Reviews, Tutorials

Miniature Needleminder/Pincushion Hoop – Featuring Aussie Maker Dandelyne

About 4 months ago I stumbled across @dandelyne’s beautiful mini embroidery hoops on instagram, and immediately feel in love with the product. My original review is here. 

The hoops are so beautiful and so much fun to fill. Previously I’ve made a cross stitch necklace (for the #undertheseaswap) and a cupcake necklace (later  pincushion) for me. But what I was really after was a needleminder/pincushion combination. You can see my first attempt here was less than perfect, but I have since sourced the perfect tiny magnets and with them – success!  

So here’s my updated tutorial….

1. Design and make your central image. 

For the #veryberryhoopswap I decided to make a paper pieced mushroom using alison glass fabrics and a pattern by #tinytoffeedesigns. Her patterns are great designs but there are no seam allowances marked which makes joining challenging. And, I’d advise you  read your pattern very carefully, because some of them (like the mushroom) need to be cut in half BEFORE you start piecing. If you have a little bit of experience paper piecing you will be just fine. If you are new, take a big deep breath and try a practice one first.

2. Make sure you keep sufficient material around your design so you can side it in the hoop and still have sufficient to tuck around the back plate. 

As you can see in the above picture, I’ve left more fabric for each piece than the size of the pattern which is targeted towards hexies allows for. This is not hard, just cut all the border pieces extra large (like 3-4 inches wide) in any event, if you are new to paper piecing the best tip I can give you is to use a larger scrap of fabric than you think you will need. This way you don’t have to think too hard about angles. 

You need to think ahead to the step pictured here where you are sliding the hoop on. It’s easier to cut off extra fabric, than to try and catch sides that are too short in the hoop edge. 

3. Select the right magnet

Not all magnets are made equal. You will want a fairly strong one, since it has to generate a magnetic field strong enough to secure your needle through the fabric. My two favourites so far are Three by Three mighties or Three by Three snap magnets (from Office works for the fellow Aussies out there)

Now normally  I would keep everything positive, but can I suggest you don’t waste your money on these magnets. They are just too weak and too thick. This was a key problem I had the last time I  attempted this project. (The second being trying to mount the magnet behind the original wood piece, but that one was easily fixed!)

 4. The magnet / stuffing combo

You will need to create a sandwich of the front wood circle (pictured on the left), the magnet and stuffing and the front fabric design. Using a couple of drops of superglue,  center the magnet on the wood circle. Then glue down small clumps of regular pillow stuffing. 

5. Wrap and tuck

The next step is to centre your design on top of the magnet, and start to tuck in the stuffing, as you can see in the picture below. You can add more stuffing in at the edges if you want to pad it out a little. 

If you want to create the little dip in the centre, add a tiny dip of superglue to the top of the magnet and secure the fabric directly to it. This has the added benefit of keeping your fabric in place as you work. 

6. Assembly as normal

From here on out, it’s assembly as per @dandelyne’s instructions. 
My best tip here (and I’m pretty proud of this one;)) is to use wonderclips to hold the back plate in place while the glue dries. they are the perfect size and if you are a sewer or quilter, ready to hand. 

7. Working with your pincushion / needleminder hoop. 

If you want to use your hoop as the kind of needle minder that stays put in an embroidery hoop, you can keep it in place by placing a second magnet behind the fabric. Like so…

And an update. With my new trusty stronger and smaller magnets, and following my own instructions, I reworked my cupcake hoop into a pincushion/needleminder combo. 

It works really well just sitting near you.  Like this. .. 

(And yes, hand binding plus Gilmore Girls is my happy place!)