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Mark C.

Ceramic Pincushions-Everything You Need To Know To Make Them

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Ok maybe you never have thought about them but if you did here is how they are made or at least one way to make them.

I used to make these and do not anymore due the fact that the market died. I made hundreds of them each year in the 70’s -80’s and 90’s. My guess is folks stopped sewing about 2001. Maybe it was a few years later. If they develop an App for sewing on the I-phone, maybe sewing will come back someday. Since I’m one the sons of a mother who taught home economics for a lifelong career I know a bit about fabric and sewing.

This is the only pincushion I kept from 3 decades of making them. Most where glazed in solid colors. A few had these cobalt cats and some pigs and a few dogs as well as a few other animals but the lions share where solid glaze colors. All where fired to cone 10 and all porcelain? The glazes where snappy bright.

The holes that hold the string are optional ( they work without this touch) and if you make a tool like the one shown which is laminated plastic it will make the holes space out perfectly-they now sell this tool on the market now from some supplier(MK?). I made mine before that existed in the 70's. It makes the 6-hole space very quick.Just drop in center of circle form and use a needle tool to score some light marks for the holes.

You throw the base and let dry a tad them add the holes –I use a brass hole maker to cut the small hole in the clay when its just right moisture wise. Dry, then fire as normal.I suggest cleaning the glaze from the holes with a needle too or (small drill bit-best) before firing so they do not clog up

The fabric is 10-to 12-inch squares-I used to but only remnants as cheap as I could fine prints and solids. I used polyester batting as the stuffing. I got mine free from a local manufacturer who used large amounts and would give me the non-perfect stuff-I got it by the truckload literally. To assemble you would cut the batting and stuff it into a piece of ladies pantyhose (I got large amounts of these at thrift shops). You would cut the legs into 3rds and stuff the batting and tie it off into a ball. These where covered with the fabric and color matched to the glazes-I use about 15 glazes not counting combos. Matching it up is an art as well.

I use a 3.5-inch neoprene rubber bottom on them to keep them from sliding around-I bought these by the hundreds. These where a big hit especially during the holiday’s as gifts.

Now that you know how to make them you can make a few yourself .I considered writing a piece in a magazine about these but this is easier and more direct. My last suggestion was never responded to anyway. Those editors must be a touchy bunch.

I gave up this form over a decade ago.They still are cute and you never know somebody may still sew?

Happy pinning

Mark

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My Mom is part of a Quilting Guild and a Quilting Circle. My aunt makes hand made purses from vintage fabrics. I can sew and do so as needed, mostly when I can't find what I want in the store and have to create it myself. Around here there is at least 1 Quilting Guild that I know of so somebody out there still sews.

 

Thanks for sharing Mark.

 

T

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I love these.  I sew a lot, never used a pin cushion.  I've always used a magnetic dish.  which is great for picking up pins after you've pulled them out and left them all over the sewing machine, but not so good for just grabbing one pin.

GiselleNo5 likes this

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I just bought a new sewing machine, actually I purchased two.  The first one was a computer with a needle and thread,  I got tired of reading the manual every time I wanted to use.  My sister was in town and was complaining about her old machine, I told her I had a bargain for her.  The next machine is like my old machine, heavy duty all mechanical, no computer.  yea!  Denice

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what a clever idea!  I still have my 50-year old machine and it is like new.  Made clothes for myself, my children and quilts for my grandchildren and so much more.  then i found pottery ...maybe will try a few of these for fun--thanks mark.

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Thank you Mark!  Those look like they could be fun to make. I plan to start out by trying out one for myself as a test project and see how it goes from there. 

I also need to make a present for a quilting friend - (she already has enough mugs!) - so this would be perfect!

GiselleNo5 likes this

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Mark, My Montana friends have old enamel Singer sewing machines. My house warming gift from my best friend is a beauty of a Singer cabinet machine like the one I used when learning to sew.- burning my finger on the hot lamp shade. My friend's husband suggested finding an LED bulb. Brilliant solution. Very excited to be moving, looking for fabric for making curtains. All part of nesting. My studio will be in a heated garage and the kiln shed will be in 12 x 19' shed. We are so happy to be moving back to Montana and in a town where we know lots of people...and artisans.

I a going to make my sewing bee group PIN CUSHIONS! What a nice contribution to my friends.My Singer has some killer engraving on the metal parts.

Marcia

GiselleNo5 and Surubee like this

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I love these.  I sew a lot, never used a pin cushion.  I've always used a magnetic dish.  which is great for picking up pins after you've pulled them out and left them all over the sewing machine, but not so good for just grabbing one pin.

 

I wonder if you could make a magnetic one out of ceramic?? Maybe you'd have to make it super thin ....

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When it comes to self stick neoprene you can get them at Aftosa or Axner.

I have had many forms that sell better with neoprene bottoms

 

I have  a manufacture make my 2.5 inch circles for my sponge holders but the minimum is $350 with set up charge.

The price in large quantities is under 20 cents for these smaller ones. I tend to order 3,400 at a time for the sponge holders-I'm on my third order.

I also used to have a supplier import them from from china but he gave up neoprene and only does jewelry items now.Those where prices very low.

Marcia Selsor likes this

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One of the holes plugged up and I found that a Dremel tool set on the slowest speed and with a pointy diamond hone opened it up fine

 

Thanks Mark

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Chilly likes this

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I may have missed saying that you need to ream out the holes after glazing before firing with a drill bit or needle tool. That way the glaze will not fill the hole.

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I used to run a drill bit thru the dryed glaze and remove it all. It seems that very few glazes would ever fill them up again. That bit was the full size of the hole.Thanks for posting a finished photo.

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