In a rather roundabout way, I made a new pincushion. I wanted to fill it with something that might sharpen my disappointingly dull new glass-head pins. I happened to have some fine sand, so I thought I’d give that a try for the filling. For the top, I wanted something that would keep sand in, but would let the pins slide through easily. Wool felt is ideal for that, but I didn’t have any. So I thought I’d make some.
I had a ball of somewhat lumpy wool yarn that I’d spun years ago while learning to use my spinning wheel. Weaving it into fabric and then felting it was a good project to involve the kids in. It was good math practice, too, figuring out how many warp threads and heddle strings we would have.
I made a frame loom out of scraps from a broken clothes drying rack. A paint stirring stick made an excellent shed stick, and the shuttles are made from an old yardstick. I found a good reference for using a simple loom, if you’d like to make one.
After I took the wool fabric off the loom, I sewed down the ends and ran it through the washer and dryer a few times to felt it. You can see it shrank quite a bit as it felted.
Now for the pincushion:
It remains to be seen if the sand will do anything to sharpen the pins. The pins slide into the pincushion very easily – in fact they slide in so easily they always end up pushed in as far as they can go, which makes it hard to grab a pin to pull it out, so I don’t think I’d like a sand filled pincushion for regular use. This large pincushion sits next to my sewing machine stuck full of my extra pins.