Pincushion swap

At Rebecca’s suggestion, I signed up for the Instagram pincushion swap (#IGpincushionswap). Rebecca knew even before I did that I have a pincushion problem.

Now that my parcel has safely arrived at its destination and I have received mine, I can reveal what I made and the treasures I received.

The hints I received from my swap partner, Jonna, were ‘I am obsessed with all things British – tea, the BBC, the Union Jack, Downton Abbey … I even drive a Mini.’ Oh, my god! She could be my twin. I am British-born, drink tea by the bucketful, watch British shows a lot (especially when Poldark takes off his shirt) and have driven a Mini since January 2007. Yes, really! I knew I could come up with something.

First things first: tea. Bustle & Sew have a teacups appliqué pattern that I love, so I shrank it down to about 3 x 8 inches and raw-edge appliquéd it to a rectangle of fabric. I have a rectangular pincushion that sits by my sewing machine; it is an unusual shape for a pincushion, but I find it handy and like how it can serve a dual purpose as pincushion and pattern weight. I raided my Liberty and red, white and blue stashes for fabrics, then added some bright red ricrac.

Teacup pincushion made by Granny Maud's Girl

I reduced a Bustle & Sew design for the raw-edge appliqué.

Teacup pincushion made by Granny Maud's Girl

I added ricrac above the row of small squares around the edge.

I had only recently created a foundation paper pieced Union Jack block pattern, and I knew I wanted to use that somehow in the parcel I sent. I reduced it by two-thirds to make a 5 x 10-inch block and then made two to form each side of a zipper pouch. I quilted both sides simply in the ditch.

Union Jack pouch made by Granny Maud's Girl

This is one side of the Union Jack pouch.

Union Jack pouch made by Granny Maud's Girl

And this is the other side.

Of course, I had to fussy cut red and blue bits from my Keep Calm fabric to put on each end of the pouch. Very British.

In April, I was watching Antiques Roadshow while knitting and I learned the story of the Keep Calm and Carry On posters. Did you know that they were printed for the post offices and only to be displayed if Britain was invaded and occupied by Germany? As it happened, they were never needed, but the few originals that survived have become collectors’ items. I learn so much history from that show.

Union Jack pouch made by Granny Maud's Girl

I fussy cut some of my Keep Calm fabric and added it to each end of the pouch.

Union Jack pouch made by Granny Maud's Girl

This zipper pull was the closest thing I could find to a Mini. It is almost the same colour as my Mini that was smashed recently.

I skipped the Downton Abbey hint, but I think I have all the other hints well covered. I even found a little car to use as a zipper pull. Finally, to make sure that no aspect of the British theme was overlooked, I used a Yuwa fabric that I bought at l’uccello in Melbourne for the lining. It is a bit cream (when the rest is crisp white), but it had to be used.

Union Jack pouch made by Granny Maud's Girl

I had to use this Yuwa fabric in the lining.

Union Jack pouch and teacup pincushion made by Granny Maud's Girl

This is what went in the parcel.

I took a bit of a risk in that I stuffed the pincushion with crushed walnut shells. They have the best weight for this sort of pincushion. I had never before used walnut shells in a pincushion going overseas as they are heavy to post and I worry about quarantine, but they got through. Most importantly, I think Jonna liked her parcel.

Then, all the way from Margarita in Colorado, I received this lovely parcel of goodies. I cannot remember what I wrote as my hints, but each item was wrapped in red paper, my favourite colour.

Instagram pincushion swap parcel

Receiving a swap parcel can be a little like Christmas. This parcel contained a pincushion, cute needle case, fabric, bunting and lip balm.

I was very excited opening the parcel.

  • The pincushion is a freakishly perfect match for my dog. After the initial glee, I started to calm down and notice its details, like how well Margarita matched the fabric to the little china flowers on the dog, and the look on the dog’s face. It is looking up, and the expression on its face is almost saying, ‘What is that sticking in my head? Ouch!’
  • I have never owned bunting before. What fun!
  • The hand-made needle case is really cute. It even contains some beautifully colour-coded pins.
  • Everyone loves fabric.
  • The lip balm is cherry. My first cherry chapstick! (Yes, I have been singing a Katy Perry song in my head since the parcel arrived.)
China dog pincushion and its real dog twin

You can see why Margarita made this for me. Look at the resemblance between the pincushion and my real dog.

Sewing space

The pincushion is on the shelf with my threads and ‘treasures’, and the bunting is prominently displayed on the top shelf.

The bunting went straight up in my freshly tidied sewing space. I braved Ikea last week and bought another table and a chest of drawers. I was tired of not having enough table for both the cutting mat and ironing board. I crammed a mountain of flat-pack furniture in the back of my Mini, drove home and then did a big tidy up and sort out. I even vacuumed up the dust bunnies behind my old desk before I put the new furniture in place. I now have enough space to sew and cut and iron! It was all worth the blister I got from the screwdriver while assembling the furniture.

Have you taken part in an Instagram swap? Were you as lucky as I was?

35 thoughts on “Pincushion swap

  1. I reckon both sides of the swap did rather well! I agree that a rectangular pincushion is more useful – I have one myself, but not nearly as beautiful as the one you made.

  2. what an absolutely fabulous swap!
    everything you made, and received was totally inspired.
    I love the little dog pin-cushion ^^

    • Yes, bits are new. The old table still has the sewing machine on it, but a new table makes an L-shape on the left, and it has storage under it. Now I need to find a new home for my old toy box, which used to hold my dressmaking and upholstery fabric stash.

      The blister is almost better, which is good. I still have three flat-pack bookcases to build later this week.

    • This was my first Instagram swap. I think it was a bit trickier for me to figure out the ‘rules’ than with other swaps as almost all of the communication is done via Instagram and sometimes a wordier platform would help with explanations, but it went well.

  3. I not only like everything you made me, I absolutely, completely and utterly LOVE it! I did finally manage to stab that gorgeous pincushion with pins (which took courage as I didn’t want to put holes in all your excellent work) and now my quilting pins have a fancy new home. The bag has been in constant use, carrying around my current EPP project. It receives compliments wherever I take it. My sister hasn’t stolen it yet, but she did point out that we had not one, but two Granny Mauds ourselves. Both of whom were talented makers. So you and I have more in common than we knew!
    I have so enjoyed getting to know you a bit from across the miles. Instagram has brought several wonderful people into my life in a way I never expected. I signed up merely to follow a quilt tutorial and instead found community. Thank you for being a part of that!

  4. I am gobsmacked at the beautiful pincushion and pouch you made. Really! I’m smitten! Looks like the treasures you received are lovely, too, and will fit in well with your sewing space. Enjoy! Would you consider sharing your paper pieced Union Jack?

  5. You put so much thought and detail into the items you sent, Carla! The zipper pull is fabulous (and so sorry about your smashed car 😦 ). I love how similar your pin cushion is to Margarita – what an all around awesome swap!

  6. Nothing is too much effort for you, is it Carla. When I first saw those tea cups I thought they were a clever piece of fabric. I didn’t realise you had cut them out and appliqued them on. It sounds like you had the perfect partner to make for, and received lovely gifts in return from someone else. I haven’t entered any swaps yet. I think it’s like opening a packet of chocolate biscuits, once you start you can’t stop.

  7. Lucky we don’t live close to each other Carla I’m sure I could make a lot of other suggestions that would get you into all sorts of mischief LOL As I knew you would you’ve made a gorgeous swap parcel!! I’m just about done with my last swap before I take a break….running behind as per usual 😆😆😆

    • Most of the furniture pictured is my old stuff. You can barely see the corner of the new table. However, making way for the new table did inspire a big clean-up. I even finally sorted out and filed my sewing patterns!

  8. I love that bustle and sew teapot design! Brilliant swap items -the blue car is great. I really love your pincushion – how could you stick a pin in that cutie!

  9. Love what you sent to your swap partner. Your attention to detail is so good. The pouch you made is lovely, as is the pincushion. That little doggie you received is too cute. Perfect for you. Love your sewing space and your machine is the same as mine ! Snap-snap!

    • I too like how tidy my sewing space is at the moment. I finally have enough storage! Yippee!

      Now I know you have the same machine, I might have to ask you for adjustments for straight-line quilting. I know I am doing something wrong, but I cannot seem to tweak it just right.

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