Throughout history needles have been a necessity. Bone, wood and steel were all fashioned into an object that could be used to sew pieces of cloth, animal skins, beads...into garments and coverings.
Over time pins and needles were carried from one place to another; for a quick repair, an afternoon of sewing and conversation over a quilt, even on the battlefield. Pin keeps, needle holders, pincushions, make-dos all began to be a reflection of one's status, artistic ability, frugalness and expression. A few are shown here to demonstrate the endless variety.
* Bead work needle keep from the Iroquois made for the trade, felt Southern Belle, antique tulip needle kit, tattered silk tomato.
* This antique piece was made by an Old Order Mennonite that migrated North in a covered wagon, in the very early years of the 1800s. The silk, a soft faded brown is in the shape of a tulip, a common Mennonite symbol. All hand stitched, its little wool pages are still holding the needles.
*A mohair pear complete with branch stem by artist Cathy Pendleton of The Cheswick Company.
* Petite German half-doll with lace dress pincushion, Victorian metal shoe, 1920s globe (sawdust filled).
Whether mass-produced or hand-made, they all bring a touch of nostalgia, colour or uniqueness to the sewing table.
Because I live in the "House of Stuff" I'm always looking for different ways to put the goodies and castoffs I collect to use. By spray painting an old brass candelabra silver (complete with mythical dolphins on the base), mounting a silver plate seashell on top and adding bits and bobs from drawers, boxes, the bead store and the dollar store, I have created a new fantasy pin keep.
A few pearl headed pins, silver Abalone thimble, some pearl fairy beads to the wings and a handmade Swarovski crystal tiara complete the theme.
I've named her The Pearl Fairy Make-Do.
And you thought I was lying around in the hammock watching the clouds go by.