I’d like you to meet my new little friend and desk mate, Penelope. She’s an octopus with class and a secret weapon. You see, Penelope is a pin sharpening pin cushion. It’s true! And she is a free crochet pattern.
Penelope the Octopus
Penelope is unique in that her body is not stuffed with Polyfil as with regular amigurumi. Oh no! Her body is stuffed with steel wool (or stainless steel scour pads) that will help her sharpen the pins as they are used. Of course, if you are making Penelope for a youngster or as a stuffed animal instead of a pin cushion, Polyfil would work just fine.
The steel works to sharpen the pins each time you insert them into the pin cushion. How cool is that!? Since I’ve started sewing more (adding linings etc) I’ve had my sewing pins in a glass cup on my desk. I decided it is high time I had a proper pin cushion – and a crocheted one, of course!
Pin Sharpening Pin Cushion
Cotton yarn in two contrasting colors
-approx 120 yards of body
-approx 70 yards of underbelly
Scrap yarn for optional bow
Crochet hook in size G/4mm
Buttons for eyes OR Safety Eyes if giving to a child (9mm used)
Steel wool or (3) Steel scouring pads – 2.75’’ x 1.77” – possibly found at Dollar Tree in 3pks
I also made the same pattern using Bernat Blanket yarn, and it turned out over foot tall! I used:
• Pattern written using US terms.
• Try the Invisible Decrease for the decreases along the base of the body.
• Do not join at the end of each row, rather use a marker to note the first stitch of each round.
• A tutorial for the bobble stitch can be found here on Heart Hook Home.
Pin Cushion Crochet Pattern
With body color
Round 1: Magic Circle, 8 sc in circle. Do not join, work in a spiral. (8)
Round 2: 2sc in each st around (16)
Round 3: * sc in next, 2sc in next * repeat around (24)
Round 4: * sc in next 2 sts, 2sc in next * repeat around (32)
Round 5: * sc in next 3 sts, 2sc in next * repeat around (40)
Round 6: * sc in next 4 sts, 2sc in next * repeat around (48)
Rounds 7 – 16: sc in each st around (48) sts
**place eyelashes (if desired) and safety eyes between rows 15 & 16, 8 sts apart
Round 17: * sc in next 6 sts, sc2tog * repeat around (42)
Round 18: * sc in next 5 sts, sc2tog * repeat around (36)
Round 19: * sc in next 4 sts, sc2tog * repeat around (30)
Round 20: * sc in next 3 sts, sc2tog * repeat around (24)
Rounds 21 – 22: sc in each st around (24)
Round 23: * sc in next 2 sts, 2sc in next * repeat around (32)
Round 24: * sc in next 3 sts, 2sc in next * repeat around (40)
If desired, add a small mouth. Do not fasten off.
**stuff body as full as possible with steel wool/scour pads. Really cram it in.
Continuing from body…
Row 1: Sc in next 5 sts.
Rows 2 – 17: Ch-1, turn, sc in each st. (5)
Row 18: Ch-1, turn, sc2tog, sc in next st, sc2tog. (3)
Row 19 – 21: Ch-1, turn sc in each st. (3)
Row 22: ch-1, turn, sc 3 tog.
Fasten off and weave in end.
Attach yarn in next open stitch on body and make next tentacle. Continue until you have 8 tentacles.
With underbelly color
Round 1: Magic circle, 10 sc in circle. Do not join, work in spiral. (10)
Round 2: 2sc in each st around (20)
Round 3: * sc in next, 2sc in next * repeat around (30)
Round 4: * sc in next 2 sts, 2sc in next * repeat around (40)
Do not fasten off.
Row 1: Sc in next 5 sts.
Rows 2 & 3: Ch-1, turn, sc in 5 sts.
Row 4: Ch-1, turn, sc in 2 sts, bobble, sc in 2 sts.
Rows 5 – 7: Repeat row 3
Row 8: repeat row 4
Rows 9 – 11: repeat row 3
Row 12: repeat row 4
Rows 13 – 15: repeat row 3
Row 16: repeat row 4
Row 17: repeat row 3
Row 18: Ch-1, turn, sc2tog, sc in next st, sc2tog.
Row 19: Ch-1, turn sc in each st. (3)
Row 20: Ch-1, turn, sc in first, bobble, sc in last
Row 21: repeat row 19
Row 22: ch-1, turn, sc 3 tog.
Fasten off and weave in tail.
Attach yarn in next open stitch and make tentacle. Continue until you have 8 tentacles.
Line up the top and bottom tentacles with the bobbles facing down. You may want to “pin” the two pieces in place with stitch markers. Pin in between each tentacle and at the end of each tentacle.
Looking down at the body and starting at the base of any tentacle, sc tightly through both sides (the top and bottom) all the way up and back down each tentacle. When you get all the way around fasten off and weave in all ends. Curl the tentacles in they direction they naturally want to curl.
With any color scrap yarn
Row 1: Ch-16, join with sl st to beg ch without turning. (16)
Row 2 – 3: Ch-1, sc in same st and in each around. Join with sl st to top of first sc. (16)
Fasten off leaving a super long tail (we will use the tail to make the center of the bow).
Find the middle of the “bow” and pinch together. Wrap yarn tightly to hold its shape and continue wrapping until you reach desired bow center width. On back side, use your upholstery needle to secure the end, leaving a long enough tail to then attach the bow to the pin cushion. Place bow off centered about 1” above the eye on the body.
Penelope the Pin Cushion is ready for use! I hope you love her!
On a side note, you could totally make a larger version of her using Bernat Blanket or comparable yarn and regular Polyfil!
If you make a Penelope, tag me on social media using @HeartHookHome so I can see!
More free crochet patterns
Creighton’s Blanket: Free Stitch Sampler Crochet Pattern
Easy Foldover Crossbody Bag: Free Crochet Pattern
Life’s a Beach Bag: Free Beach Bag Crochet Pattern
The Bee’s Knees Face Cloth: Small Face Cloth Free Crochet Pattern