Since I can't go out and buy them fabulously extravagant gifts, (I mean, its not like they would turn down a trip around the Mediterranean) I am hoping to send my best greetings of the season with something handmade and heartfelt and pretty.
This gift started with a tea cup and saucer that likely began life as part of a lovely set of china and ended with my discovery at a local thrift shop. I found four cups and saucers and took them home in much the same spirit as a friend of mine adopts kittens. Its not that she needs more kittens, she just can't bear to leave them behind. I couldn't stand to leave the tea cups and saucers even though I had no idea what to do with them.
I did a search on uses for tea cups. Number one idea was candles, number two was pincushions. I went for the one that I could weave. After further research I found that the best stuffing for pincushions is ground walnut shells and that the easiest place to find ground walnut shells is at the pet store. They use it as bedding for reptiles.
Now all I needed was the pincushion cover.
I wanted a festive looking yarn that would match the tea cups. Since each cup has a gold handle and edging, this craft yarn by Isaac Mizrahi seemed like a good match. This is a wool/acrylic worsted weight yarn with gold accent.
I wove two 4" x 4" pin loom squares on the Zoom Loom and used a single crochet edge with slip stitch at corners to join the two layers. You could also choose to join the squares using a back stitch.
When you join them, leave an opening on one side. Turn the squares inside out. Use a piece of t-shirt to line the inside if you are going to use ground walnut shells for the pincushion. You don't have to stitch the lining, just overlap the sides and the ground walnut shells will keep the lining in place. Fill with ground walnut shells. Instead of the ground shells, you can use your choice of polyester or wool stuffing. No lining is needed with regular stuffing.
Attach the pincushion to the bottom of the teacup with adhesive. I used E6000 because it works with glass or china.
Obviously a pincushion needs pins. In addition I added a selection of small spools of thread, a needle threader, a package of needles enclosed within a 2" x 2" square and either scissors or a thread cutter attached to the cup with about 18" of single chain crochet. I like the idea of a sewing set with everything you need in one place. I put the scissors on a chain because if it were me, I would totally lose the scissors the first time I used them. I'm hoping that this will bring new life to these teacups for a number of years, sitting someplace handy, not taking up too much space, ready to assist with snags and loose buttons.
Is this the best possible use for abandoned teacups? Perhaps it is, or perhaps my relatives will be getting candles next year.
My plans for these vehicles are just getting under way. I still have to figure out the best approach for including the rest of the sewing items. I will update this post with more pincushion pictures when these project are complete.