The Pincushion Challenge

Have you gotten Carrie Nelson’s new pincushion book?


It is one of our favorite new books and who doesn’t like to make sweet little pincushions? On January 14, Carrie started posting one pincushion a day on Instagram. Her account is justcarrieintexas.

Carrie is Miss Rosie Co. if you didn’t know and Rosie was her golden retriever. She’s one of “us”. Haha! Now she also works at Moda in Dallas while continuing to make quilts, pincushions and more – in her spare time. She also likes to collect recipes and quotes.

Connie is doing the Pincushion Challenge. We met at Java 18 this morning for coffee and she brought the first pincushions. Aren’t they just the cutest?

Here’s a real closeup.

If you’re like us and enjoy making pincushions, order Carrie’s book and join in the fun! I’ll continue to post Connie’s progress.

I lost promised the January book list. Some are duplicates but if they’re that good, I’m going to include the title again.

We got a dusting of snow but more is coming this weekend. Somebody mentioned that Ernie Joe Mauer looked bigger than Hazel and HE IS! He is twice as big in size and in weight. Now that’s a good size cat – about 26 pounds!

Keep the comments and questions coming regarding hanging small quilts. Al my walls are wood so I staple – I can’t join in this discussion.

Tonight is a fun event at the library that I’ll tel you about tomorrow!

31 thoughts on “The Pincushion Challenge

  1. Donna di Natale

    For some aroma therapy along with your sewing therapy, add some essential oil to a bag of lizard litter before stuffing those pincushions. Lavender or rose are my favorites. It really doesn’t take a lot of the oil — try a drop or two, depending on how much litter you are scenting. You can always add more. The last time I bought a few bags of lizard litter at Petco they asked me what kind of lizard I had. I told them “a quilted one”. I think they are still scratching their heads.

  2. Polly Perkins

    Just got the book in the mail. I am in! Thanks for the tip on getting crushed walnut shells through Chewy. They are on the way!

  3. Marian Stever

    I love Connie’s pin cushions! Could be. Valentine’s Day gift for a friend. So cute and original.
    Ernie Joe is some big kitty! My Phoebe is 12# and should slim down like her owner!
    Loving the process of the bullseye quilt. It is going to snow all day here in Rochester. I really like days like this, no place to go, and maybe make a pin cushion from scraps. Thank you Mary for your wonderful musings.

  4. Carol

    I really, really wish I had the next steps for the Bullseye Quilt as I am staying in all weekend because of the snowstorm, and I have Monday off work for Martin Luther King Day. I ironed my pieces and I am assuming the next step is to cut them into quarters, mix up all the pieces, but I wasn’t sure if I sew them back into squares or if you do it by rows. I guess I will have to be patient cause I don’t want to mess up.

  5. sandy williams

    so much fun to read your blog… many ideas!
    Love the kitty posts and pics
    Snow coming to IN, but no idea how much….have a wonderful and safe weekend!

  6. Jo in Wyoming

    I use leftover wool batting to stuff pincushions. I’m going to mix in the coffee grounds for a slight smell of coffee when I poke it.
    Also, I hang a lot of things with old sewing machine needles. The hole is small and there is a natural stopping point.

  7. Pat Smith

    Jeanine in southeast Iowa, are you from Ottumwa? I don’t ever meet anyone from my home town. Hazel only 12 pounds? She looks a lot larger! Our Sonny weighs about 16 lbs. and he and Hazel look about the same size wise. Sonny met another sheltie at the dog park today named Alice who was a small sheltie like he is. It’s always tricky with shelties, but he seemed to be smitten with Alice. I hope they get to meet again.

  8. Norma Gebhardt

    I may have mentioned this before, but think it is unique so will mention it again. My mom used dried coffee grounds to fill pincushions. I think the depression years helped her to repurpose things. I have a large pink pincushion on my dresser that she made. It is stuffed with coffee grounds. She made a filet crocheted covering for the stuffed part. It is a great place to display brooches. I try to change them according to the seasons.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Norma – I honestly have not heard about using dried coffee grounds to fill a pincushion – your readers teach me new things all the time!

  9. Debra Miller

    I absolutely adore pincushions! When I don’t have the urge to sew something big-I will usually make a pincushion of some sort-now using a lot of wool. Running out of places to put them!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Debra Miller – how about a big glass bowl or container of some kind?

  10. Donna Sproston

    I bought a large bag of lizard litter (crushed walnut shells) at Petsmart. It will fill dozens and outlast me. I like the heft and the pin cushion stays put by the machine or on the arm of a chair. I learned a neat trick from Jen Daly’s blog. When leaving an opening for turning and filling, sew off the edge perpendicular to the stitching line at both the start and end. It makes a nicer fold. I use a funnel to fill the cushion and keep the litter in a talk narrow tub to avoid a mess.

  11. Carla J

    Pincushions?? I have 3 ready to stitch and a few I want to make so just yesterday while making an early (snow in forecast for west Michigan) monthly run for dog food grabbed a bag of crushed walnut shells from the reptile section at Petsmart. Way cheaper than the bags at the quilt shops and now I can stitch pincushions for a few months.
    Snow has been very sparse around here since before Christmas, very odd. I live about 1 1/2 to 2 miles from Lake Michigan which isn’t wearing it’s usual ice dress a mile out from shore. Very little ice here, just starting to freeze the inland lakes for the ice fisherman. They were in their boats last week.
    I so love the book list, recognize a few favorites and some intriguing enough to check through my library system.
    Thank you all for the book recommendations and the quilt hanging ideas are wonderful too.

  12. Claudia Litton

    Love your blog and always look forward to reading it
    I have been trying to find out how to contact Carrie Nelson. I
    I saw a quilt that she designed called “Sweet Tea”
    In a local quilt. They cannot get the pattern. I would love to make this quilt. Any idea how I can contact her? And yes 26 pounds is a huge cat! It thought my 19 pound kitty was huge.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Claudia Litton – have you tried leaving a comment on her Moda blog?

      1. Claudia Litton

        No. The shop says they have tried to contact her through Moda without success. I am on Instagram and will try to direct message her there. Thank you for the suggestion.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Claudia Litton – I will ask Connie if she might have that pattern – she loves Miss Rosie’s patterns. If Carrie is that hard to contact and we have he pattern, I’ll make a copy for you.

        2. CountryThreads Post author

          Claudia Litton – Sweet Tea is by Jen Kingwell, not Carrie Nelson. There’s the problem.

  13. Jeanine

    My favorite stuffing for pin cushions are the poly beads. The pins slide in so easily. Love your blog, Mary. I look forward to it every day and miss it when you take a break. We are to get up to 5″ of snow here in southeast Iowa. I can’t believe you don’t have snow up there! We got around 8-10″ down here last weekend. I don’t mind the snow, but I do not like the wind, especially when the thermometer drops like it is suppose to this weekend.

  14. Sue in Oregon

    Connies pincushions are darling! So bright and cheery!

    I have used walnut shells and they are great. Sand is good too. I usually make a small bag out of muslin that is the same size as the outer pincushion and then add the shells or sand to the muslin bag and stuff it into the pincushion. Especially with sand. Emery is also good and sharpens the pins when you push them in. Emery is expensive, though. Emory? Emery? Don’t know.

    Thanks for the book list. I finished The Wife Between Us. It was very good.

  15. Linda

    Word to pincushion makers: you can buy crushed walnut shells for filling them at You’ll find it under reptile supplies. Don’t use if you are allergic to nuts. ships free with a $50 order.

  16. Kelli

    What fun! A pincushion challenge sounds delightful. Here in N.E. Ohio we are awaiting a winter storm set to come late Friday. Snow from 3″ – 30″ we shall see! Love reading your blog always so interesting.

  17. Felicia Hamlin

    Isn’t this pincushion lady the one who had a blog: “Crazy MomQuilts”? She has lots of cute ideas for pincushions. I am still waiting for my fabric, in the meantime I am continuing to do paper piecing. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. I was glad to see the snow 1 1/2”. My sedums are greening up, I hope I won’t lose them. Have a nice day, Mary.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Felicia – Crazy Mom is actually Amanda Jean Nyberg who did a similar challenge in 2016 – Carrie talks about her in the book introduction. Hope your fabric comes soon!

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