I want to add a bit of embroidery, just for fun, to the top of my pin cushion. If you're making along with me, and not interested in this part, you can certainly skip it and just move on to the final assembly (that'll be next week's step). Or if you want to go all-out, you can go crazy with ribbon, beads, whatever you want.
In my mind, this is a small surface and a great way to test or practice stitches or just play with fun colors, beads, and threads.
For this little citrus-flavored pin cushion, I want to play with some familiar stitches and some I'm not as familiar with. Since I've been doing a lot more counted stitching lately, I'm rusty with the various surface stitches, so I pulled out a couple of my favorite references (Creative Stitching by Sue Spargo, and The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden are two favorite references) and take a look.
I've also selected a bright green perle cotton by ArtFabric called Sprouts, size 8. I am taking no responsibility if you choose to click over to the Art Fabrik link - there are some extremely tempting colors that are guaranteed to pull you in if you're any kind of a thread-freak!
I'm only going to add embroidery to the top part of the pin cushion, so I hoop it up with a 4" hoop - any brand of hoop will do. The edges will just barely fit in the hoop, and it's okay if the fabric isn't tight as a drum. I try to hoop it so the corner seams are accessible. And so the fabric is held in place enough so I can stitch using both hands if needed.
I'm going to leave the stitch instructions to the reference books - they will do a better job at the how-to than I will. Plus, based on the stitches I choose could be completely different from one pin cushion to the next! No two pin cushions in my pile end up the same!
For this one, I decided to stitch along the four-patch seams in the center with a row of Palestrina knots. I'm not very good at them, so this is a perfect place to get some practice.
Then I added a basic chain stitch around the outer square seam.
Then a few colonial knots (very similar to French knots but a bit more consistent, in my opinion) along one side of each row of Palestrina knots in a different color. about 7 or 9 colonial knots evenly spaced along the seam.
And there you have it! I left the very center of the four-patch unstitched because that's where I'll tuft the pin cushion with a miniature button after it's stuffed.
The two parts - the embroidered pin cushion top, and the un-embellished bottom - are back at the sewing machine table, waiting to be assembled into a square. . . They look a little crumpled and messy, but that's just fine. All that crumple will go away with the stuffing. . .
. . . Next time!