Blackwork and Pincushions

Brief description of making a biscornu.

So as I mentioned in the previous post, there’s an enchanting stitch along of 36 blackwork squares. And while I don’t have the energy, yet, to commit to 36 squares in one project, I was reminded of an old project I had previously enjoyed, which requires two squares of fabric to make a pin cushion.

Specifically, a biscornu, which is a kind of pin cushion created by sewing two squares together along the edges so that the resulting three dimension shape is octagonal.

The finished biscornu.

The biscornu was created by first embroidering two squares on 28ct even weave fabric, using 60/2 silk (because I have lots of 60/2 silk handy) using the doublesided running stitch commonly used for black work. (Or in this case blue and green work?)

Then the squares are each surrounded by a red square, embroidered using the back stitch and keeping the tension loose. As you can see in the picture, the center of the top most edge of the lower square is marked with an extra stitch.

Both squares embroidered. There are some guide stitches basted in; I didn’t remove the urple since it ended up in the middle of the pincushion.

Assembly is harder to describe than to do, but basically the two squares are cut apart and then whip stitched together by looping under the red loops and slowly drawing it tight. Almost like lacing the two sides together.

The key point is that the corner of one square will always meet the center of one side of the other square. So when you start, you place the corner of the other square right up against that center little mark, and whip stitch together half a side. Then continue going around the corner, leaving the yarn loose until you’ve whipped around 4 or 5 stitches and then tightening the lacing.

I stuffed the pin cushion with some merino roving I had on hand when I had one side left to whip together. In hindsight I should have used more stuffing. Final step was to stitch together through both sides in the center and tie off. Without that final stitch, the result is much more like a pumpkin …