Sunday, September 6, 2009

Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company: Fruit Salad Pincushions ~ Part 2, “ The Strawberry”

Project: Strawberry 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


  • Wool Embellishment
  • Simple Beading

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: Optional Glass Beads to represent the “seeds” on the strawberry.

Project Description:

A three dimensional strawberry pincushion is created from quilted layers of coordinating fabric.  Glass beads are stitched by hand to represent the seeds. added. The pincushion is stuffed with a combination of cotton stuffing and crushed walnut shells.  A felted wool leaf & stem is hand-stitched in place to finish the top of the berry.

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!

Refer to the watermelon blog re: piecing strata, sub-cutting, then rearranging the squares to create a checkerboard pattern.  This technique is also used for the strawberry, resulting in a rectangular checkerboard design. 

Layer the checkerboard quilt top with a piece of fusible fleece, and a muslin backing, then quilt as desired.  Using matching 28 weight Aurifil thread, I quilted lines on the diagonal, first one direction, then the other.


Trace the template from the pattern onto freezer paper, align it on the “quilt”, and cut along the outside edge, creating a crescent (or football) shape.


For my watermelon seeds, I used “brads” from the Scrapbook Shoppe.  But, I wanted the seeds on my strawberry to be smaller, so I used an assortment of glass beads. 

Start with a length of 28 wt thread (the heavy weight sews the beads in place firmly).  Thread both ends of the thread through the eye of the needle, creating a loop at the other end:


Draw the thread through the “quilt”, almost but not entirely.  Leave a little loop protruding through the back of the project.


Working from the front side, thread a glass bead over the needle, and pull the needle to the back:


Insert the needle through the loop:


Pull the thread firmly, then take a couple of small stitches through the back layer only, knotting the thread as you stitch.  Each bead will need to be sewn in place with a new length of thread, and when you’re done the back will look like this:


Notice the top of the “quilt” has a double row of stitching, and the quilting stops there.  The area above this stitching becomes the top of the strawberry, and you don’t want it to be too bulky,. so the batting needs to be removed.

After I applied the beads, I sewed the double stitching (there’s a line on the template that shows where it belongs). I then picked out the threads that extended beyond that line:


Spread the layers open, and carefully trim the fusible fleece or batting just next to the double stitched area:


Then, right sides together, fold the crescent in half, and stitch the side seam… in this photo the seam extends from bottom left to top middle:


Press the seam open, as much as you  can:


Turn the strawberry right side out, and stuff the tip with some cotton stuffing or polyfil:


Then, sew a secure basting stitch around the top of the strawberry, completely encircling it:


Tug on the basting thread to gather the top, and insert a small funnel into the opening.  Fill with crushed walnut shells or desired filling material:


Put a “patch” of either cotton batting or fabric in the top to prevent the filling from spilling out.  I just cut a small circle of my leftover “quilt” and neatly inserted it in the top, then gathered the basting thread tightly and knotted it:


Using the template from the pattern, cut the top leaf:


Use a scrap of tightly rolled and stitched wool to create a stem.  Cut a small “X” in the center of the leaf, insert the stem through it, and hand-stitch it in place (Use matching thread & work from the bottom side so that your stitches don’t show).


Use the same thread to stitch the leaf/stem wool in place, effectively covering the top of the strawberry, and completing the design:


The strawberry & the watermelon look so cute sitting together! 


The most time consuming part of this project was hand-stitching the beads in place.  But, I’m glad I took the time to do it… they really add a lot to this unique little project, and the dark green wool looks so nice with the berry red prints.

Notice how Miss Rosie used a variety of lights and darks… creams, pinks, reds, & greens.  I’m going to start saving assorted scraps to create a few more variations!  The possibilities are endless!