Corded Pin Ball

Every so often, I come across one of these ball shaped pin cushions I have come to call Corded Pin Balls. I find them fun and playful between the layers of colors and intertwining of threads.

Years ago, I made a few of these corded pin balls weaving the threads over a sewn canvas ball. This was based on original directions from An American Girls Book (below.) I found the process to be imperfect, as the ball wasn’t as firm as I wanted.

For many weeks now, I’ve been toying with another approach, working right over a tightly wound ball of wool.

This weekend, having caught the funky virus going around school, I am not really up to the tiny stitches for another [on a deadline] project, but, of course, I can’t manage actually resting. Instead, I found myself giving this method a try. I am glad I did because I find it has a very nice rhythm to it.

The steps:

Wind a tight ball of wool about the size of a small clementine. Roll it firmly so the end doesn’t come loose. Using a long sharp, yet strong needle, run crochet cotton through the center creating even partitions. (This is the one challenging part. You may find pliers are needed to pull the needle through the center.) With wool, silk, or cotton*, start at one end weaving around the crochet cotton as you would a Gods-eye as a child. Be sure to keep the threads snug up on the cord, but not so tight as to pull them. Work about a third of the way down. Then repeat on the other side. Do your best to even up the sides s along the cords so the center is even all the way around. Finish weaving the center.

*There isn’t a large enough pool of examples to determine what was the most common fiber for the color threads at different points in time. So far, from the couple dozen I’ve seen, wool, silk, and cotton were used during what may be a 100 year span from the early 19th century through the early 20th century.

A Corded Pincushion

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)

Example at the Manchester Art Galleries.

Published in: on September 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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