Tu-Na Quilts: The First Reveal—What’s Inside the Stocking?

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It measures 7.5″ wide by 9″ long with an opening of 4.5″ so there’s just enough room to stuff in some quilting goodies.

I posted my tutorial on how to make this cute, easy, Mini Quilted Christmas Stocking on the July 17th 12 Days of Christmas in July post found here on my blog. I included a free pdf pattern for it so you should be able to download and print it to make some for those on your Christmas list or as favors for a Christmas party. I filled this one with some great little goodies that every sewist/quilter needs and would like to receive.

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The first surprise I’ll reveal from it is…….

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This pail pincushion measures 2.25″ tall and has a cute little handle to carry it from one project to another.


Making Your Own Cute Container Pincushion

Materials Needed:

  • small container of your choice
  • scrap of fabric large enough to cut a circle 2 1/2 times the diameter of the top of the container
  • hand quilting thread
  • crushed walnut shells
  • poly fiber fil or stuffing
  • hot glue
  • small block of wood

First: A Little Talk About Some of the Materials


I found this pail in a package of 6 at a thrift shop (no surprise there). But I also found other small containers that could be just as cute when turned into pincushions. Other stores to look for containers include dollar stores, hobby and craft stores, and wedding supply places.


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You can get an idea of the size of these containers from those white pails in the back that are 2 and 1/2″ tall and a bit over 2″ in diameter. I think any of these would make a great pincushion container. I would have made a pincushion with that cute little teacup on the left but I couldn’t find where I had stored it when I needed it. You’ll be seeing some more of these container pincushions pop up on my blog from time to time.


Hand quilting thread:

I’ve found when I gather things by hand that this thread is the strongest and won’t break when I pull on it. You can use other thread but be careful when pulling them tight or you will be sewing around that circle again and you will want to make sure it is doubled or more.

Crushed Walnut Shells:

Crushed walnut shells are used in filling pincushions because they help to sharpen the needles and pins. It can be found in a pet store or the pet department of a discount store and is often sold as reptile bedding. Bonus, it’s rather inexpensive and lasts a long time. So you really don’t need to buy the biggest bag unless you make lots and lots of pincushions.

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Crushed walnut shells get everywhere so I recommend laying something on your work surface that you can remove and shake.


To make it easier to fill that pincushion, one could use a paper funnel or other funnel. I made myself a Crushed Walnut Shell Dispensing Bottle.

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To make your own Crushed Walnut Shell Dispensing Bottle, just remove the twist cap off a mustard container. Cut off the tip of the bottle to make the hole larger and then replace the twist cap. To fill the bottle just twist or snap off the cover and fill.


Block of wood

This piece of wood or bead helps to support the pincushion ensuring that it will be sitting pretty above the top of the container just where you want it. You will need to decide what size you will need based on your container and cushion size. If you don’t have scraps of wood just lying around your house, look for another object that you could use: wood bead, bottle or jar cap, or small cardboard box, etc.  

Now let’s get to making this little pail pincushion.


Part 1: Making the cushion

Measure the diameter of your container.

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This little pail measures 2 1/8″ in diameter. Taking that times 2.5 yields approx. 5.3″.


Using a pen or pencil, trace a circle that measures about 2 1/2 times the diameter of your container.

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Since I needed a 5.3″ circle, this plate was 5.5″ and worked fine to trace around.


Using a double strand of hand quilting thread, stitch 1/2″ from the edge on the RIGHT side of the fabric circle. Leave at least an 8″ tail at the start. DO NOT KNOT at either end.

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Sewing around the circle on the right side of the fabric will make it easier to pull those threads to gather them. Once you’ve sewn all around the edge, pull on all four threads together to form a bowl shape. You don’t even have to remove your needle from the one end if you are careful. Continue pulling the thread ends until the opening is almost closed.

Fill the little bowl shape with crushed walnut shells, tapping the cushion on the counter or jiggling it in your hand several times to pack it in and to allow the crushed walnut shells to settle into place.

Once you have it almost full, add more. This stuff really settles. Then stuff poly fiber fil into the opening and pack it in tight. I used my purple thang to push it down. and under the stitching. I’ve got a funny story to tell about that purple thang but I’ll save it for tomorrow. And yes, it has to do with Christmas, too.

Pull on all the thread ends to tightly gather into a ball. Tie a knot with the threads. Having a helper hold his finger on the thread as you are tying really helps. Using a needle take the loose thread ends and sew the opening tightly shut.

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Part 2: Putting it together

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For this part you will need, the container, your fabric ball  you just completed, a block of wood the size you want, and a hot glue gun with glue.


Put a dab of hot glue in the inside bottom of your container and add the block of wood or bead. My block of wood was about 1.25″ tall.

Add hot glue on top of the block of wood and around the inside edge of the container. You’ll need to work fast as hot glue doesn’t stay tacky for very long.

Press the cushion into the container and hold for a few seconds.

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So pretty and useful!

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You could add trim along the top edge if you want. I thought about adding some ric rac but decided not for this one.



Hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. July 14, 2017 – July 25, 2017. Gather Christmas gift giving ideas and other holiday inspiration from many bloggers.


The 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop continues. Here’s what’s going on today:

 Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Do You Hear What I Hear? Day Six of the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop

Confessions of a Fabric Addict  Sarah’s got us sewing the next step on our quilt along.


It’s not too late to start your Santa’s Trip Around the World Quilt. Check out Sarah’s blog above for directions.


 The Colorful Fabriholic Jan found the perfect solution for those of us with limited space but still having a desire to put up a Christmas tree. Making one of these is definitely on my list to do.

Smiles From Kate  Kate’s drawn some cute holiday pillow covers that can stay around longer than just Christmas. Even if the weather warms and you haven’t put them away, they won’t be melting anything except maybe your heart.

Remember to leave comments on each of their 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop posts so you can qualify to win some fabric giveaways of Tula Pink’s new holiday line, Holiday Homies, generously donated by Free Spirit Fabrics!!! You have through July 26th to leave comments.


Coming soon on Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats:

  • Friday, July 21st, 2017Tu-Na Quilts: The Second Stocking Stuffer Reveal—You Mean There’s More?
  • Sunday, July 23rd, 2017Tu-Na Quilts: The Third Stocking Stuffer Reveal—How Much Can It Hold?
  • Tuesday, July 25th, 2017Tu-Na Quilts: The Fourth and Final Stocking Stuffers Reveal—Does The Fun Have to End?

What I Leaned Today:

  1. DVRs are very helpful, especially the rewind button. 
  2. This summer seems to be going exceptionally fast.
  3. Once a mom, always a mom. Our “baby” and our first born (and his wife) headed out for a trip in the Boundary Waters. I hope they have fun but I will still worry.

Question: What is your favorite holiday beverage to make, serve, or drink? Since we make our own apple cider in the fall, we usually thaw out several gallons and serve it chilled or heated with cinnamon sticks and slices of oranges and serve it hot.

Thanks for stopping by and do come again.

Karen, Tu-Na Quilts

Linking to:

33 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts: The First Reveal—What’s Inside the Stocking?

  1. Jean McKinstry

    This is really cute, and innovative ( I just knew it would be) and I like it so much. I have seen those tiny pails over here/ down here/ somewhere, and will give it a go. After all, I do have a hot glue gun… somewhere!!! Yes, day 6 already.


  2. smilesfromkate

    I paid, let’s say a lot of money for a similar one. It is beautiful with a handmade wooden base and a lovely tweed top, but I could have made one like yours at a fraction of the price, even buying the tweed. I have to have a go at these, I’m always looking for small handmade Christmas present idea’s and this is one of the best I’ve come across. Thank you so much for the tutorial.


  3. Nanc

    Recently found your blog and have enjoyed each day! Lizard Litter is great but messy and I love your mustard bottle idea! Pure Genius!


  4. Kathleen McCormick

    What a fun project, Karen! I’ll be at Pelican Lake this weekend…a quick respite from packing/moving. Intrigued by what is next in the stocking!


  5. rl2b2017

    Good Morning,
    What a fun stocking stuffer. It is adorable, and you stepped us through everything so even this person could make one. Hmm, now I’ll have to keep my eyes open for small containers. I can think of a few friends who would like one of these. ~smile~ Roseanne (Looking forward to Friday to see what’s next!)


  6. spierssusan

    The little pails are so cute! I’ve never seen them before-I’ll have to look! A little Christmas stencil painted on the pail would be a cute add too! I really don’t have a favorite beverage-warm apple cider sounds really good, but here in the hot south, its usually iced tea!Thank you for sharing, Susan


  7. Pat T.

    Oh, this is cute!
    Great directions, and tips! (mustard bottle, wood block?!)
    Thank you!… Looking forward to seeing what else is in that stocking!
    Pat T.


  8. piecefulwendy

    I use walnut shells as well; however, the first time I purchased them at the pet store, the clerk told me the only walnut shells they had was the kitty litter type. I don’t suggest that; it has a scent added to it (not a very nice scent, either). Lesson learned. Now I know what to ask for! I have a Holiday Cranberry Punch that I make. It adds a nice sparkle to the table setting and it’s delicious!


  9. Kathy h

    I have always loved these little container pincushions and have thought about making a few. ThNks for the easy to follow directions. So cute.


  10. Lisa Marie

    Like several others I am totally amazed by that mustard bottle idea — why didn’t I think of that? Another option for strong thread is upholstery thread. Doesn’t come in a lot of colors, but it is very sturdy. My husband and son always having me repairing some duffel bag or something so I keep it on hand. I’m off to search for tiny containers, thanks for the inspiration!


  11. inquiringquilter

    Cute pin cushion! What I liked best though was your idea for filling the pin cushion. I mean, why didn’t I think of that? Brilliant! Thanks for linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss.


  12. dezertsuz

    Great pincushion! I love your tip about the mustard container. I think I have two squeeze bottles around here that would work. What a labor saver! Thank you.


  13. nancyangerer

    I like to make hot mulled cider. I am not sure that is how it is spelled. But the spices make the hot drink so good.


  14. Patty

    First pin cushion pattern I have found which I am in love with – thank you! For the holidays, we go with traditional hot chocolate with loads of whipped cream. Always fun with the kids!


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