The Pincushion Collection, 2-22-22

I wanted to do something special on this historic date so it’s the pin cushion collection! I know you will enjoy this – it was really a lot of work but I did enjoy seeing each one again. Connie and I used to travel quite a lot and we always looked for antique malls and shops. I searched for pincushions – preferably homemade ones. Connie shopped for bowls – yes, large, heavy bowls! Haha! Guess whose purchase was easier to bring home!

There are quite a few photos here but I wanted to get them all included in one post. I began leaving the price tags on so I’d know what that dealer thought each one was worth. You can enlarge the photos to get a closer look. It’s nearly insane how many I have in this one display case.

Here we go!

We made these in the shop and sold them at shows – grab some wool and I’ll tell you how to make them.
Homemade sewing box

Here’s the inside.:

Isn’t it just wonderful?

There are more items throughout my house but this is way more than I need to show today. I hope you enjoyed the Pincushion Show!

122 thoughts on “The Pincushion Collection, 2-22-22

  1. Carol Garverick

    I see a tatting shuttle. Do you tat? I do and I have a few handcrafted and some antique ones.

  2. Pat ONeill

    Absolutely Love your collection!!!! They are a lot of work to keep dusted but worth it!
    Thanks for Sharing!!!!

  3. Carol

    Well that was fun! Thank you! One that caught my eye was the red white and blue one, the triangle reminds me of the folded flag at a ceremony.

    All the shoes and hats and gloves, so much fun to look at!

    Thanks again, that WAS a lot of work for you and wonderful for us!

  4. Diane in Maryland

    I loved seeing this! The pin cushions and the sewing box are amazing! Thank you for sharing these.

  5. Tina W in Oregon

    Your pincushions are wonderful. Bet they could tell some stories! I think the most unusual one I saw was the hoof (cow?) pincushion. Do you have a favorite? You’ll need to find another display case so they each are in the limelight individually instead of stacked together. Great collection!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Tina W – I have two hooves – popular at turn of the century and now quite expensive – $125.00 one price tag said.

  6. Janice Treml

    Who could ever imagine such a big variety of pincushions? Thank you for sharing your collection.

    Jan in Minnesota

  7. Sandy B

    One of my purchases at your shop many years ago was a card with a picture of your tomato pincushions sitting on an antique red and white quilt. I framed the card and it is sitting on a shelf where I can enjoy it..

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sandy B – I took many photos of tomato pincushions in the snow – so difficult to get reprints these days or I’d make some more cards!

      1. Betty Klosterman

        Reprints of pictures in the old days is out of fashion these days. I don’t know what to call the machine, but it is at Walmart and drug stores, etc. You put the camera chip into the slot and mark what prints you want and the computer does it all and you can pick up the pictures in an hour…..
        You can also take a picture from years ago and run it thru the same machine, which makes a new negative(?) and prints up new pictures.
        Sorry on my conbobbled description of the process as I am still in the 20th century and don’t always understand or remember the names of this new stuff. Anyway, you don’t need the actual negative of a picture taken years ago.

      2. Tina W in Oregon

        I loved those cards! I bought a box the one and only time I got to visit your store. I’d definitely buy more if you ever decided to make them again.

  8. Suzanne Golden

    I love the kitty checking them out, but got bored before the show ended. Special memories

  9. Margaret in North Texas

    Interesting collection,Mary. That is an unusual pin cushion made with animals hooves-had not seen one like that.

  10. Leslie from Maryland

    LOVE the hoof in picture number 5!! What a great collection you have! And such a patient kitty for you to change the display so many times in front of her!

  11. Kathy L

    Love all the pincushions, I always look for sewing stuff but I am also bowl crazy to .LOL,
    so much fun looking for different things.

  12. Karen in Florida

    Whoohoo! Love the leg pincushion. Enjoyed viewing your collection. Such diversity for such a humble item.

  13. Marsha from Kansas

    That is a great collection of pin cushions. Enjoyed seeing each and every one. Thanks for making our 2-22-22 day special!

  14. Kathy in western NY

    A yellow tomato! Such a fun collection to share today with us, thank you. The red gingham dog caught my eye. It’s nice you can keep them inside a cabinet away from the elements. This was a fun post.
    I want to thank all the readers who helped me through my dinnerware dilemma. I did buy a couple sets of white Corelle that came in finally at Walmart and we have loved using them. And I have more room in my cupboards. I packed up boxes of my heavy stoneware that is onto the thrift store for someone else to enjoy. I much prefer the lightweight dishes for everyday now, and I have my grandmas floral old dishes if I ever want pretty but would need to handwash so this Corelle has made our lives so much easier.
    Thank you everyone!

    1. Sue in Oregon

      I did the same thing a few years ago, Kathy. Plain white Corelle and I never looked back. In and out of the dishwasher with ease.

  15. Jo in Wyoming

    What an interesting hobby, and fun for all of us. I too, noticed the hooves, most odd. The globe and canoe are unusual too.
    Do you have a favorite?

  16. Christine Marie Beach

    Enjoyed all of your pincushions. Such a wide variety. Always enjoy
    how your cats help with pictures. Thanks so much.

  17. Susan Boyd in VA

    What a vast collection! The hand one gives me the “heebeegeebees”. Don’t think I could stick a pin in that!
    Thanks for taking the time to show us all of these. Are you going to give us a lesson on the ones you made in the shop?

  18. Teresa

    Oh my gawd! I love the cow hoof, have never, ever, seen one of those. Such a wonderful variety and they’re all adorable, Mary. Such fun items to collect.

  19. Susan in Ohio

    Thank you for the pincushion show, my granddaughter
    Collects turtles and I was surprised to see a turtle

  20. Nancy

    I saw a small log cabin chicken there. I made about 40 of those for our sewing group for Christmas several years ago. You have so many that I really like.
    Nice job!

  21. Sue in Oregon

    I am blown away by how many you have. Each so unique and mostly handmade. Wonderful collection. I love the little sewing box at the bottom, too. Thanks for showing us.

  22. Cheryl

    Thanks for the great display of your pin cushions! Wonderful memories of your travels with Connie.

  23. Kate in Germany

    I love your pin cushions. I have trouble with my much smaller collection because my cats like them, too. I have had several siamese cats over the years that couldn’t resist pulling out the pins. It was amazing how fast they could clear a cushion.

  24. Beverly in Texas

    Fabulous! The little Humpty Dumpty caught my eye !
    And the flag as well. I have 2 of the Country Threads pin cushions bought at the Houston Quilt show at least 16 years ago. Love both of them! You need to will your collection to the Smithstoniam. So eclectic 😊

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Beverly in Texas – the Smithsonian? You really think they’d be interested? I’d love to do that!!!

      1. Linda from Estherville

        How about the Iowa Quilt Museum or the one in Lincoln Nebraska?

        By the way, I have the crocheted hat, a satin slipper, and a few other worn things. I must find them a home in one place. I have few enough, perhaps a display on the small sewing case, my father in law, Maynard gave Mabel one year for Christmas, purchased at John Hanson’s furniture store in Forest City. It has a drawer that slides out and a spool rack that rotates to open. This is what I need to do when we return in the spring.

  25. Betty Klosterman

    I like the pink crocheted cushion next to the canoe. Hobby Lobby had miniature woven picnic baskets that made into neat pincushions we sold at the Quilt Shows. Flat rocks in the bottom gave them a nice weight. In Clarion a lady named Mrs. Donahue lived neighbors to Mom and Dad. At the auction after her death, Mom came home with her little sewing cabinet. It sets on the floor, has 3 drawers and the top flips up and still has some of the original sewing stuff. I use it beside my bed. The front is even curved! I’d guess it might be near 100 years old? And I’m still using a small tomato pincushion and a metal seam gauge I had in 7th grade home ec and still has the white tape with my name.
    It’s a good day to stay inside. Wind and 13 below temp for tonight. Got to put the garbage out and back to the house for me. We will survive. Betty in Rapid City

    1. Marsha from Kansas

      Betty, I still use my tomato pin cushion from 7th to 11th grade Home Ec classes along with my tape measure, tracing wheel, and hem guide ruler with the red slide on it. I couldn’t wait for Home Ec class. Home Ec and band were my two favorite classes. I have made my own magnetic pin cushion using three magnets glued to the bottom of a purple saucer I never use since I don’t drink coffee. I can slide the head of the pin up the side of the saucer. I use it at the sewing machine and my tomato pin cushion for my hand sewing. Fun memories!

  26. Marian Stever

    Mary, I love them all! What a treat on a very snowy, windy day on 2-22-22! George Washington’s birthday.
    My grandmother gave me the crocheted heart, beribboned in white, for my wedding 63 years ago. It is still in pristine condition. Your Pam approves of all the pin cushions. A cute kitty!

    Thank you again for the show!

  27. Donna Sproston

    Wow! That is an amazing collection. I love the pattern you once posted of a pin cushion you sold to finance your grand piano. I need to dig that one out and make some more. A neighbor collected china butter pat dishes. She said they were easier than collecting full sets of the patterns.

  28. Jane from St Marys

    That hoof pin cushion sure caught my eye! Who would have ever thought to use those & attach a pin cushion to it!!

  29. Jane Dumler

    Oh my you have a wonderful collection. Have you checked them for old needles? I check mine that I use and am always amazed at the number of need,es I find that have slipped into the interior. Thanks for posting them on this special day.

  30. Meredith in Cincinnati

    What a great and eclectic collection! A great Humpty Dumpty and so many others. Do you have a favorite? Praying for Ukraine today

  31. Jody R

    Is that a hoof in photo #5??! If so that’s definitely a make do person. You have a very fun collection. I wish I’d saved my Grandmothers pincushion. I do have my Great Grandmother ‘s thimble. PS – from Central Ohio and long time reader of your blog.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jody R – yes, there are two hooves pictured – made at the turn of the century and quite expensive today.

  32. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    Thank you, Mary for taking the time to show your collection. There are so many and so different. Who would have thought to make a pin cushion out of a canoe? I love the variety and the little sewing box. Wonderful😺

  33. Carolyn Boutilier

    Thank you for sharing all your pincushions. I too, collect pincushions but not as many as you have in your collection. I made a half china doll and knitted her a beaded skirt. Wish I could figure how to put my pictures on line. so could show you my collection. I put my red tomato pincushions in a large canning jar. I also have a jar with all red buttons that I have collected from thrift stores.
    Showers today and 55 degrees. Carolyn b Shenandoah Valley Va

    1. Carla

      Carolyn B, if you use a smart phone is not too hard to take a picture using your phone’s camera, then attach it to an email you send to Mary. It took me a hot minute, but I eventually figured it all out. Good luck!

  34. Karen in Ohio

    This is the best collections of pin cushions! I doubt if a museum has this many and such great variety. How many years have you been collecting them? Are any family pin cushions? I have 3 from my grandmother. One is a rocking chair and has a drawer that works under the seat. I played with them as a child and she made sure I would inherit them as well as her buttons.

    Thanks for doing this display.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Karen in Ohio – Do you remember our book Quilts From Aunt Amy? I have Aunt Amy’s pincushion. My mothers HATED sewing!

  35. Launa

    I remember when you tidied your pincushions’ case last time. Loved seeing so many unique ones.
    I bought my youngest son a common red one when he was taking Bachelor Survival in junior high school. He had to sew an apron for cooking! I have his pincushion! He’s been retired quite a few years!
    Happy 02-22-2022!

  36. Sheila in WI

    Oh my goodness!!! Your pin cushion collection is out of this world. Thanks for taking time to share it with us.

  37. Rosalie

    Love the turtle in #1 and the hoof in #5 is the most unusual I’ve ever seen- there has to be a story in that one!

  38. Ellie

    Love seeing this great collection! The variety and creativity are amazing! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  39. Katherine Gourley

    I love your pinkeep collection, Mary. My favorites are Humpty Dumpty, the teapot and the jockey’s cap. I collect pin cushions too. I have a subcollection of tomato pincushions in different fabrics and colors. I have a Boyd’s Bear that is holding one in her arms. I love the half-dolls, but never purchased one in great condition and most are way up there in $$$ now. I do collect the little porcelain, china and ceramic doll tops and display them among other pincushions. Most are made in Germany or Japan around WWII.

    Thanks for sharing.

  40. Susie Lenz

    Your collection is wonderful! We are kindred spirits-I have many of the same pincushions. I have seen the hooves made into pincushions but never bought one.Do you think they are deer or cattle ? People used everything around them! Take care.🌻

  41. Sandy in Eastern Washington

    The collection as a whole is amazing. I am sure each pincushion was well loved to have survived and not been thrown away, as so much is today. Each was made with a thoughtful and artful purpose.

    For me, the sewing box was the star today. It reminds me of how my dad made things with materials on hand and a lot of ingenuity. A simple request and a quick sketch was all he needed to make it happen.

    Can’t wait to see what you show us next. Trying hard to keep warm here in what we hope is winter’s last blast.

  42. Dorothy

    That was fun!Thanks for sharing your collection with us. I agree the animal hooves are the most unusual and I love your Kitty and her curiosity but not tempted to play with any of those pincushions.

  43. Mary Lou

    Thank You so much for sharing all the unique and lovely pin cushions – makes you think of those
    your Grandmother or Aunt or other relatives may have had… love them all so creative in all
    the different designs… Have a Blessed Day.

  44. Agatha B.

    Thank you so much for sharing you have some truly unique ones. I have some weird ones also but nothing like yours. Love when you show us your collections very interesting. Stay warm and healthy.

  45. Carla

    How fun! You are indeed a one woman sewing museum! The Smithsonian has such a varied collection, ya never knew till ya ask. The heart in picture 9 is like the two I have. So now I know they are pincushions not sachets. I agree with Susan, that hand one is kinda creepy…..I loved that little cabinet. I picture a hubby making it for his dear wife. I’m eagerly waiting to receive a basket full of miscellaneous vintage sewing stuff from a person who was selling it on fb marketplace. Pinking shears, wooden thread spools, buttons galore, so many random things. And on top of that I finally found the Davis sewing machine I’ve been looking for. Just the head, but only $30! I pick it up tomorrow. I’ll worry about a treadle later. (Maybe it will fit in one of my Singer tables?) Now I really have to stop looking at things that will tempt me lol. Blessings

  46. Helen Jane (TX)

    Thank you Mary for showing your pincushion collection. Thank you for “taking time” to do so. I like the sewing cabinet, display case and the 2 doors that are maybe hinged together. Your “home” is interesting! I have my great grand- mothers thimble. The thimble went thru a house fire. I never knew Grandmother Jessie. I also have her eye glasses that are framed. I’m glad someone sifted thru ashes to find her thimble. I enjoy collections!

  47. Dianna in Wisconsin

    What fun! Thanks for taking the time to display them so nicely. Great to see each one closely.
    Love the sewing box too.
    You are an amazing woman 🙂.

  48. Charlotte Barnard

    Mary, this collection is magnificent! Someday you should leave it to a museum. Maybe American Folk Art or I think there is a quilting museum in Lowell Massachusetts.
    P.S. I love the kitty in the photos, and kitty helps with understanding the scale.

    1. Diane and the gang on Central Ohio

      Yes. The quilting museum in Lowell, MA is really neat. That would be a neat place for them.

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Charlotte – I would love to leave this collection to a museum but how would I go about it – would they really want them? It would be a dream to leave them all to the American Folk Art Museum. Connie and I visited it in 1991 and my comment when we left was, “I have more folk art in my home than I saw on display here!” I know they can’t have it all out at once but there was not much to look at. We were disappointed.

  49. Bonnie McKee

    Thank you for sharing your delightful pincushion collection. I especially like the chicken ones, and the red and white gingham dog is very sweet. Was there a calico cat? The cow hoof was the most unusual. I’d love to know the story behind that one!
    Bonnie, in Oregon

  50. Jane

    Wonderful displays and what a collection! Thank you for sharing. . . I might start making some! Always LOVED pincushions. The hoof one was something else to see. Any history?

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jane – I don’t have any history on these two particular hooves but I know this type of pincushion was made during the turn of the century. I guess I’ll look online.

  51. Kim from TN

    Love, love, love them all. What a wonderful collection of pin cushions. The little canoe and those hooves, crazy wonderful to see. I truly loved the cute bonnets and all the tatting around the edges was just precious. Think of all the hands that used them over the years, mending and stitching with love. The homemade sewing box would be real treasure. Thank you so much for doing the work to share with all of us. Did I tell you I just loved, loved, loved seeing them all.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Kim from TN – haha! Yes, you did tell me how much you enjoyed it. I knew you readers would love seeing them all – only in a group
      Ike this would all those old pincushions be so appreciated. Can you imagine showing your friends and family who have no interest in sewing? I could only share them with all of you.

  52. Anonymous

    That was wonderful…some of yours brought back memories of my mother’s and grandmother’s pincushions. I love the ones made from shells. What a novelty!

    Bobby in Maryland

  53. Judy Andersen, Omaha NE

    Wonderful collection. I love miniatures so the little swan in #4 was one of my favorites. Also the flat cushion with the little chick or duck crocheted on it. (7)
    And I noticed the tatted one down front. (4 or 5) I have a crocheted pink heart pincushion that has a chicken wishbone crocheted above the heart. And a thimble fits in a crocheted cup hanging inside the wishbone. Did any of your crocheted hearts have a wishbone above? I noticed they had a crocheted handle above and wondered if perhaps they had a wishbone once upon a time. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful variety of pincushions! So enjoyable.
    Judy A.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Judy, Omaha – only one has that thimble cup now but maybe at some time others did, too. Can you imagine crocheting around a wishbone?????

  54. Debbie Miller

    Loved the pincushion show and share because I too love and collect pincushions! I made a replica of one you showed before of a red cross on green wool background-love it! I like unusual but not so sure I would want a cow hoof pincushion.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Debbie Miller – see, I knew I’d forget some – my Red Cross pincushion is here in the kitchen on a shelf

  55. Debbie Miller

    I didn’t finish my thought. I also collect bowls but have discovered that all the big beautiful bowls I collected I am no longer able to pick some of them up empty-let alone with anything in them! My daughter took around a dozen home with her recently with a warning they had better not go into a yard sale!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Debbie Miller – I, too, have loved old bowls and do have quite a few – up high on a shelf collecting dust! I just hate that none of my family will want them.

  56. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    Thanks, Mary, for displaying your pin cushions for us. It was great. I love how that cat was participating in the photo shoot! 😂 I could not pick a favorite, as I liked so many. I have never seen a yellow tomato pin cushion. 🥰

  57. Susan K in Texas

    What a wonderful collection! So much fun to see them out and displayed for us. I really like the cabinet you keep them in and the sewing box is special too! Your kitty supervisor just makes me smile. A good post for 2/22/22. My son sent a picture of his watch tonight – he has it set on military time. So it was 2/22/22 at 22:22:22pm

  58. Pattie Weber in PA

    Wow! So many unique ones. The hoof was rather bizarre. I especially liked the globes. That was a lot of work. Thanks for sharing.

  59. Joanne

    Love your collection! So many unique pin cushions. I still have Country Threads pin cushion book.

  60. Judy

    What an interesting post! I don’t bring much home from the antique stores but I love to browse. It is interesting to find items like we played with as kids in the sandbox that were “junk” that have price tags on them in the store. I loved reading all the comments today. Several mentioned the hoof pin cushions. I googled them to see what I would find. I ran across this about the tomato pin cushions that I thought was interesting. “A custom evolved whereby ripe tomatoes were placed on a mantel to ensure future prosperity. As real tomatoes were not always available, people created fabric tomatoes stuffed with sand or sawdust. Eventually, the stuffed, decorative tomatoes were used as pin cushions.” (From

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Judy – what an interesting fact about tomato pincushions! I had no idea. Thank you!

  61. Janet S

    What a great blog today. Does anyone know what you would put in a pin cushion to keep the pins and needles from rusting. On my tomato pin cushion there is a small strawberry attached with something in there that’s used to remove rust and sharpen needles and pins. Just wondering.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Janet S – sand or sawdust will keep pins and needles from rusting. The little strawberry is emery sand which keeps needles sharp. Many of my old tomatoes are filled with sawdust. I’ve also read that steel wool can be used.

  62. Maria L Zook

    I loved seeing your collection. So much creativity is seen in a collection like this.. Your blog is something I look forward to reading.

  63. B. J. Berlo

    Love the idea of leaving your pin cushions to a museum! Start investigating that possibility! You have a marvelous collection.

  64. Kathy Roloff

    What a fantastic collection! I have seen the full case before, but not pictured individually. Thanks for the putsy task. My mother made a pin cushion when she was very little. My sister got it before I could ask. Regrets!

  65. Anonymous

    Your pincushion collection is amazing Mary.
    I have a fairly large collection of buttons that I display in canning jars on my window sills. Most of them came from my grandmother. Fun post!

  66. Charlotte Shira

    WOW! What an amazing pincushion collection you have! They definitely need to go to a museum. I have read all the comments and the one about the cats taking pins out of her pincushion brought back a memory. When I was growing up, we had a parakeet (my mom taught her to talk) that we would let out of the cage a lot. She would take pins out of the pincushion and walk to the edge of the dresser and drop them and then cock her head to listen to them hit the floor. She was a fun bird.

  67. Polly Perkins

    I still have and use my wool pincushion we made at one of the camps I attended. It is one of my favorites.

  68. Rhoda

    Thank you Mary
    I envy you the display case and sewing box
    I have a mini collection
    We just had small hail and now the sun is out but only 52 in Las Vegas and with low humidity that is COLD.

  69. Bobbie Woodruff

    Oh, Mary they are wonderful! Just to see everyone’s different takes on what they made. Wouldn’t you love to know who made each one? They really could go into a museum of yesterday things. I use to have a few thing then our home burned in 2008 and I didn’t replace many antiques. My singer pedal machine I miss. The old wind up phonograph with my records I miss. My boys would have sold them so I just kelp the money and bought fabric Lol! I would really love to see your home and have a tour of your lovely’s. I live in Washington state so probably won’t but if I ever do get in your area, I’ll be bold and stop and ask. I sure wish I had been sewing when you had your shop. I would have loved to seen it. Keep showing us your wonderful things, I know I enjoy them.

  70. Lillian

    How long have you been collecting pincushions? The ones you have are usual! I always enjoy your post.

  71. Elvia Purnell

    There is the Shelburne Museum in Vermont that might take the pin cushions. They have a collection of antique quilts.

  72. Diane Bauer

    I am late to the game here as I’m looking at your post a few days after it went up.
    Such an interesting collection!! I, too, noticed the hooves. My favorite was, of course, the one that resembles a folded flag. I remember when you brought down your collection of sewing caddies and showed them on the blog. I love looking at old sewing notions and such. They remind me of the Grandma who taught me to sew!!

  73. Jackie in NY

    Hi Mary! Love all the pincushions! We’ll, except the one that’s on a hoof! That one kind of creeps me out!

  74. Linda in PA

    What a wonderful collection of pincushions! I would love to learn how to make the wool pincushions. Many years ago I purchased a wristband pin holder at a quilt shop in Illinois. The band is leather and the top part that holds the pins is wool. The pins kept in it glide smoothly in fabric.

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