Kilner Sewing Kit – A Pin Cushion Topped Mason Jar Tutorial

Over the past few years mason jars have seen a resurgence as a staple crafting supply, and there is a good chance that many people will already have a loose-disked canning jar of the type needed to create this wonderful gift idea at home, but if not they are easily obtained for about £1-2 at many homewares, cook-shop and crafting stores as well as supermarkets.
As well as the mason jar, this project requires:

  • A small scrap of fabric, no larger than 20 x 20cm (8 x 8″)
  • A piece of scrap cardboard (an old cereal box will suffice)
  • A needle and thread
  • Some polyester filling for soft toys (or from a £1.50 Ikea pillow)
  • Either some strong craft glue (such as UHU) or use of a hot glue gun

Start by drawing around the inner disk of the lid, onto the sheet of cardboard, and cut this circle out.

Cut a circle from the piece of fabric, roughly 3cm (1¼”) larger, all around. You can either judge this by eye, or draw around something of an appropriate size. In the picture above an espresso saucer is roughly the intended size. The circle does not need to be too precise as the edges will be hidden.

Using a small running stitch and a long length of strong cotton thread doubled, sew around the outside of the fabric circle, about 3mm (⅛”) from the edge. Place the fabric circle right side down and place a generous hand full of polyester toy stuffing on top. Place the cardboard disk on top of the polyester stuffing and draw the ends of the thread. If it feels like there is a bit too much stuffing then it is probably about the right amount! You are looking for a relatively firm dome of stuffing for the pin cushion.
Tie the ends of the thread together to finish the padded dome and cut the thread ends.

Apply a generous amount of strong craft glue or hot glue to the upper side of the mason jar lid (usually the side that carries the jar manufacturer’s name or logo). Place a small disk of glue in the centre of the lid as well as a ring of glue close to the edge. Place the underside of the padded dome onto this, ensuring good alignment, and hold firmly to create a strong bond whilst the glue dries.

Once the lid has had time to fully dry, insert the padded dome through the outer lid ring of the jar. Using a strong pin, tease the fabric through the lid, ensuing as much of the padding and fabric is brought to the top of the jar as possible, to avoid any difficulties in closing the jar.
The pin cushion dome can be glued into place through the outer ring if desired, however this requires very quick working before the glue dries and does run the risk of transferring glue onto the exposed areas of fabric. If the dome was well-stuffed in the early stages the filled dome itself will be plenty sufficient to hold everything perfectly in place.
All that remains is to fill the jar with sewing goodies. Pin cushion jars make a fabulous addition to the home-sewing room or workspace as they are the perfect storage for all the little notions: needles, thread scissors, seam ripper and spare buttons that can find their way all over the house and eventually into the magical land of ‘Lost’ if you don’t put them all in one place. However, they also make absolutely fabulous gifts as they are both pretty and practical, and can inspire the gift of creativity if filled with wonderful things. A jar filled with mixed buttons or a beginner’s sewing kit would make a wonderful present. Here I have filled the jar I have made full of a rainbow of bright embroidery floss to give to a crafty friend in the hope she will whip up a rainbow of stitched projects.

Emberwarm Shawl Apply On The Fly iCord Edging Tutorial & Video

After the release of the Emberwarm Shawl pattern yesterday I started to do a bit of reading about various iCord edging techniques and how they had differed from the one that I eventually settled on through much experimentation.

Many of the iCord edgings that I had experimented left the iCord on the top edge of the knitting, decorative, but it didn’t give the pleasing finish that I was looking for. I tried a few different techniques before settling on one that allowed me to vary the rate at which the iCord progressed along the edge and also entirely wrapped over the edge to seal the selvedge of the knitting completely in a rounded cord of knitting. Once I had this settled it was a matter of experiment as to which decrease to use to make the neatest and closest join with the main fabric.

Though the technique is fully explained in the pattern, I thought a more visual aid might also be useful (well, perhaps… I am not yet adept at making videos!)

As you can see, the edging gives a beautifully smooth and rounded edging and could be used for many projects (though obviously I am going to suggest that Emberwarm (Ravelry Link) is the perfect project to hone your skills with!

Hopefully the video will prove useful is showing why I have chosen this edging to finish the shawl with a very neat sense of simplicity. It was my hope that it would give a finishing touch without detracting from the pattern of the main shawl. I’m also going to update the published pattern to download with a link to the video for future reference, so if you have already downloaded a copy please watch out for the update!

New Pattern: Emberwarm Shawl

I am excited to announce the release of my new shawl pattern: Emberwarm.

This smart and stylish shawl is so named for the resemblance of warm embers in a fire grate, and the feeling of cosy warmth that both will give. The shawl is knit in simple garter stitch with occasional slipped stitches that create the pattern in a form of mosaic knitting. This means that to knit the shawl the knitter only works with one shade of yarn in any given row, so the knit is both speedy and incredibly easy, yet still interesting as the pattern unfolds with each successive row. This also means that there are no awkward ‘floats’ of yarn at the rear of the work to catch on clothing or  to cause interference with tension when knitting.

The ingenious design of this shawl allows for complete customisation of the size without any need for complex mathematics or forward-planning, as it is knit from the bottom point upwards and can be knit as a small neckerchief by simply completing fewer rows, or knit into a huge encompassing wrap by continuing the knitting until the piece is at the desired size.

An added benefit of this is being able to use all of a precious skein of yarn with a colour progression that should be made the most of, or a special skein of handspun that deserves to be knit in its entirety with none left to waste.

The Emberwarm shawl has a beautiful slightly textural feel to the knitting due to the garter stitch and slipped stitch patterning making the finished shawl springy and light. Warm air is trapped between the fibres of the garter ridges of the fabric, which retains extra bounce due to the nature of the stitch.  

A benefit of garter stitch is that it lays completely flat, which, alongside the other benefit of there being no yarn floats on the reverse side to get caught clothing, or any other annoyances makes it extremely hard-wearing, simple to wear and extremely easy to care for.

For all of these reasons, Emberwarm also makes a perfect gift, as it requires no instructions for blocking should it require washing!

As well as being completely customisable in size (as a guide the sample shawl measures 130cm (52″) in span, instructions are also given to add an optional knitted-on iCord edge for finishing the shawl.  This iCord edging is different from many knited-on varieties as it completely wraps around the outer edge rather than sit flush on top of the edge, giving a perfect finish to both sides of the shawl.

The downloadable pattern for Emberwarm contains both written and charted instructions,  for ease of knitting, as well as schematics and notes on sizing.

Yarn weight: Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi)
Gauge: 28 stitches = 4 inches in Main Pattern
Needle size: US 3 – 3.25 mm
Yardage: 427 – 448 yards (390 – 410 m) used for sample size
Sizes available: Can be knit to any size. Sample shawl is 130cm (52″) wide and 30cm (12″) depth.
Price: $4.80 add to cart or buy it now