As sewists, we use our pins every day, so we might as well show them some love and give them a SUPER CUTE pin cushion to live in-- join me to learn how to make easy, wool pin cushions for your pins at home and on the go.
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Making the Wool Ball
As I hinted above, you can buy ready-made wool balls online (they're used in your dryer as an alternative to dryer sheets) if that's more your speed, but the fun thing about making your own is that you can make them exactly the size you want, plus it's a kid-friendly craft (for reference, Jem, above, is 3 years old).
1 )Pull of a small wad of roving a scruntch it up in your hand a bit
2) Wrap a whole lot more roving around the wad, until it's about twice the size that you want it to end up
3) Dip the whole thing into the hot soapy water
4) Begin rubbing the wool to felt it. Think about it like making a ball out of play dough so that all the layers felt together. Dip the wool back in the hot water periodically to keep it wet and warm (Work over the bowl-- you're going to make a lot of bubbles!)
5) It's going to feel like a squishy mess for awhile, but keep rubbing and shaping. The ball will shrink and become firm as the wool felts on itself
6) (optional) If you want to get all fancy with different colors of roving, you can make patterns on the wool ball at this point. You can see some examples here.
7) As the ball becomes tight and looks like your desired finished wool ball, rinse and squeeze it under cold water, gently reshape into a nice, round ball and set it out to dry
Finally, this is where the real magic happens! Let your imagination run wild with all the ways you can make wool balls an instant pin cushion. Not only is this easy, but the lanolin (oil) that is in wool helps keep your pins smooth to slide through your fabric. Here's a couple of my favorite ideas:
Put it in a Cup
Take your favorite mug that got a chip, or find a sweet cup and saucer (thrift stores are great for this if you don't have any) and just pop your wool ball in the top! This is why I like to make my own wool balls-- I can make them fit any cup perfectly! You could even make a itty bitty pin cushion using a doll cup. For an extra touch, cover the wool with your favorite fabric: wrap the ball, and either pin, tie, or glue the fabric at the bottom.
Pins on the Go
Taking all your tiny, prickly notions on retreat just got ten times easier! First, pick a canning jar, and remove the lid part so you only have the ring. Make a wool ball That fits snugly in the ring. Fill the jar with pins, thread snips, clips, thread, etc. Put the wool-stuffed ring on tight. Then, when you get to retreat, your pins are safely contained and ready to stick in the top of your handy pin cushion. This idea also makes a fabulous gift for a quilty friend-- fill a mason jar with notions, and thread, top with a wool ball lid, tie with a ribbon, and gift!