Pins and Needles for my Birthday

N gave me this history of sewing accessories and the little pincushion for my birthday this weekend. The label from the antique shop says that it's Shaker, but I have my doubts. I have been collecting old sewing implements for awhile now. I love thinking about the needlewomen who used these beautiful tools and the people who made them. After I had worked with an Abenaki basketmaker whose family had made and sold sweetgrass baskets for the tourist trade, I began collecting sweetbasket pincusions and thimble cases. From there, the collecting sort of took off.

This little shoe has been one of my favorites. It sat on my grandmother's windowsill for years. I had always assumed that it was Native American, but my new book tells me otherwise--there's a picture of one from Yugoslavia! That makes sense as my grandparents traveled the world.

This plain little tin pincushion looks fairly uninteresting until you turn it over to find "made in occupied Japan" stamped on the bottom.

I wonder if anyone ever actually used this little nineteenth-century box filled with tiny spools?

Sometimes the fun is what's inside--this box was filled with thread, a little china doll, and a scrap of whitework when I dug it out of my grandmother's sewing room.

Margie Oomen  – (January 22, 2009 at 6:12 AM)  

I really love your collection and I didn't realize there was even a book written on the subject. I will have to look that up on Amazon. Thanks so much for sharing this link with me.

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