D.I.Y. // Hearty Pin Cushion & Box

Today I have a little D.I.Y. for you: a pin cushion-box-set.

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My mum had this very old but practical little plastic box/pin cushion-all-in-one set. That kind where you have a little box to store your pins but also a little pin cushion on top, so you can use it for storage as well as work with it. Naturally plastic wears out, so a little while ago the box broke and mum has been looking for a new one for months. In the end, I bought a little wooden box and decided to make one myself. And today I’d like to share with you how I did it.

This little project is one I like for various reasons: it’s cheap (I went under €5, especially because it includes things you will find in most households anyway), it’s easy (suuuuper-easy, believe me), it’s quickly done (because it’s so easy) and there are thousands of possibilities in terms of colours, size and looks. I used a heart in a different colour to be in the centre of the pin cushion, but in fact you can use any shape you want, a star, a rainbow, even a unicorn I guess (given the fact you can cut out a unicorn free-hand – I couldn’t). And above all, it looks cute.

First, I spray-painted the little box gold (mainly because I still have so much spray-paint left-over and because I really like using it). Then I collected all material I wanted to use: two different colours of felting (you can go with only one colour or with even more, if you like), a needle and matching thread (I used pink, but blue would have looked great, too), a pair of scissors, darning wool, a few safety pins and some mod podge(1). 

I used a plain sqaure of 13×13 cm in pink (the box is about 5 cm in diameter), folded it in half and cut out half a heart in the centre of the felting (2).

Bild 2I cut out a smaller square of blue felting (the size depends on the size of the heart, it should be slightly bigger than the cut-out heart) and attached it on the back (3), handstitching along the edges of the heart (4).

I put a small fist-full of darning wool in the centre of the square (still on the back where you can only see the blue square obviously), brought the four corners together and used a few wild stitches and two safety pins to bring the edges together and turn it all into a little round-ish package. As you can see in the picture below, my stitches are really wild and this looks rather unprofessional – but the safety pins (from which you can only see one, because the other one is covered by two or three layers of felting) are really helpful, especially if you are using a really thin thread like I did. 

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Eventually, I applied some mod podge to the lid of the little golden box and put the pin cushion on top. It took about 12 hours to dry but now you can’t even see the safety pins. I put in some pins and also stuck some into the pin cushion and voilà – the gift was ready to be presented to my mum (who, by the way, is really happy to finally have that old, broken plastic box replaced). 

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Currently obsessed with…

1. Monkey Island – I really don’t know what took me so long to get the Special Edition for Playstation 3, but I got it the week before last and I’ve been hooked since. It’s like having one never-ending déjà-vu… I used to watch my older brother play it 13 years ago so when I play it now it’s a bit like travelling back in time. Amazing.

MI

2. Knitting – Totally re-discovered needlework and at the moment, it’s knitting. I try to teach myself how to knit socks using four and five needles.

Stricken

Crochet Craziness I – A tutorial on how to start…

When I started to crochet, I had not only trouble pronouncing the word “crocheting”, but also would have appreciated some sort of guidance.

I was eight years old.

Mum doesn’t do crafty stuff at all, Nana hasn’t done it in ages, because she’s busy being the town’s gossip girl #1 and my Kiwi host-mum prefers knitting over crochet. So that left me to myself and I learned it the hard way.

By the way, my English-speaking friends couldn’t help me with the pronunciation-problem either, so if you have a solution, please tell me about it.

Anyways, if you want to learn to crochet, I am sure you can profit from my experience – which is, admittedly still limited, but I think there is a reason why they call it “life-long learning”.

To start with, you need a crochet hook and yarn. At the beginning, it doesn’t really matter what type or colour of yarn, because it won’t look that great anyway (but it helps to start with a colour you like – I used some ugly brown, that was the first mistake!).

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I) So you grab your yarn and lay a snare of some sort:

This is the place where your hook will go through and then it’ll be easy as: from underneath, you pull your hook around the thread, sort of “grab” it with the hook and pull it through the snare (first loop of the chain).

Now that was easy. Repeat that a few times, depending on how wide your piece is supposed to be.

And voilà – this chain is the beginning of your needlework.

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II) For round patterns that start off with circles, it is quite handy to use the magic ring:


From underneath, pull the working end and “wrap” it around your crochet hook.

Now start like you would otherwise: wrap the crochet hook around the working end, then grab the working end once again, this time from underneath the two circular strings.

Pull the working end through – and that was your first single crochet. Now continue as many times as required inside the circle.

Once your needlework has the required length (e. g. 5 stitches in the first round), just pull the loose end:

I always like to add one chain (just like in the example above: wrap your crochet hook around the working end and pull it through the loop) and then one slip stitch to close the round:

For the slip stitch, just put your hook through the next stitch and pull the working end through both.

✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂✂ ✂ ✂

It’s always easiest to try it out yourself, but I hope this helps a little bit.

If something is not clear, please ask. I will reply as quickly as possible.

However,  I warmly welcome any tipps and tricks from those of you who know more that I do.

Next time I’ll show you what you can do with those crochet skills you are developing now. Until then: have fun and practise a lot!