Introduction: Cupcake Pincushion

A pincushion made entirely of recycled sweaters that resembles a cupcake when complete (or at least it's suppose to!) I've used both knit and wool in these examples and feel that there is still room for improvement, but some clever crafter can "tweak" what I've done and share (I hope).

Step 1: Cut Your Sweater Into Strips

Next we cut our selected sweater into strips the width of the body of the sweater. I imagine that with a sweater whose kniting runs the opposing direction you would just cut top to bottom. The idea is to get the knit to run vertically around your cupcake.

For this I chose to cut them about 4" deep. Then I cut the seams appart and discarded them leaving me with two strips, front and back (which on this sweater didn't mater because it's exactly the same all the way around).

Step 2: Choosing Your "cherry"

Before you begin using the larger strips you must decide what color you want your "cherry" on your cupcake to be. In this example I happened to have a red strip and so I chose to use it. The center uses a smaller strip and you'll see why at the end of our project. Make it about 1/2 of the width of your 4" strips. Disclaimer: This is not an exact or perfected project and thus one must be prepared to make with any creative endeavor...make it your own.)

Step 3: Roll Your "cherry"

Fold the raw edge of the sweater over itself (see next step of picture example) and begin rolling this up like a swirl or cinnamon roll. This is where you must decide how tightly you'll pull your sweater material. It's a matter of personal preference. A tighter roll takes a little more material, but produces a heavier pincushion. I tried it 3 different ways and got 3 different results all of which have merit.

At the end of your roll end with the edge down on the body of your roll. This will hide the raw edge as you place the next strip on.

Step 4: Begin Frosting Your Cupcake

Okay, now go to your 4" strips (or whatever larger size you choose) and turnover the raw edge. Place it where you left off your cherry roll raw edge and begin rolling this layer on, going in the same direction (I chose counter clockwise for no reason other than it felt easiest to me).

Roll unti you have encircled the cherry about 1 time and then a smidgeon more (technical term for "until it looks right"). Cut off any extra of the green strip and continue to hold your cupcake.

Step 5: Continue Frosting

Continue on alternating the two colors you have chosen. Cutting the excess off as you go.

Step 6: Measure Your Almost-finished Cupcake

Once you've reached the size you would like stick a pin in it to hold the raw edge to the body of the cupcake. Measure both the height and the circumference (distance around) of the roll you've made. This will tell you the measurement of the outer, finishing layer.

Step 7: The Wrapper

Okay, now set your cupcake roll to the side for a minute. We've got to choose a sleeve or wrapper for our cupcake. I've chosen to have mine match, but you can do what you like of course. I've picked a piece of the sweater that I like and, using the measurements I got from my cupcake roll (in this case approx. 3.5" x 8") I cut a strip from the sweater. NOTE: The measurements are not the same as the roll. I add an inch to the height measurement (in this case that would be 4.5") and I sutract about 1.5 inches from the circumference. (6.5") This means I measure my strip to be 6.5" long and 4.5" wide.

After cutting I sew it into a tube, right sides together so the seam is on the wrong side of the sweater. See the tube or "sleeve"?

You could also use the sleeve of the sweater, but in this case mine didn't match the way I wanted it to so I made my own sleeve.

Step 8: Cupcake Into the Wrapper

Now, slide the wrapper onto the cupcake. You can do this by sliding it on and tucking in the raw edge around the top of the cupcake or you can turn it wrong side out, slide it on and roll it down over the cupcake leaving the raw edge inside the roll. I found it depends on how tight your wrapper/sleeve is on how well each technique works. Experiment.

Now you have all of your layers on.

Step 9: Calorie Cutting

Now, so far this roll is just too tall to be a cupcake. So let's trim some cupcake body off. Roll your wrapper back to the desired height of your cupcake. Then with very sharp scissors reduce the inside bulk to the desired measurement.

Step 10: Dig a Hole

Turn your cupcake upside down and dig a hole into the center of it. This is why we left that cherry shorter than the rest...see the little hole there? That's made for the tucking in your edges.

Step 11: Tuck It In

I sew a running stitch along my edges, then I pull it tight like a draw string and tuck the edges into the hole in the bottom of your cupcake. I then take matching thread (or invisible thread if you have it) and sew the hold shut taking big, chunky stitches back and forth across that hole. I cover that with a piece of felt and glue it or sew it on.

Step 12: Voila!

Here are the finished ones I did yesterday. The larger is obviously "not quite right" and all agree that some refining is necessary. The smaller is the result of pulling the sweater material tightly as I rolled. The blue was held with only light pressure on the material. I'll add rick rack to this to give it a bit more whimsy, I think.

There is room for improvement in this design and I'll probably continue to fiddle with it as turning "junky to funky" is very intriguing to me. Any suggestions? I'm not quite satisfied, for instance with the unevenness of the wrapper. It looks to "slouchy" for me. Also, I'm just sure that it could be finished on the bottome better.

Wishing you many creative endeavors and artistic pursuits! May your needles never bend and may your scissors never dull!