So, I cut the Prairie Flower Pincushion apart, and revamped it. It turned out much better on the second try. I had to trim a good 2" from the side piece, and I modified the pattern so that the cushion was stuffed from an opening in the side seam, not from the bottom (it's hard to mattress-stitch a curved seam smoothly). The nice man at The Farm Store (that's the actual name) didn't laugh at me when I said that I wanted to stuff a pincushion with some sort of seeds. He said that Crafty Ladies were using safflower seeds for bean bags and other weighted items, so I bought a couple of pounds of the seed.
And it worked out well. The UnFailed Pincushion has nice straight sides, the Prairie Points stick out the way they're supposed to (or the way I think they're supposed to, since the pattern picture doesn't show them on the bottom of the pincushion), and pins and needles go in it just fine. It's big enough to hold every pin and needle that I own, plus about 2,000. As long as I keep it dry, the seeds shouldn't sprout (though it's definitely potential mouse bait). It's also heavy enough to cause some damage if I ever feel the need to lob it at someone (it weighs nearly 2lbs). The pattern suggests appliques, buttons or beads as decoration, so I appliqued some hexes to the side (before the first assembly). If I'd had some suitable vintage buttons, I would have added them as well.
All in all, a good learning experience (measure circles before cutting them, measure sides before sewing them to circles, and for Heaven's sake, stop stuffing if it looks goofy. Quilter's Denial works exactly the same way Knitter's Denial does). Good enough, that I'm trying again with some other fabrics from recent quilting adventures. I don't know if I'll use safflower seeds for the stuffing, or if I'll try the commenter suggestions of wool (clean or not-I have plenty of both on hand). I do know that I'm going to zig-zag the hexes together this time (as the pattern suggests)- just hand sewing isn't sturdy enough for the strain of heavy stuffing or use.
And in the quilt-size quilting news- I'm still plugging away at the Nest quilt. The blocks aren't difficult to assemble, but they do involve a lot of slow and precise steps that don't lend themselves to any kind of production-line sewing. It's going to be very striking. I have 16 blocks assembled, which is what the pattern recommends. Unfortunately, 54" square isn't big enough for my purposes, so I'm going to add 2 more rows to the length. Whether or not I make the whole thing 1 row wider depends on whether I'd rather have a wide border or more blocks (right now, I'm leaning toward the border, but that's pure laziness talking). This is not the final arrangement of blocks, btw. I just laid them out for gazing purposes.
And in swimming pool news- I've been swimming laps every morning for a week now, and it feels wonderful. However, the air temp is only 30 degrees at the moment, and the wind is blowing. I think I'll wait just a bit before jumping in.
And in case you're wondering: no, we haven't eaten at the dining room table in weeks.