How to embroider the teacup pincushion
This teacup pincushion was stitched in various surface embroidery stitches, which I didn’t plan in advance. It depended partly on which thread I chose at the time, and the look I wanted. I planned it to be quite simple, but not boring to do!
The whole motif is about three inches across. I outlined the leaves and petals first with split stitch with one strand, and then stitched the flower leaves in vandyke stitch. The berry leaves were padded first with satin stitch worked from tip to base, and then another layer of satin stitch worked over the top, up to the tip and down the other side, following the angle of the veins of each leaf. You can see, in the picture below, some of the leaves are completed, and some have just the outlining and base layer of satin stitch done.
The flower petals were stitched in long and short stitch, with straight stitch highlights using the darker pinks. Fly stitches in dark pink were worked around the tips of some petals for contrast. The flower centres are a French knot. I stitched the stems in stem stitch, and the ‘floating’ little leaves near the pink flowers are individual lazy daisy stitches.
For the berries, I outlined the shapes with split stitch, filling them with satin stitch (in case the beads didn’t cover the fabric completely, and also to give a slightly padded look). Then I stitched on a mixture of clear and frosted glass beads for the berries, very close together, so that they ‘heaped up’ on top of each other, to look more rounded. I used six shades of beads, both frosted and clear, to make realistic berries.
List of threads for the pincushion
In case you’d like to make something similar to mine, here is a list of the threads I used (where known):
Rajmahal 94 Soft gold – flower centres
Silk N Colors 1057 Once upon a rose – pale pink flowers
Silk N Colors 1056 Mayfair – highlights on the pink flower centres
Gentle Art 0511 Country redwood – flower petal tip highlights, berry satin stitch and attaching beads
Oliver Twists Fine Cotton 001 – berry leaves
House of Embroidery Perle 12 (dark variegated green – exact shade not known) – berry stems
Silk N colors 9713 Desert moss – pink flower leaf stems, and fly stitches around the yellow French knots used for the flower centre
Gloriana silk floss (variegated green – exact shade not known) – leaves on the pink flowers
Beads used (all by Mill Hill):
Frosted 62056 Plum
Frosted 62032 Bright red
Antique 03033 Metallic maroon
Glass 00367 Wine
Frosted 60367 Dark red
Glass 02034 Deep orange
How to assemble the teacup pincushion
When the embroidery was finished, I cut the fabric to the diameter of the cup plus 2 inches all round. Then I worked a line of running stitch around the edge of the fabric with Perle 12 thread as it’s very strong, pulling up the thread to gather the fabric into a puff, and stuffing with ‘2 ounce’ quilting wadding pulled apart into small pieces just before backstitching to close off the fabric ball. I wanted the pincushion to be quite hard, and not ‘deflate’ when I started to use it, so I used quite a lot of wadding. This part got quite complicated (one of those times when you can’t take photos, as you don’t have any hands left to operate the camera!
I had tested the ball of fabric in the cup for the estimated finished height before fastening off the thread end, as some teacup pincushions I’ve seen have looked a bit strange if they sit far too low or far too high in the cup! From ones I had seen online, and descriptions on other blogs of how to finish these teacup pincushions, I had planned to put a line of PVA glue inside the bottom of the cup and halfway up the sides, and push the ball of fabric into the cup, settling it straight and holding it for a while until the glue had ‘grabbed’. In the end, the fabric ball sat very tightly in the cup, so at the moment I’m not planning to glue it in. I’m not sure yet, but I may glue the cup to the saucer to prevent the cup being knocked off the saucer, as it rattles a bit when I’m using it.
This was a quick project, and I wouldn’t have thought of doing it if I hadn’t seen that image on Facebook, but it’s a really lovely little addition to my ‘sewing smalls’ collection.