Thursday, 28 January 2010

The sewing basket

My main anti-procrastination task today (two other small ones, now done as well) was to set to and sort out my sewing basket. I went in there for a thimble yesterday and couldn't find one, but it was a complete untidy jumble in there. So, into the kitchen, all over the table this morning, big cup of tea in hand. An hour later, a lovely tidy and organised basket, lots of memories revived too:)I think the oldest thing in there is probably the blue needlescase with the orange and pink on - I made that for an aunt, and it was returned to me when she died. I can't have been more than 7 or 8 when I made it I think. Another oldie is one of the French knitting bobbins, the one made from an old wooden cotton reel - I had that as a child; have acquired two more now, although one is Bean's; the third is hand made from beech and is particularly lovely, bought at the Oak Fair a couple of years back. The thimbles in the picture are reproductions of a Roman and a Medieval thimble. I did one year of a Fashion Design and Management course after school, and was taught to use a thimble properly, now I can't sew without one! The beeswax dates from college times too (1979), as part of the kit we bought to start the course. I have my thimble from college, but that's tucked into a bag of tapestry at the moment. Thimbles are kept in their own little padded fabric box so they don't get lost in among all the other stuff.
The old cotton reels are some of my favourite things in there - so tactile, and a pleasure to handle and use. I'd gladly pay more money for sewing cottons if they came on wooden reels again.:) I gather them up in charity shops, boot fairs, the tip, etc, and give them a home. The cotton itself is always useful too, and much subtler colours.
Pins - the iconic Dorcas pin box - anyone else got one/remember them? Dorcas is the patron saint of sewers. My mother had a pin box exactly the same. Various other items creep in - a marble, a button, a safety pin, a carpet tack. My mother's had things like that in it too. I don't remember putting anything but pins in there over the years - but the strays are there all the same - how do they get there?
The elastic was all wound up neatly and tied/pinned, likewise the bias binding, and popped into a tin for neatness. Things That Shouldn't Have Been In There were removed and put elsewhere, so all that is in there now is sewing kit. The basket was emptied upside down into the bin, its calico lining brushed out, everything being returned where it should be.

An hour well spent.


Carolyn said...

I had a pin box just like that!!!!

MoominMamma said...

I've always loved sewing baskets, and button boxes! There's something almost magic about all the bits and pieces in them.
I'm very excited as I will be 'inheriting' my grandmother's sock mushroom, that thing fascinated me when I was a bairn!

Ooh you mention the french knitting on a spool, Monster has one of the 'proper' ones (you know, shaped like a little dolly) she adores doing her knitting! She's so funny, she settles herself with a blanket on her lap and does a few stitches every night.

Kath xx

Ruth@VS said...

My Mum has a pin box exactly like that! I also have a few old bobbins and a darning mushroom, and my box needs a tidy too...

On another subject, I finally got round to the marmalade today. I soaked the rinds as you suggested before making it and the consensus is that it is very, very good marmalade, sothanks!

Mrs M said...

I too have a Dorcas pin box, which I have either had for years or inherited from my mother. Love my sewing basket, filled with memories, darning mushrooms, bias bindings, ribbons, buttons etc and needs a good tidy too. I keep my sewing threads in a separate box and also buy the old ones on wooden reels whenever I see them in the charity shop.

Karen Lizzie said...

My mum's Dorcas pins came in a tin rather than the plastic box. The tin was lined with a special black paper to stop the pins going rusty. Needles used to come threaded into that paper too, until they invented to plastic stuff they use now.

I love old cotton reels too, but I have very few now. They are nicer to touch, i think they also run better on a sewing machine as the weight means that they don't slip or spin, so much nicer and so many toys you could make with them afterwards.

My buttons are my pride and joy, lots of pearl ones and beautiful old glass ones too.

The other messages remind me that I can't find my darning mushroom, wonder where that has gone.

Proper sewing boxes are a wonderful thing.

fubsnspuds said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures. The mushroom brought back some memories of my mum. She was forever knitting or darning socks! I think she jumped for joy when modern fabrics and cheap socks made darning pretty much obsolete. I love your cotton reel collection. I haven't seen any of the old style for years now. Lovely bit of nostalgia - Thanks!

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