Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hexagon Pincushion Tutorial!

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I spent last night kitting up a small project to gift my travelers with on our Germany Trip!

((TWO MORE SLEEPS until I leave Friday morning!  I am getting so very excited!))

We won’t have access to sewing machines, and I wanted to come up with something that didn’t take up a lot of space in their suitcases , because that real estate is saved for all the Christmas Market goodies and souvenirs people will be bringing home!

What could I do that is small and cute and a good memento of our time together?

I’ve kitted up the papers, the hexie fabrics, and the other parts needed for making a lovely Christmas colored hexie pincushion!

We’ll learn how to do basic English Paper Piecing on our rosettes.  And when the rosette is assembled we can applique them down to the background square.

If you want to make one, you’ll need 7 3/4” per side hexie papers and fabric for the rosette.  Click HERE for my hexagon tutorial which will show you how to make the rosette.

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You will also need:
1  5” background square
2  1-1/4” X 5” rectangles
2  1-1/4” X 6-1/2” rectangles.
1  6-1/2” backing square.  Mine match the color of the borders on the front.

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Appliqueing the hexie rosette in place!

After the rosette is assembled, press it well.  Remove the papers from the hexies WITHOUT removing the basting.  The basting will help keep your seam allowance turned under.  Center the rosette within the background square and pin in place. Applique the rosette to the background square

I did this yesterday at the cabin – if I had had red thread on me, I would have used that ---my stitches are more visible than I like them to be – so use thread that matches your fabric!

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All appliqued down!

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I chose to embellish my rosette by adding some vintage buttons from my button jar!

Place the pin cushion top and backing fabric with right sides together.  Starting part way down one side, sew around the edges with a 1/4” seam, leaving an opening approximately 2” long for turning and stuffing.

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My opening!  Back tack at the beginning and ending of stitching.

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Clip corners before turning!

And now the fun begins!  What to stuff with?

You can use sand, or wool –but I like ground walnut shells!

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And they did NOT have a smaller bag than this!

I got this at Petsmart in the “reptile” section.  The walnut shells are very finely ground and perfect for pincushions!  Buy one bag and have a pincushion party with your quilt bee ---

Now how to fill the pin cushion?  I could not find a funnel on hand anywhere ----so I got resourceful:

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Cut a plastic water bottle in half!

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Insert the bottle top into the hole in the side of the pincushion.

Do this over a large bowl ---it gets messy!  I used the bottom of the bottle as my “scooper”.  You are going to want to fill the pincushion as FULL as is humanly possible.  Work the filling into all of the corners.

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All done!

Hand stitch the opening closed on the side of the cushion, keeping stitches small and close together to keep ground walnut shells from escaping.

**Note** I am NOT traveling to Germany with a huge bag of ground walnut shells!  They can sew their cushions together and fill them once they get home! LOL!

This would also make a great Mug Rug – just add a layer of batting instead of stuffing with walnut shells.  Great for gift-giving this holiday season!


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I’ve kitted up 24 sets --- all I need is my travelers ready to sew!

Remember – there IS Quilt-Cam tonight! 9 PM Eastern!  Hope to see you there!

Click Here to like our Quiltville Friends Page on Facebook for more fun!
You do not need a Facebook account to read the Facebook posts - They are viewable to all! Feel free to read & quilt along with us!


  1. Bonnie, with all you have to do all the time, and especially right now with family, publishing a book, classes and this Bavarian trip, you even make time to be sure your fellow travelers have a fun project to work on. You continue to amaze me and inspire me to do just a bit more each day. Thank you.

  2. This is really cute. I might need to make some up.

  3. Great idea for my SEWCIETY friends! thanks for sharing

  4. You have given me a great idea for a gift for my two best friends for Christmas!

  5. This is really cute! I would be a little worried about customs when coming back to the U.S. though. Whenever travelling back to the States from Germany, they seem to be really worried about seeds and nuts that enter the country!

    1. I am not taking the filling with me to Germany. They can fill them when they get home.

  6. Oh my gosh, what a fabulous idea! How cute they are. Now I have all kinds of ideas running around in my head. Thank you so much Bonnie. Your fellow travelers will be so pleased.

  7. What a sweet little gift idea, Bonnie. Just what I needed for a few friends. Thanks!
    Oh, enjoy the markets. Had a daughter do a semester abroad in Austria over Christmas a few years ago. Similar markets, and I drooled over the photos she emailed.
    I love wood handcrafts and they abound in Germany! Enjoy!!

  8. Wow! Such a thoughtful gift! It would be such an honor just to get to know YOU! God Bless and safe travels!

  9. Bonnie, I love your blog and watch quiltcam faithfully and I would NEVER criticize any of your work, but does it really need 7 3/4 inch side hexie papers? That seems awfully big to me. Have a wonderful trip and lots of fun.

    1. I believe that's a quantity of seven 3/4" hexies

    2. Kim, I think Bonnie means 7 hexies each measuring 3/4 inch along each side, not measuring 7 3/4 inches!!

  10. I do the cut off water bottle with rice for fooy warmers and microwave heating bags

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  12. Thanks for the pincushion, Bonnie. We can sew ours as we read your blog and be there with you. I am hoping you will have the best time you've ever had, very pretty weather and safe travels. Have lots of fun!

  13. Great idea Bonnie. Does your mind ever shut down for even sleep? Your so kind looking after your ladies (and gents if there are any going with you). Have a great trip. Austria and Germany are wonderful this time of year and the markets are fabulous.
    Regards, Linda in England

  14. adding a small amount of stuffing to the opening helps to keep the shells from coming out when you slip stitch the opening closed.

  15. What is your thought on adding a top layer of steel wool. I keep reading that its suppose to sharpen your pins..

  16. I always wonder what kind of vitamins you are taking, Bonnie. My gosh, you are like the Energizer Bunny. I get worn out just reading everything you accomplish in one day! You go, girl! What a thoughtful gift for your fellow travelers.

  17. Ho ho ho, Bonnie!
    I should have seen this two days ago! I made a pin cushion and tried to use teaspoons to fill it with the walnut shells. Long story short, even after sweeping and vacuuming, I'm still finding little pieces everywhere!

  18. I hope you have a wonderful, safe trip and share with us via your blog.

    Thanks for the tut..

  19. Upon first glance, I read "you are knitting" I thought she has really lost it now. Except now I know I just need glasses to read!!! haha
    Cute little project, your travellers are a lucky bunch. As for the filler, with so many allergies, we have used whole flax seeds instead. They are also known to keep needles sharp! Have fun on your trip!

    1. I read "knitting" too - guess we both need glasses! LOL.

  20. I don't know why they don't sell the ground walnut shells in smaller bags. I had to buy 10# too! I guess PetSmart is not thinking of quilters, but those with reptiles :)
    Have a wonderful time in Germany!

  21. I love hexies and I love pincushions...so what a perfect project. And I have ground walnut shells too. Thanks for the tutorial. Have a great trip.

  22. Have you used walnut shells before? I am making pincushions and was told that sand vis best and walnut shells dull the needles, have you heard of this hapening?

  23. You are sewing the borders on the square as part of the KIT. Lucky Ladies to have some of your STASH! Glad for a QuiltCam Day. I will be right here, stitching away on my Midnight Flight. Unless I decide to make a Hexie Project for my Ornament exchange at Guild...where did I put those tiny Hexie papers??

  24. Fabulous!!! Great tip on the water bottle. I love the walnut or pecan shells too!

  25. ROFL -- I just can see it now!!!! Airport security NOT believing ANYONE would haul crushed walnuts shells with them. So very happy you aren't going to take the huge bag ... this time!

    Been to several of the Christmas Market cities/towns ... OHHH MNYYYY WORDDDDDD... think of being a chocoholic in a candy store and you get the picture ;) Best one, I think, is that little walled city of "Rotenberg" Spelling might be off there.

    Have a wonderful time. Everyone was friendly and helpful. We enjoyed our times there. Have gone 3 times!!!


  26. Your pincushion is adorable. I want to make one right now!
    See you tonight on Quilt-Cam.

  27. Wow, you are so sweet to do this for your fellow travelers. What a nice memento stitched on your sweet 301 (Dottie?). I didn't even finish reading the post and I went to go make one!! I'll applique it down during Quilt Cam tonight. Thanks for letting us know where you found the ground walnut shells too. Very resourceful for your "faux" funnel!!

  28. I know what I'm making for my gift exchange now! Thanks, Bonnie! Have a great trip! Will watch QuiltCam on YouTube since today is our 48th anniversary and I will be eating steak & lobster while you all sew!

  29. I bought the same big bag of crushed walnut shells at the local Petco. I went in asking for crushed walnut shells. That was a waste of time, drawing completely blank looks from the teen-aged staff. Then I remembered - oh, yeah, they use it for reptile bedding. Then they knew what I was talking about. I have given a lot away and still have more than half a bag sealed up in the garage. So nice of you to take the time to make these lovely kits.

  30. Anonymous5:28 PM EST

    You might find smaller bags of ground walnut shells at gun shops. It is use for cleaning brass in a tumbler when reloading bullets.

  31. Thanks for the great idea. I think I will do mug rugs for all my Stitch n Bitch Christmas party...its next Saturday.

  32. Thanks for the great pattern and tutorial. This is a good project for me to learn EPP. One thing people need to check on before filling these with walnut shells and gifting these to friends. Make sure the person or no family member has an allergy to nuts. Wouldn't want to put anyone in the hospital or worse.

  33. I found a 5 qt bag today at Petco

  34. Anonymous9:43 PM EST

    Oh yes! What an awesome gift to give and receive!

  35. Bonnie tonight on quilt cam you said you are going to be on The Quilt Show...When you are on The Quilt Show with Ricki and Alex you should diffidently do the de-boning a shirt... and organizing your shirts/scraps.. And show some of your gorgeous quilts...I belong to The Quilt Show so I am so happy you will be on it....

  36. Hi Bonnie, enjoying quilt cam tonight, I'm working on year end bookwork, so I'm sad that I can't be in my sewing room sewing along with you. Have a great trip to Germany, I look forward to your posts on facebook and your blog, even though I don't always get time to read them.

  37. I was so jealous that they were getting kits, then I scrolled down and saw the directions! THANK YOU! A friend gave me a kit for one of these bigger pin cushions and I love them - didn't think I would - I am going to make one of these for a Christmas swap with a quilt group I just joined.

    Also, for any of you that live near a Harbor Freight, they sell 25 lb. boxes - I think I got my box on sale, with a coupon for about $17 -- needless to say, I have shared many pounds of it with friends.

  38. Hi Bonnie, I'm joining you kind of late, but had a block exchange meeting earlier. I'm working on the last of my Celtic Solstice clue 1 units. Love your hexie pin cushion. What a great idea for gift giving. Have a blast on your trip. Only 1 more day to wait.

  39. Gosh I thought I was going to be able to "help you out" as I noticed a tiny oops but some other nice readers already saw it ""
    If you want to make one, you’ll need 7 3/4” per side hexie papers and fabric for the rosette. Click HERE for my hexagon tutorial which will show you how to make the rosette.""
    So enjoy your trip .... I was thinking inklingo for the hex's then I thought so smart you are to give the papers and teach the technique

  40. First, this is such a great idea, and really cute, too. Thank you for the instructions.

    Second, I just want to say that I found weevils in my bag of crushed walnut shells, so beware. I chucked that thing in the freezer for a few weeks. I sure hope that did the trick and killed any weevilly eggs that might have been lying around in there. Time will tell.

  41. Beautiful, Bonnie. Thank you.

  42. You are amazing and thoughtful! Such a sweet gift...to your travelers and your readers. Have a wonderful trip!

  43. What a thoughtful gift to give your travellers!! Very cute!!!
    Have a terrific time in Germany!!

  44. Bonnie I have just discovered your site! Thank you for the free patterns. I found you by looking for your Pineapple Pattern! I too love your pin cushion! I used rice previously and ended with a little stuffing before I closed it. I will definitely use your instructions on yours.

    Thank you again,



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