Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 8 – Pin Cushion

Welcome to the eighth block reveal for the Sew Let’s QAL

This QAL is brought to you by Partners in Design: Where Friends and Fabric Meet.

Presenting: Pin Cushion

Usually, the tomato pincushion is red but I made an heirloom variety.


“What’s red and ripe and bursting at the seams with pins?”*

This delightful pattern was created by Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting. You can download it free on her blog here from now until September 24th, 2019. After then, the patterns in this QAL may not be available anymore or may be available for a small fee. Don’t delay, download them today.

* A tomato pincushion, of course, (https://www.marthastewart.com/1082584/mystery-tomato-pincushion) unless you are creative and make an Heirloom tomato pincushion. Heirloom tomatoes (or Heritage in the UK) can be red, yellow, purple/red, brownish, orange, and green colors.

Tips and Tricks to Constructing this Block

You will find this applique block to be fun and easy but here’s a few tips to help you on your way.

  1. Make it your own! I had fun with this block. If you compare my finished block to the pattern you’ll discover that I had fun with embellishments. Can you find all the things I did to make this block mine?

    Instead of one solid background piece, I made my background with two pieces. This added interest but more importantly it broke up that busy cactus background.

    I used buttons instead of appliqueing the small circles for pin heads. I quickly sewed on the buttons for photographing only. They will be removed before I quilt it so I don’t damage any needles. Then I’ll sew them back on again.

    Did you see the strawberry that I added?

    I cut a 1 1/4″ x 2″ tear drop shape for the berry portion and drew the calyx.

  2. To reduce stiffness in this block, cut out the center of the applique paper. Then after you have appliqued on the first layer, cut out the back of the piece. I do this for each piece unless it is small.

    Trace on the grid side of the fusible. I leave paper on the outside of the line and leave about 1/4″-1/2″ inside the line.

    Then carefully cut out the back portion. I do this for each layer and for each piece unless they are small.

  3.  Protect your iron!! Use a pressing cloth or teflon sheet when using a fusible applique paper.

    I have two teflon pressing sheets: one for under applique pieces if they aren’t completely covered with fabric and one for the top.

  4. Check your test box! It should be exactly 1″ square. If it’s not, your pin cushion will not be the right size. After you download the pattern, save it to your computer. When you are ready to print, it should open with a program such as Adobe Acrobat Reader. Then when you print, make sure it says print to actual size or 100%.
  5. Follow  your heart. Making choices for embellishments or fabric selections, can be a personal decision. If you ask the opinion of 5 people, you probably will get 5 different views.  Sometimes, you will get opinions even when you don’t ask for them! I first looked for the smallest buttons I had.

    After consulting the pattern, I decided that larger ones were needed.

    My second thought was to look for flower buttons.

    I didn’t have many.

    Maybe some vintage buttons??

    Or blue buttons?

    Or a combination of teal and vintage buttons? 

The choices are endless. 

6. Catch mistakes early. Check the back of the embroidery hoop from time to time.

I stitched the front to the back! But it’s fixable and only a few stitches needed to be removed.

And then I did it again! Some lessons seem to need to be repeated before I learn them.

See These Hosts for More Construction Tips

Look for bi-weekly inspiration from these bloggers.

Sandy @ SandyStar Designs

Abbie @ Sparkle On!

Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

In addition to those listed above, look for inspiration from these bloggers during:

Segment 2: May 21st to July 16th

Jennifer Fulton @ The Inquiring Quilter

Quilt Hosts

Look for bi-weekly inspiration from these bloggers as they turn their blocks into a quilt.

Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting

Sherry @ Powered by Quilting — The designer of this block.

April @ JANDA Bend Quilts

Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts

Join this QAL

You can join in anytime. Every other Tuesday, a new block will be released until all 13 blocks have been released. You can find the full schedule on my post here. This QAL is divided into three segments. Segment one consisted of 5 blocks. Segments two and three will each have four blocks.

Share a picture of your block on our Facebook page, or on Instagram with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL. We want to see them. At the end of each segment, post a picture containing all the blocks in that segment. A prize will be awarded at the end of each segment. At the end of all the segments, a grand prize will be selected from among the pictures that contain a finished quilt top or finished projects containing all of the blocks from this QAL (one picture containing all of the 13 blocks finished into either a quilt top or several projects).

Segment 1: March 12th to May 21st

Segment 2: May 21st to July 15th

Block patterns will be free from the designers and available on their blogs until the date of the Grand Prize announcement September 24th, 2019.

Enter to Win

Entering to win the prizes below is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Everyone (You must be 18 to be able to enter to win prizes) gets to participate because International entries are welcome! You do NOT need to have a blog to enter.
  2. Make all of the blocks in this segment provided to you free of charge for this event. Use your own fabrics and embellish them as you like. If entering the giveaway, the blocks should definitely be recognizable as made from these free patterns.  Take one picture with all of them included.
  3. Post one picture of all of your blocks by 11:59 PM EST, July 15th 2019 either on the Facebook page, or on Instagram with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL, or on the hosts blog Linky party at the end of each segment.  You are welcome to post a picture on each of the sources but it will only count as one entry.

Segment 2: Prizes and Sponsors


A free PDF pattern of your choice from each of these Partners in Design: Powdered by Quilting (up to $10) and The Inquiring Quilter


You choose what you want to make: A quilt or several smaller projects. The sewing machine, revealed in segment one, is the only block that will be large. The rest will be 12.5″ unfinished. We have several hosts who will offer suggestions as to what you can do with your blocks if you don’t want to make a quilt.

Not sure what to do? Just start making the blocks and decide along the way. A grand prize will be offered for a completed (but it doesn’t have to be quilted) quilt top or several projects that use all of the 13 blocks.

You choose what you want to make: A quilt or several smaller projects. The sewing machine, revealed in segment one, is the only block that will be large. The rest will be 12.5″ unfinished. We have several hosts who will offer suggestions as to what you can do with your blocks if you don’t want to make a quilt.

Not sure what to do? Just start making the blocks and decide along the way. A grand prize will be offered for a completed (but it doesn’t have to be quilted) quilt top or several projects that use all of the 13 blocks.

I’ll be making several projects for my sewing room. I completed a mini quilt using one of the blocks from the first segment. You can read about it here. The remaining blocks from the first segment as well as a couple from the third segment will be used for a sewing machine cover. So I really can’t show  you this project until those blocks have been revealed. Plus it gives me some extra time to complete it.

You will notice that my fabric has changed for this segment. I have other plans for the blocks from this second segment.

Don’t Miss Out on My Previous Sew Let’s QAL Posts

Segment 1: 

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL – Introduction

Tu-Na Quilts: On Pins and Needles – A look at my fabric selection. It varies with each segment of the QAL.

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 1— Sewing Machine

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 2 — Quilt Along Mug Block

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 3 — Ruler

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 4 — Spinning Spools and Thread Tales

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 5 — Quilt Shop

Tu-Na Quilts: Segment One Wrap-Up and Project Idea


Segment 2:

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 6 — Binding Clips

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 7 — It’s a Pressing Issue — My pattern

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 8 — Pin Cushion

Surprise! I used a different cactus fabric with this block. It will be used for a different project.

What I Learned Today:

  1. My pin cushions are rather messy.

    This is not the only pincushion I have. But this is one of my favorites because my Mama gave it to me.

  2. Decision making is not one of my strengths. I agonized over the buttons for several days and even asked my 4 year old grandson which ones I should use. His suggestion was to use strawberry buttons which gave me the idea to add the strawberry pincushion.
  3. English is very confusing. Pincushion can be written either pincushion or pin cushion and both ways are correct. 
  4. My memory isn’t so bad after all; I remembered that the top green leaf part of the strawberry was called the calyx. (But I still had to look it up to make sure.)
  5. The tomato pincushion really started in the Victorian era when families would set tomatoes around as good luck symbols to ensure prosperity or to keep evil spirits away. When tomatoes weren’t available or were out of season, people made tomatoes out of red fabric and filled them with sawdust. Some quilter must have discovered these fake tomatoes came in handy to stick pins into. Now the tomato pincushion represents sewing and is referred to as a sewing icon.
  6. Although some people think the little red thing attached to the tomato pincushion is a chili pepper, I think of it as a strawberry; it is filled with emery and can be used to sharpen your pins (poke your pin into it several times).
  7. I miss seeing the cactus blooms so here’s a few pictures from last month.

    Can you see the hummingbird? I was amazed I caught him on the picture as he was flitting about very fast.

  8. I am still learning WordPress. I haven’t figured out why some pictures do not align in the center of my post when I tell them to go there!! I think it has to do with captions or not captions. I shall have to investigate this further.
  9. Tomatoes don’t have to be red to taste good. I do like to eat Heirloom varieties.

We grew these colorful ones in the garden.

I like to make and eat Caprese salad with Heirloom tomatoes.

Question: What’s outside your sewing window? Here’s what I saw when I arrived back in North Dakota.

Lots of very tall grass! 

Linking to:

Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt

Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilt

Thanks for stopping by and do come again.

Karen, Tu-Na Quilts

18 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 8 – Pin Cushion

  1. Pingback: “Sew, Let’s Quilt Along” Block 8 Release! | Sparkle On!

  2. Leslie Schmidt

    I love your embellishments. I have lots of vintage buttons that I could pick through to find some good ones for the pins. And I like the addition of the emery strawberry. (That’s what I always thought they were, too.)
    Thanks for the cactus photos, Karen. What few flowers we have aren’t blooming yet, except for the hanging planter in the front yard. It won’t be too long before the delphinium and the day lilies open up, though. How cool that you were able to capture the hummingbird!
    We live in a twin home that has a walk-out basement, which is where my sewing room is. About all I see is grass and the neighbors’ house. How’s the weather been in North Dakota so far? We’ve gone from 90° to the upper 50s, seemingly within 24 hours. And it has been quite rainy here.
    Have fun this next month.


  3. Robin RK

    Karen, we are of the same mind on this block regarding the little extras. No other host that I’ve read thought of the little things that can give the block/quilt interest. BTW in the US we usually just call regular red tomatoes, tomatoes. One pays extra for an heirloom/heritage brand. I love some of the unusual markings. Farmers who deal with those special seeds must be able to prove what they sell. I adore the taste of them. Most are lower in acid (!!)+ I believe sweeter. One last item, all my life, 60+yr. & my Nana’s she told me years ago that the emery holder has been called a 🍓 strawberry. I think someone young living in the SW US who loves Spicy food made up the pepper idea. 😊


  4. Pingback: Sew Let's Quilt Along Block 8 - SandyStar Designs

  5. Karen Marlow-Goad

    are you glad to be back in ND? cooler than Arizona I bet. I love Heirloom Tomatoes, I think I have planted 6 different varieties of tomatoes this year but have only had a few cherry tomatoes ripen so far


  6. dezertsuz

    I adore your pincushion block! That background is perfect. I like that you added the strawberry, too. I can pour through buttons for hours, and I liked seeing your jar collection of them. I just have one big gallon jar at present. Such a wonderful block and thank you for the cactus pictures. You know I enjoyed the North Dakota picture, too. We used to stay in SD from mid-May to mid-September, and I found it a lovely place. I miss my summers in the small town where we owned property. Do you do your own html in WordPress? I don’t have any problems getting pictures to go where I want, but I do know html and don’t use their visual tab.


  7. Sparkle On! with Abbie

    Wow! I’m so envious of your button collection Karen! You chose the perfect ones for this block.
    Your heirloom tomato Pin Cushion looks so pretty, with the background fabric it looks like it is sitting happily in a garden. 🍅🌵


  8. inquiringquilter

    Great block! Love how you put a pin on the ground. I should have done that! Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.


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  10. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 10 – Buttons | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

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  14. Pingback: Sew Let’s QAL Block 8! – Powered By Quilting

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