Corded Pin Ball

Every now and then, we need a whee little project. This corded pin ball was just that. 

A Corded Pincushionimg_20160915_135422.jpg

Cut out two round pieces of linen. Sew them together, and stuff them with bran, so as to form a round ball. Begin on the very center of each side, and with a large needle lay coarse thread or cotton all across down to the middle of the pincushion where the binding is to come. These threads must spread out from the centre in every direction like rays; the space between them widening of course as it descends. Make them very even, and do not allow them to be loose or slack. Then take a needle threaded with sewing silk or fine crewel, and, beginning at the centre from which all the coarse cotton threads diverge, (they may be called cords) work the pincushion all round by passing the needle twice under each cord, taking the stitches very close, even, and regular, and completely covering with the sewing silk both the cords and the space between them. The stitches, of course, become gradually longer as you go down towards the seam that divides the two sides of the pincushion. Supposing that you begin with pink silk, you may, after a few rounds, take another colour, for instance green, then yellow, then blue, and then brown. In this manner your pincushion will be handsomely striped, and the cords will give it a very pretty appearance, if evenly laid and well0covered. When both sides are finished, cover the seam with a binding of dark-coloured ribbon, and put on a strin and bow of the same. Always begin and fasten off in a place that is afterwards to be worked over. (The American Girl’s Book, 1831)

A close example to the directions is this original corded pin ball on Pinterest from Ebay,  made with three colors of silk thread. The center top appears to have seven or eight rows circling. The following rings look to have three to five rows of threads.The middle is covered with a decorated silk ribbon like many other pin balls.

A play on the ball shape, the only corded pin cushion I have found so far in a museum collection, is this pin cushion from the Hudson River Valley Heritage collection. This colorful ball is made with at least seven silk colors. Instead of being a true ball shape, the equator cinches in with a simple green silk ribbon around it.

This pinned pin ball may or may not be a corded ball. It may just be woven. Disappointingly, the listing was removed from Ruby Lane. So, we can not see other photos. I have a couple addition examples, including reproductions, on a pin board.

My first corded pin ball or pincushion came at the end of the summer when a set of silk threads popped up on one of the FB sales sites. It had two different color blues in two different thicknesses. I chose the thinner thread, alternating between colors over a ball made petals, not circles.

20160826_112808.jpgThe petal construction had the advantage of marking the sections of the ball, helping keep the cords straight and spaced. It would have been good to mark the center of each segment. The wool stuffing felt firm when I was working on it. But, it seems to have softened over the weeks. I like the thin threads. They make a nice smooth line. I like the wider sections of color, but do not like the middle where I alternated colors. Keeping the rows even as I decreased was difficult. I think it would be better to start at each pole and work towards the equator. I suspect, that is the true reason some have ribbons.


Published in: on September 18, 2016 at 8:15 pm  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. These look like a lot of fun to make. I’ll have to see if I can get it to work. Thank you for sharing.

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