Take a regular soda bottle cap (twist-off from a 2 liter bottle) and drill two holes through the bottom (or puncture with a hot nail). Thread the elastic through the holes, with ends coming up through to the inside of the cap. Tie a knot in the ends and clip away excess. Elastic should fit around your finger or thumb comfortably.
Now take a circle of cloth, sew around the outside of the circle in a basting stitch, and gather it up like a yoyo. Stuff firmly with cotton batting (try a triple size cotton ball). Put some glue on the inside of the bottle cap and stuff (and I mean REALLY stuff) the circle and batting into it. Let dry. You can add a small piece of fabric, lace, or rickrack to the rim for decoration.
You will have a pin cushion that fits on your finger or thumb. These are really handy to wear when you're hand piecing, hemming, or pinning your quilt together. They also make cute stocking stuffers, craft market items, or just a little gift from you to you. I hope these instructions are clear. It sounds like a lot of work, but I used to make 15 or 20 at a time. They aren't hard.
Pin Sharpening Pincushion
First, make a 3" block. It can be paper-pieced or whatever you want. You can make one for the front and one for the back if you want. Then, take a square Brillo pad (use the ones with soap) and wrap with a layer or two of batting. Sew up three sides of the blocks and stuff the Brillo pad inside (you may need to bend it a bit). Sew up the forth side and viola! It keeps your pins sharp, rust free and slippery.
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