The pincushion tomato was most likely introduced during the Victorian Era. Folklore teaches us, that by placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits. If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust. The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose – a place to store pins.
I made this lavender pincushion in 1972. I was 10 years old and this was my first project in my sewing 4H club. I am not sure the light purple blob has any good luck or not. I can say, with certainly, it has kept all evil spirits away from my sewing basket for more than 40 years.
In theory it is a sweet idea, however, it doesn’t work. The pins don’t stay pushed in. The material is double-knit, the filling feels like cotton batting, and it doesn’t have any weight to speak of. I made it using a canning jar lid and ring.
A pin cushion that doesn’t work, isn’t very useful. However, I have kept it all these years because it makes me smile to remember the beginning. It doesn’t work, but for some reason, it whet my appetite for more to come.
You all remember my 2017 goal of making a pin cushion for every sweet person I need a gift for? https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/poke/
You thought I was kidding? No, not kidding. I am on a mission to make at least 12 pincushions this year. Let me be clear: pincushions that are equally pretty & useful. While I do wish for them to be keepsakes (and full of good luck), I honestly don’t want them stuck in the bottom of someone’s sewing basket never to see the light of day. It is my hope that the cushions will be poked over and over and over again. I hope they are loved and used and become worn with happy use.
First pin cushion of 2017 is finished!!!! She also comes with her own designer pins.
I made several pins last night. I wanted to include something unique or pretty or charming to poke into each cushion. Some look like dragonflies, some have hearts, a few have stars, while the rest are glass stacked beads.
My first pin cushion this year, is for a retirement gift. The recipient is a crafter and does lovely work with beads. I thought it might be the perfect small gift to offer up as a celebration. I wanted to make something special.
I ask you, who among us wouldn’t want to receive a hand stitched cushion with our initial highlighted?
In addition to using buttons from my button jar, I stitched good karma, love, prayers, kindness and oodles of good luck into this piece. I am sending it off into the world stuffed with pure goodness (also known in some circles as crushed walnut shells). I also included a loop for her scissors to be tied with a ribbon.
May this new year be a time of bathing others in small gifts of thoughtfulness.
In this together, friends.
We could all use a little poke to remind us to be more thoughtful.