Pincushions are one of my favorite things to make! They make great gifts for other sewists and they’re little works of art. I stuff my pinnies with Crushed Walnut Shells. These things have potential for a giant mess! I put them in a freezer ziploc and cut off the tip and feed that into a small funnel.
Supposedly they sharpen your pins and prevent them from rusting. (A quick google search led to little prof of this, but lots of folks mentioning it. Could be fact…could be sewing legend.) But I can say that my pins seem sharp and they don’t rust. But the real bonus is that they give your pincushion some weight. It doesn’t move away as you put in a pin and can double as a pattern weight. I stuff the pincushion as full as possible because over time, it will smash tighter and leave space inside the pincushion. When I’m finished, I tape the open ending shut. I store it inside TWO more ziplocs. Trust me, one tiny hole and they’re everywhere.
I buy my crushed shells at Petsmart. They’re lizard bedding and unfortunately only come in ten and twenty five pound bags. Some local quilt shops are now selling small packages, including a lavender scented option that I know is available at Studio Stitch in Greensboro. The shells from Petsmart do not smell like lavender:(