Sew Lets QAL: Block 8 Pin Cushion

Hi! Welcome to Block 8 of the Sew Let’s Quilt Along!

You’ll find the details of the quilt along on the Sew Lets QAL tab above. Here’s the short version: we’re presenting the blocks for this quilt along in segments. To win a prize, make all the blocks from that segment, then upload a photo of them at the end of that segment.

This is Block 8 in the quilt along and the third block in Segment 2. There will be four blocks in this segment, released every two weeks. To enter for the Segment 2 prize, you must finish all four Segment 2 blocks and post a photo of them at the end of Segment 2. The prize winner for Segment 2 will be announced on July 16th. Click here to view the QAL schedule and to learn more about it.

To enter for the Grand Prize at the end of the quilt along, you’ll need to either make a quilt using all 13 blocks in the quilt along, or make one or more projects that together include all the blocks. The quilt along doesn’t end until September 10th, but if you want to get a head start on making projects here’s a link to my first project suggestion. I’ll have more project suggestions at the end of Segment 2.

Block 8: Pin Cushion

This week’s block is a Pin Cushion. The designer of Block 8 is Sherry @ Powered by Quilting and you can download the pattern there.

Here’s my version of Sherry’s block.

I am going to use my Pin Cushion block in the same project as the Iron block, so I chose similar fabrics. What project you ask? Don’t miss my Segment 2 project suggestions post on July 2nd <wink>

My Tips and Tutorials for Making This Block

Here are my tips for making the Pin Cushion block.

print out the templates

Start by printing out the templates on page 2. Use the 1” square to ensure that the templates are the correct size. Print at 100% and DO NOT scale the pattern to fit.

Because I’m going to use the Pin Cushion block in the same project as the Iron block, I needed to reduce it’s size so it would finish at 6-1/2” (the same size as my version of the Iron block). To reduce the size of the block, I had to reduce the templates. To do that, I simply printed the template page at 50% size.

Prepare the Background

Be sure to cut your background square larger than needed, as instructed in the pattern. For a 12” finished block, cut your background 13” square.

I decided to piece my background to match the Iron block. You can piece your background too if you wish. For these proportions, cut the top part 9” x 13” and the bottom part 4-1/2” x 13”. Your pieced background will end up 13” square which is just right for now.

After printing out the templates, trace the shapes on the back of your fusible web, fuse the web onto the back of your pin cushion and leaf fabrics, cut them out, then fuse them in place onto your background.

To make your block softer, “window” the fusible before you fuse it to the back of your fabric. To do that, simply cut out the center of the fusible shape, leaving a tiny bit of fusible on either side of the outline. I haven’t done that yet in this photo, but I did and forgot to take a photo afterwards. Oh well!

I often fuse my applique shapes together on top of a Teflon applique pressing sheet, so I can move the completed shape to my background and center it more easily.

After fusing the pin cushion onto your background fabric, edge stitch around the shapes to hold them in place and to finish the edge. If you’ve never machine appliqued before, click here for a step by step photo tutorial.

I edge-stitched my pin cushion with Aurifil 50 wt. #2265 Lobster Red and the leaf with Aurifil 50 wt #2545 Medium Purple.

add the embroidery

This block includes a lot of cute embroidered details. Without them, your pin cushion block just won’t be as adorable. Don’t let the fact that you don’t normally embroider stop you from adding these personal touches!

First things first. Before adding the embroidery, fuse some light-weight interfacing on the back of your block, in the areas where the embroidery is going to be. This will stabilize the block and prevent it from distorting out of shape as you make your stitches.

Making pin cushion 7.jpg

The first embroidery you need to add is the stitching lines on the pin cushion. The traditional color for these lines is green, but you can make them any color that coordinates with the fabric you’ve chosen for your pin cushion. I decided to go traditional and use green, although I chose a lime color instead of the normal deep green because I liked how it looked with my pin cushion fabric.

Mark the stitching lines, then embroider them. I used my sandboard to keep my block from shifting as I drew my lines. I marked my lines with a chalk pencil so it would be easy to remove them after embroidering the lines.

To secure the floss for stitching, you can make a quilter’s knot. Click here to learn how.

The pattern suggests a backstitch or whipped backstitch for the lines, but I used an outline stitch (a variation of the stem stitch). I used 2 strands of #471 DMC Very Light Avocado Green embroidery floss. Click here for a tutorial on how to do the stem/outline stitch.

After stitching the lines on the pin cushion you’ll need to stitch the lines for the pins. You can embroider the pins using an outline stitch too, but I chose to stitch them by machine because I thought that would make the pins thinner and more like pins.

I auditioned a lot of threads for the pins and finally chose Mettler 40 wt. #813 Ash Mist. I considered using a metallic but in the end chose the Ash Mist thread instead.

For the pin heads, I decided to use buttons.

First I arranged the buttons so I could judge how many I wanted, and where. Then I marked the pin lines using a chalk marking pencil. Again, I used my sandboard to keep the block from shifting as I marked my lines. Finally, I stitched the lines I’d marked using my sewing machine.

Add buttons if you like

If you decide to add buttons for your pin heads, you may want to wait to sew them on until after your quilt is quilted. I’m using this block in a project so i went ahead and sewed on my buttons.

The interfacing you’ve fused to the back of your block should keep your block from puckering too much as you sew on your buttons.

After you’re done with your block, trim it to 12-1/2” square.

Thanks for the Tips! Where do I get the pattern?

Drop by Sherry’s blog to download your free Pin Cushion block pattern. Hurry! The pattern is only available for free until September 21st.

Here are the hosts for Segment 2. Drop by their blogs to view their versions of this block and to read their tips for making it.

Abbie @ Sparkle On
April @ JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats
Sherry @ Powered by Quilting
Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts
Sandy @ SandyStar Designs

How Do I Enter the Giveaway?

First, you must be 18 years old to enter.

Unlike previous quilt alongs, you only need to make the blocks to enter the segment giveaways. Here’s how it works: First, make all the blocks in Segment 2 (there will be four blocks—this one is the second block in Segment 2). Then at the end of Segment 2, post a photo of all blocks in that Segment to enter the giveaway. If you want to see the schedule for the quilt along and the list of block designers, click here.

When it’s time, you’ll post a single photo of all the blocks in Segment 2 to one of the following places to enter the Segment giveaway:

  • On Instagram, with the hashtag #sewletsqal

  • In our private Facebook group

  • To the linky on any of the host’s blogs

Remember, you don’t have to get the blocks done until it’s time to post a photo of all the blocks in Segment 2 and enter our Segment Prize giveaway. Personally though, I’d make the blocks when they come out so you don’t fall behind.

Here’s what you might win by making all the Segment 2 blocks:

Plus you’ll receive a free PDF pattern of your choice for each of these Partners in Design:

Again to enter for the Segment 2 Prize Giveaway, you need only make the four blocks in the segment. Later, to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway at the end of the quilt along, you’ll need to use all 13 blocks to make a quilt or a series of projects. For ideas on projects you might make with your blocks click here.

Thanks for stopping by! The next block will be released July 2nd. We’ll also be presenting more project suggestions for those of you not making a quilt with our blocks. Don’t miss it!

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Tell me…Are you planning on making a quilt or a series of projects with your blocks from the quilt along?

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