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Donna Donna's Duin Bruins
Burbank, CA
Posts: 900

I have myself so confused now!  (Well, really that is a pretty normal state of being for me!)  I will be making some pincushions for a project that a group of us are doing.  I was told that wool or cotton should be used for the stuffing.  I was told that polyester fiberfill will cause the pins and needles to rust.  I went to the internet to do research and there are all kinds of differing opinions on what to use for stuffing.  One article says that polyfil acts as a wick to draw in moisture to cause your pins and needles to rust.  I have a pincushion a friend made a year ago that was stuffed with polyfil and nothing is happening to my pins yet.  Other articles said that pins and needles are made out of different materials than in the old days so there is no need to worry.  I know when I lived in Kansas that many of my pins and needles did rust but I don't know what was inside the pincushions.  Have any of you made pincushions and what did you use for stuffing and why?
Thanks in advance for your help!

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

I have a 3 year old pincushion that I made.... I used craft sand in the bottom 1/4 for wieght and polyfil in the rest. My pins aren't rusty....yet! I've never heard of that being a concern to be honest.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Wool fiber also absorbs moisture from ambient environment, though slowly & releases slowly.
Those that recommend wool are (unconsciously??) advocating it because the wool will retain a bit of its lanolin, which helps coat & protect the pins from rust as they're pushed in and withdrawn. But if they're stored in a damp climate or environment, almost any steel/metal is likely to gather *some* rust.

It's probably just as important to keep using them, as that will also impart a little oil from our fingers, which gives more protection than those that are positioned for display only, are never handled and may show rust after a few years of non-use.

Jane Perala Jane Perala Designs Ltd.
Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada
Posts: 819

I have a couple of felted wool pin coushions, and noted the other day that some of the less frequently used pins and needles were getting slightly marked - I presume it is a prelude to rusting.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Hmmm... Puzzling. Or it could just be darkening like the aluminum pans do when water is boiled in them: just a chemical reaction rather than a progression towards rust. Raw or in-the-grease fiber would give the best protection for the pins, but then I'd worry about a month infestation or carrying a bit of oils to delicate fabrics where the pins are used.

At least sewing pins are an inexpensively replaced item!  Please let me/us know what continues to happen, in the interest of research!

Thx - B

valewoodbears Valewood Bears
Posts: 6,537

I'm not sure of what newer pin cushions are made from as I keep mine in a little tin, but I remember I did have a pin cushion that my grandma gave to me years ago which came apart eventually, this was stuffed with fine sawdust.


ylc Y Daydream? Designs
Spotsylvania, VA
Posts: 232

I have been making some pincushions and just using the regular poly fil. I hope it doesn't cause the pins to rust.
I have dolls that are stuffed with wire and regular stuffing and they have never rusted.
I wonder if it has to do with the amount of moisture in the air. Interesting subject!

The Rabbit Maker The Rabbit Maker
Posts: 677

I read somewhere that someone had used sand, and the advanatge of that was that it always kept the pins sharp !

Posts: 1,586

I have made pincushions using plastic pellets, also sand is good and yes it does keep the pins sharp, but I have also had ones that had fiber fill in them. The choice is yours.

DebbieD Posts: 3,540

My pincushion's at least two years old, maybe three (can't remember which year it was made for sure, but definitely two years minimum).  Its a combination of polyfil, round rubber ball, and copper coated bbs.  I live in Missouri, so the climate's practically the same for Kansas, and none of my needles show signs of rust nor discolouration.  Some of them aren't used as often as others, and even those aren't showing rust signs. 

The rubber ball was to prevent my needles from travelling all the way into my pincushion, never to be seen again  bear_whistle

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