrams, and step by step instruction.

Let’s Get Started:

Lay out assorted red cotton strips in a pleasing fashion.  Use either (4) pairs, or (8) unique prints.


Join the strips together to create a strata.


Sub-cut the strata into (8) segments.


The first segment is left “as is”.  The remaining (7) segments are rearranged by removing a set number of squares from the top of the segment and re-sewing the squares to the bottom.


The “rind” is created by sewing scrappy segments into a narrow strata.  Then, a fabric “sandwich” is created with  layers of  fusible fleece & muslin.


Another “sandwich” is created for the red checkerboard.


Each sandwich is machine quilted to stabilize all layers.  I simply stitched on the diagonal with matching red thread for the “fruit’, and straight stitched 1/4” from each seam on the rinds.

Using the shapes provided in the pattern, a freezer paper template is created for both the “rind” and the “fruit”. 


And the specified shapes are cut according to the pattern.


The freezer paper template includes  markings for “seed” placement on the fruit.  I simply pressed my Quilter’s pencil through the freezer paper, to transfer the marking location to the muslin backed “fruit”.


Then, small pewter scrapbooking “brads” were inserted into position.  From the top, they look like this:


And from the back, they look like this:


Right sides together, the “rind” and “fruit” are carefully pinned into position, and sewn with a curved seam technique.  A 2.5” hole is left open to allow turning.


After the seam allowances are trimmed to eliminate bulk, the pin-cushion is turned right sides out.


The inner corners of the cushion are filled with cotton or polyfil.  This helps the cushion retain it’s fullness.

Then, crushed walnut shells are poured into the cushion until the cushion is pretty much packed.  


A nice sized clump of cotton stuffing is placed over the walnut shells to make sewing the hole shut a little easier.


And the hole is hand-stitched shut, using tiny, neat stitches, and heavy weight thread.

Then, a herringbone accent stitch is added using Perle Cotton No. 5.  I actually used (3) strands of embroidery floss, because I didn’t have Perle Cotton in a shade that I liked.


The finished project has a nice shape & weight.  A creative sewing room accessory… or make a coordinating strawberry cushion and use the pair for a decorative accent or centerpiece.