My mother sent me these vintage needle booklets for Christmas – aren’t they wonderful? She said in her note that she found them at a “second hand sale” and as soon as I opened them I felt an immediate and powerful connection to the sewist who used them.
My favorite tools are always the ones I make myself. I made the needle book below a few years ago when I was going through a bit of OCD while trying to embroider a proper bullion rose.
The “cover” is filled with two pieces of plastic canvas zigzagged round the edges, then trimmed. I added flannel pages and stitched a center “binding” between the pieces of plastic canvas. I have a collection of vintage needles I that like to use for embroidery and hand sewing, so I store them in this booklet.
I have this fantasy that the woman who made the vintage needle books was just as pleased as I was when she finished hers. The fronts and back are two colors of wool felt, and the pages are white flannel. The butterfly is missing one antenna, but the simple silk floss embellishment is still bright. The flower basket is embellished with posies stitched from french knots and lazy daisy stitches for leaves. The handle of the basket folds down to show the needles. Based on the shapes and colors I’d say both date from the late 1930’s to mid 1940’s. I love the imagery from this era because it reminds me of my grandmother and my great aunts.
I doubt I’ll take the needles out – I’d rather leave them just as they are, as they were, the last time the unkown maker touched them. A sewing moment frozen in time; a tangible link to the past and a respite from modern life.