This adorable, odd-shaped project, called a biscornu, is a fun way to practice or highlight your cross stitch and embroidery talents. Biscornu make terrific pin cushions, sachets, and more.
When I was uploading products onto our CreateForLess website, I came across the Leisure Arts Teach Yourself To Make Biscornu Book. The pincushion on the cover was so cute, I ordered the book right away!
The Teach Yourself To Make Biscornu Book has eight projects with different embroidery and cross stitch biscornu designs. The word biscornu is an adjective in French meaning bizarre or quirky – which certainly describes the shape!
I realized I actually had a biscornu on my desk – made of fabric by a coworker in the past.
Supply Suggestions – Necessary
- A pattern – I was drawn to the biscornu on the cover of the book – so I chose the Variegated Lattice for my first project.
- Embroidery floss – I used DMC Coloris Embroidery Floss Camellia for the variegated and two coordinating solid colors; pearl cotton also works
- Tapestry needles – need to match Aida cloth size (size 24 needle for 14 count and size 26 for 16 count cloth)
- Cross stitch cloth – I used 16 count Aida; book discusses various cloth types and count sizes
- Small scissors or thread snips
- Buttons – two matching buttons about 1/2″; could use beads or other embellishments
Supply Suggestions – Optional
- Marking tools – to mark a grid every ten spaces; facilitates counting and stitch placement
- I used Easy-Count Guideline; alternatives are any fine nylon or polyester thread such as Sulky Sliver or 8 lb. test fish line.
- Custom Processing Ultimate Marking Pencil Lead Set and a Pro Art Eraser Soft Artist or General’s Tri-Tip Multi Purpose Eraser Soft – test first, should wash out
- Marking pens – test first, should wash out
- Embellishments – beads, bows, tassels, buttons etc. added to points or elsewhere in design
- Embroidery hoop – I did not use one for this embroidered design but did use a 5″ hoop for my next counted cross stitch biscornu
- Yarn Threaders – a Dritz Tapestry Needle Threaders was helpful
- Straight pins – for marking midpoints on the edges
- Doll needle – facilitated tufting the center of the biscornu
- Fray Check – or a a zigzag stitch the edges would have been helpful to prevent frayed edges
- Light/Magnifier – Both the Taylor Seville Closelook Lighted Magnifier and F.A.Edmunds Super Bright Portable LED Lamp with Magnifier enabled me to see better with the 16 count Aida. I preferred the latter portable LED lamp – the bright light was great and I could look through the magnifier to double if I finished each stitch if needed.
At first, I sewed with two strands of floss cut the length from my hand to elbow but…
I decided to cut one strand twice that long. When the length was folded in half, there was a loop at one end. By going up from the back and down one stitch to the back, I could put my needle through the loop to secure the end with no knot.
This close up shows the fine red Easy-Count Guideline sewn under 4 and over 6 spaces. Using the grid helped counting and the placement of stitches.
Following the Variegated Lattice pattern, I continued the embroidery stitches as directed until the last two rows. I chose to alternate colors for the double running stitch. When finished, the red nylon threads pulled out easily – and can be used again!
Since only the corners of the back design show, I chose to do just the perimeter lines. Counting the stitches of the outer row was all I needed to create a matching design for the back.
Just like with quilting, pieces look better when trimmed!
Yes, it is better to read the whole pattern instructions before starting! I realized the outer line would be in the seam – so I added a backstitch in a solid color.
This left less than the half inch suggested for seam allowances – but it worked.
The sides and corners were finger pressed to the back.
The midpoint of each side was determined by careful counting of spaces and marked with pins.
Following the book’s instructions, corners and midpoints were matched and seams sewn together with a whipstitch in every stitch on the outer borders of each side.
A long doll needle made it easier to sew the tufted buttons on the top and bottom.
I auditioned some embellishments for four points…
and chose tiny tassels.
My new biscornu pin cushion finished at about 3″ using 16 count Aida cloth.
This was a fun, quick project – and it will be useful for making my next biscornu! There are other patterns in the book that are tempting – not sure which will be next! Also, I plan to make a tropical themed biscornu as a ring pillow for my daughter’s wedding in Mexico.