Turtle Pincushions

I’ve been in craft-mode lately (as you can tell from recent posts). I’m taking a vacation from more serious projects and letting myself goof off, putting together little things for the fun of it, like the Christmas ornaments I finally finished.

Last week, I stopped in the local quilt shop and was struck by a cute pattern on the counter: Henrietta Turtle, a pincushion designed by Heather Bailey. The pattern hopped in my bag and I was cutting out fabric before I knew it. I made two turtles at once, one for me, one for a gift. I think the total time involved per pincushion was one to two hours (a very rough estimate). Here are the ones I made:

Before I put it together, I didn’t realize that the turtle actually rests on her stomach, not her legs. The gusset for the stomach looks like it makes the legs the only point of contact with the table, but when you stuff it, the tummy bulges out and winds up being the support.

I found this pattern rather fussy – lots of directions about where and how to clip the curves, for example. I probably made things hard on myself by using regular stabilizer instead of the iron-on kind, but it was all I had available at the time. I also quickly got frustrated working with the tiny pattern pieces to make the cute felt flower that gets sewn to the shell, which is why I wound up improvising my own designs instead.

In the end, the turtles did not come out as nicely finished as a would have liked (a couple wonky seams) but the worst of it is hidden under the shell.For some reason, when I stitched up the stuffing hole in the back, I gave the poor critters scoliosis. Still, it was a fun little project do, and I particularly enjoyed picking out the fabrics and making the embellishments.

P.S. For those wondering why I made myself yet another pincushion this year, all I have to say is: you can never have too many pincushions.

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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