Crafty How-to Guide: Pin cushion for yarn needles
A pin cushion is such a handy little item. It keeps sewing needles and pins readily available and easy to grip. But what about yarn needles? You know, those large blunt-tipped plastic or metal needles used for finishing knitting projects: the needles aren't sharp enough to effectively stick into standard pin cushions. I kept my yarn needles in a small box, but was forever fumbling through them to get a grasp on the exact needle I wanted, so I decided to make a very simple cushion that would effectively hold those blunt needles. Mine is knitted and crocheted, but you can easily make one using either technique rather than both, if you prefer.
Below the jump are complete instructions on making this handy accessory.
Using a chunky or bulky yarn and a pair of 6-8 mm knitting needles (UK 4-0 / US 10-11) knit a square that is approximately 10 cm (4") across. In my example, I used 6 mm needles and cast on about 12 stitches. Knit in garter stitch (that's knitting every row) until your piece reaches 10 cm (4"). Bind off. Make a second square the same way.
Now, line up the two pieces so one sits directly on top of the other. Using the same yarn and a crochet hook of approximately the same diameter as the knitting needles, crochet into both layers. The crochet stitches function as a seam, holding the two pieces together. Make one single crochet into each stitch of the original cast on edge, being sure to go through both layers at once. When you reach the corner, make two single crochet stitches into the same place at the corner: this will result in a rounded edge, as shown in my example. (For a squarer corner, make three single crochet stitches instead of just two.) When crocheting into the side of the square, at the knitted row ends, make one single crochet at the end of every second knitted row. Carry on with single crochet along the third edge.
Once you've joined three sides, stuff the pocket with scrap yarn of any weight. While polyester fibrefill is excellent for stuffed toys, it's not a good choice for this project: when blunt needles are poked into it, it will resist being punctured. Scrap yarn, on the other hand, gives way nicely, while still retaining a good bulky shape within the cushion. Once you've filled the cushion with bits of yarn, continue crocheting along the fourth edge.
When all the cushion edges are joined, chain one extra stitch and do a second circuit around the cushion, still using single crochet. Once the second row of crochet is done, tie off the yarn, sew in that final yarn end, and you're done.
KNITTING ONLY variation: once you've made your two sides, simply sew the seams using a yarn needle.
CROCHETING ONLY variation: rather than knitting the two squares, crochet them instead: loosely chain approximately 10 chain stitches, chain one more for turning, and work about 10 rows in single crochet. Then carry on with the instructions for joining the two pieces.
For further variety, make your two sides circles (or another shape), or crochet the edging in a contrasting colour. The possibilities are endless.