Friday, July 20, 2012

Biscornus and Humbugs, Oh My!

Needlework accessories have been all the rage in cross stitch for quite a while now and they have finally began to make their way into needlepoint, specifically these oddly shaped pincushions called Biscornus.  The seemingly complex shape is deceptively simple-- it is really two ordinary squares that are sewn together with the corners in the centers, rather than corner to corner as usual.  After making a few of these in cross stitch I decided the design possibilities and the techniques were perfect for needlepoint.  As an added bonus, those who would like to try to self-finish a small project will find these pretty easy!  

I made this Halloween-themed Biscornu for the Summer 2010 Columbus TNNA show.  It was my first effort to introduce these little goodies to the painted canvas enthusiast.  This one is a painted canvas on top and a coordinating fabric on the the bottom:

Here's the view from the top:

For last summer's TNNA show, I added a Humbug style cushion to the line, also in a Halloween theme.  A Humbug is also an odd-shaped pincushion that could also be weighted to become a frame weight to make it even more useful for needlepointers. (I like to use mine to hold my threaded needles.)  The Humbug shape is also deceptively simple-- it is a one-piece design in a rectangle shape.  The short edges are stitched together, making a tube, then the ends are stitched together, but each is folded in opposite directions, creating the oblong shape.  

Here is the stitched but unconstructed Humbug:

This is mid-construction-- I like to make a chain stitch border around the whole outer edge in perle cotton, then use a simple whip stitch to pull the edges together:

The completed Humbug, as seen from the side:

Here it the view from the back to the front:

The same whip-stitch edging technique can be used to make a more traditional accessory, such as the scissor case I made to coordinate with my Humbug:

This is the back side, I worked Caesar Stitch in an overdyed thread over a smoke blue canvas to create this section: 

Hope you all will catch my enthusiasm for these fun little projects-- I know of several upcoming new Biscornu and Humbug designs that will be appearing over the next few months (including a new matched set by yours truly, to be released later this year!)

Until next time, Happy Stitching! 


  1. I've made many pincushions and biscornus. I never thought of using needlepoint to make them. I can't wait to see your new patterns.