Storts Market

by Lesley Storts


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»Pincushion Particulars Post #1«

My adventure into making pincushions was not planned. I entered a quilt in the National Quilting Association’s (NQA) quilt show several years ago. While there, I was browsing through the vendors and came upon salt cellar pincushions. I was smitten. I bought 3, one for me and each of my daughters. The little salt cellar dishes are unique and charming. I wanted to make them and told my daughter, Lucy, that we should try to make them together. We live in the midwest and there is an abundance of antique stores here giving us ample opportunity to look for old glass. The following summer, after collecting some glass salt cellars, Lucy set out to make the pincushions. She had recently had ankle surgery and was non-weight bearing and looking for something to do because she was bored. She did an amazing job troubleshooting the pincushions. I had a basic idea of how to make them, but she perfected it! Several years and a thousand+ pincushions later, we still love making them – it’s so much fun! I’m a quilter, but now I feel like I’m a pincushion artist too. We have expanded the pincushion containers beyond the salt cellars, but salt cellars are how we started and still my favorite base to use in making the pincushions.

The books pictured above, The Open Salt Compendium and 5,000 Open Salts, A Collector’s Guide, catalog a large variety of salts and include the manufacturer and date of production. Another reference is Salty Comments which was written from 1984-2005 by Ed and Kay Berg. Their early newsletters were written on a typewriter and pictures of salt cellars were hand drawn.

Our process of sewing on a button with matching thread and creating a custom crystal and glass beaded pin gives each pincushion their own personality and appeal. My pincushion journey includes hunting for glass and looking for just the right fabric, or cut of fabric, to make the pincushions. I have met a lot of interesting people and learned so much along the way. I am sure I will continue enjoying the whole process.

Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»A Study In Focus«

IMG_8835Saltcellar Pincushion made with Carolyn Friedlander’s Dentals in Green.

It has been almost a year since I began hunting for saltcellars and making pincushions. Lucy, one of my daughters, has been instrumental in helping perfect this little pieces of art. And as we have learned and grown in making these, an interesting thing has happened- I have come to appreciate fabric and the patterns in a different way. There is a  need to focus on small areas and what they have to offer in a saltcellar. The diameter of most saltcellars we use is about 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 inches. Some of the dishes are a little bigger, but generally they are small. This means that we have to maximize where we cut.

I love the color green and adore this fabric by Anna Maria Horner called Minutes in Glen. I was excited to use it in a pincushion and took special care to cut it so that I was able show an interesting part of the fabric.

Another beautiful and interesting fabric we’ve used is Tula Pink’s Bats in the Belfry in Plum. Depending on what you wanted to highlight with this fabric would depend on where you cut for the pincushion. This fabric offers many choices that would work well. Lucy made this pincushion and wanted to make sure to include blue so that it stood out.

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I love quilt making and will continue making quilts. I do appreciate though, the opportunity to look at fabric in a different way and that has come through making pincushions.

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Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎

Enjoy posts on IG at my sites @lesleystorts and @stortsmarket


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»Pincushion Factory«

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A fun, little expensive hobby has started at my house over the past couple of months. Last year at the National Quilt Association’s show, I bought a pincushion made by up-cycling an old salt cellar. I loved it! I do not know the name of the woman I bought it from, but it has spurred much enthusiasm to make these – as you can tell from my stockpile of salt cellars (most of which I acquired in one day – ahem).  Living in the midwest, there are plenty of places to hunt for salt cellars. The whole process has become a family affair and we have had a great time.

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We, meaning my kids and mother-in-law, have spent time looking at antique stores, at stores where vendors rent a booth space, and yard sales for the salt cellars or other appropriate glass bases. Some of the bases are glass candle holders or old ash trays. No, I don’t smoke. Yes, I like the glass.  Back in June, we spent the day over in Springfield, OH, at several different antique stores and it was a salt cellar B.O.N.A.N.Z.A!

fabric basket 2pincushion supplies

The “jewelry” for the pincushion is a matching pin. We have made the pins starting with various tops – pearl balls, glass beads, and shapes such as a butterfly. The beads are almost all glass minus a few exceptions for some flower bases or skulls. The other exception is when my other daughter makes custom pin tops out of clay and bakes it onto the pin. We purchased the majority of our beads at a local store – 1 Stop Bead Shop. The owner was so helpful and it was so great to be able to touch and see the beads we were selecting. The store has an incredible collection.

bead box

The whole process is so fun because each pincushion is unique and because it is a short-term project. I’ve noticed when I’m making a quilt that takes a long time and I like to insert shorter projects just so that I can feel like I’m finishing something. Because they are so easy to make, we’ve made a lot.  My husband must be worried because he said that maybe we should try selling a few before making any more. I told him, “Umm…..ok?” Then noticed over the next few days that the pincushions seemed to multiplying on their own – so much for slowing down the process.

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single gray multi pincushion on metal tray collage pincushions x6

I can even come home after a long day at work and sit down and have the energy to complete one of the pincushions. It’s a very relaxing process. I do have to confess that my daughter has made the majority of the pincushions. (I’ve only made three… hahaha.) She has improved the technique that I first taught her and tweaked the process along the way. The pincushions we are making today are better because of her! I hope to have them for sale on Etsy soon!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @lesleystorts. Happy Crafting! ▶︎▶︎▶︎