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Thread: today's pondering

  1. #1
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    today's pondering

    I start working on a quilt that will be all hand sewn and it's unbelievable how much my mind wanders on things while I'm doing this.

    So while sewing today it dawned on me how all the pincushions today are made from all sorts of things, like batting, walnut shells, straw and all the many other things that go into them.

    What is so strange is that over the many years (about 50) that I've been sewing, I have always hear that if your sewing needle gets a little dull you can poke it into a wad of extra fine steel wool and it will sharpen it. SO that got me to thinking.

    Why aren't they made with the steel wool in them so you will be sharpening the needles every time you stick it in the pincushion?
    I'm think about making one stuffed with the extra fine steel wool and see how it works out.
    What's you thought on the subject?

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    Is it possible that the steel wool end may stick through the fabric? Worth a try though.

  3. #3
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
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    Do you really need to sharpen it every time you use it. I always thought that the little strawberry on top was the sharpener.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingloulou View Post
    Is it possible that the steel wool end may stick through the fabric? Worth a try though.
    not sure but I won't know until I try I may have to use an extra layer of fabric that has a tighter weave to it maybe a scrap of silk lining or something similar

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    Quote Originally Posted by leatheflea View Post
    Do you really need to sharpen it every time you use it. I always thought that the little strawberry on top was the sharpener.
    they use to be but now they are made out of the same stuff as the tomato, they use to have a fine sand in them.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cat-on-a-mac's Avatar
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    They used to sell pin cushions shaped like tomatoes, with an attached little one shaped like a strawberry. The strawberry was for sharpening -- I'd guess it had steel wool or something similar, as you described.

    Either the steel wool was too expensive to use for the big cushion, or maybe it doesn't hold the pins in place well?
    Cathy

  7. #7
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I think I've tried every pincushion there is. From steel wool to emery and wool.
    So far my favorite is wool. I can leave my pins in there and it won't rust plus
    it seems to get more lubrication from the lanolin in the wool.
    Emery is good for sharpening, so is steel wool but I won't leave my pins in there
    all the time. I prefer emery to steel wool because it won't rust.
    If there's some humidity the steel wool will probably rust.

    Edit: Forgot to mention that those little strawberries they sell now are completely
    useless. Like someone said before I think they put straw or something instead
    of emery. Don't waste your money on those. If you want emery, buy it at the
    hardware store or on Etsy.
    Last edited by EasyPeezy; 07-29-2013 at 09:13 AM.

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    The crushed walnut shells, though not as fine as emery, are used for basically the same thing, to smooth off little burrs from your pins and needles. You can find it at any pet store. I also make pincushions from bars of soap. Leave the paper wrapper on, then cut strips of fabric that are as wide as the widest point of the bar. Then wrap the strips around a couple times covering both the sides and the ends and tie with a pretty bow on the top. Pins and needles glide through fabric. I prefer the flat bars of soap, like Ivory or Dial and not the curved ones like Dove. Or if you have a soap that has a favorite fragrance, that works, too. As the pins and needles go into the soap, it will gradually break the bar into little pieces, but that takes a while.

  9. #9
    Senior Member coloradosky's Avatar
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    I agree with EasyPeezy - wool is the way to go. Whenever I leave any pins in my large tomato cushion the pins rust so fast I have to discard them.

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    Super Member JoanneS's Avatar
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    Pincushins HAVE been made with steel wool in them to sharpen needles. Go ahead and do it!

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    Power Poster ube quilting's Avatar
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    It will also rust over time.
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  12. #12
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I have a couple of pincushions that I made as a kid using hair from my head, my Mom's and Grandmother's -- they are wonderful for keeping needles happy and sewing. I remember a 7th grade sewing project that required us to do this, though I had made several before that. I always keep a bar of ivory in the sewing room to put the needles in to make them glide -- never thought about wrapping them in fabric but given the state of the paper wrapper, I think I will.
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    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mckwilter View Post
    The crushed walnut shells, though not as fine as emery, are used for basically the same thing, to smooth off little burrs from your pins and needles. You can find it at any pet store. I also make pincushions from bars of soap. Leave the paper wrapper on, then cut strips of fabric that are as wide as the widest point of the bar. Then wrap the strips around a couple times covering both the sides and the ends and tie with a pretty bow on the top. Pins and needles glide through fabric. I prefer the flat bars of soap, like Ivory or Dial and not the curved ones like Dove. Or if you have a soap that has a favorite fragrance, that works, too. As the pins and needles go into the soap, it will gradually break the bar into little pieces, but that takes a while.
    Great idea - brings back memories of when the kids were babies, pre Pampers, and I kept the diaper pins in a wrapped bar of soap. they always slid right through the diapers.
    Alyce

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    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Steel wool rusts, especially in damp climates. In the olden days, the tomato pincushions came with a little strawberry that contained emery powder to sharpen and clean your needles.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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    Alyce beat me to it... I was sure I was not the only one on this board who used soap bars to sharpen the sticky diaper pins. Never thought of using them for sewing pins. Think I'll give it a try.

    Linda in Missouri

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    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seasaw2mch View Post
    I start working on a quilt that will be all hand sewn and it's unbelievable how much my mind wanders on things while I'm doing this.

    So while sewing today it dawned on me how all the pincushions today are made from all sorts of things, like batting, walnut shells, straw and all the many other things that go into them.

    What is so strange is that over the many years (about 50) that I've been sewing, I have always hear that if your sewing needle gets a little dull you can poke it into a wad of extra fine steel wool and it will sharpen it. SO that got me to thinking.

    Why aren't they made with the steel wool in them so you will be sharpening the needles every time you stick it in the pincushion?
    I'm think about making one stuffed with the extra fine steel wool and see how it works out.
    What's you thought on the subject?
    I was thinking about this very thing over the weekend!!! How eerie is that??!! I am going to make some pincushions and I have already decided that I am going to stuff them with steel wool. I thought about he steel wool fibers sticking thru the outer fabric and thought I would encase the steel wool in some muslin then put it into my pincushion.
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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Running a needle or pin though your hair on the scalp will let the needle glide through fabric. I remember my mother and aunts always pulling the big diaper pins through their hair before pinning a diaper.
    Got fabric?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    Running a needle or pin though your hair on the scalp will let the needle glide through fabric. I remember my mother and aunts always pulling the big diaper pins through their hair before pinning a diaper.
    My mom had 14 of us and she told me about running the pins through my hair for the diaper pins but I must be a klutz because I kept sticking myself in the head. LOL

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    I'm glad you all responded because it gave me more ways to try my little experiment. I did not think about the steel wool rusting and since it's humid here, I'm think now it's a bad idea. I might see what I can find out about the emery powder and the soap bars were my grandma's favorite come to think about it. I also used them when I did wood working to keep my saw blades from rusting and it helped them glide through the wood a lot easier. I have never used wool before but maybe I'll have to check into them as well. Do you any type of wool for that? or is there a specific type I should try?

    Oh the memories! Thanks everyone for your input.

  20. #20
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seasaw2mch View Post
    My mom had 14 of us and she told me about running the pins through my hair for the diaper pins but I must be a klutz because I kept sticking myself in the head. LOL
    Run it through backwards, not point first.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Scraplady's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=seasaw2mch;6203944]I'm glad you all responded because it gave me more ways to try my little experiment. I did not think about the steel wool rusting and since it's humid here, I'm think now it's a bad idea. I might see what I can find out about the emery powder and the soap bars were my grandma's favorite come to think about it. I also used them when I did wood working to keep my saw blades from rusting and it helped them glide through the wood a lot easier. I have never used wool before but maybe I'll have to check into them as well. Do you any type of wool for that? or is there a specific type I should try?

    Maybe you could enclose one of those little packs of silica gel along with the steel wool to absorb moisture?
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  22. #22
    Super Member IrishgalfromNJ's Avatar
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    I love making pin cushions. I heard that you should use raw wool. I have stuffed pin cushions with wool yarn and I have also covered pincushions with felted knitted wool. I bet you could use wool roving as well.

    I found emery sand here: http://www.joggles.com/store/catalog...ducts_id=15142
    The emery sand was a great idea but it's a little fussy to work with.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltsRfun View Post
    Run it through backwards, not point first.
    Yep now I get the right advice! That baby is 40 now and I'm NOT STARTING OVER to find out if that woks and I'm sure he won"t be still for me to re-try it now. LOL
    But thanks for clearing that up.

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    It is so nice to know that there are a bunch of us that actually used cloth diapers, women now a days, have no idea of what we are talking about.

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