Wednesday, September 7, 2011


When my grandmother was born in 1918, her mother was a milliner and accomplished seamstress. As a precious only child (until her brother was born in 1928), little-girl Pearl was always dressed to the nines in velvet and ribbons. Grandma herself would have had the sewing skills of most women in her generation: sewing on buttons, patching worn spots, darning socks, and making clothes last a little longer were part of being a wife and mother of the mid-twentieth century.

When Grandma moved into a seniors' residence, she no longer needed her sewing kit, and gave it to my mother to pass along to me. Within its depths, I found a wealth not all might appreciate, but which I greatly treasure.

Needles wrapped in perfect, tiny envelopes, bragging of the quality within.

Imagine, having a century's worth of needle-making skills that would allow you to guarantee the quality of your product!

It would appear that Abel Morrall's claims are true: these are fine needles.

Wooden spools with beautiful labels.
And this beautiful little book, full of all-purpose patterns for most basic knitting needs!

The item I love the most is this fabric measuring tape, marked timelessly in inches, even though in Canada, we "officially" use the metric system. I imagine my grandmother's hands measuring her child for a sweater, and even HER mother's hands measuring my little-girl Grandma.

Some women inherit diamond rings or precious china. I inherited the tools of a woman's work, imbued with the history of my foremothers. I am rich, indeed.


  1. I have some of my great-grandmother's sewing things as well: tiny sharps with microscopic eyes for sewing fine silks, like stockings, and a "sewing bird" for holding hems straight, some turned needle cases and my favorite, glass-headed pins with irregular heads (hand made, no doubt) in many colors.

    Are they not wonderful to handle and use?

  2. What gorgeous treasures! They would look beautiful in a shadow box all togther,perhaps with a picture of your grandmother. You are lucky indeed :)

  3. What treasures! So exciting to discover things from our past that mean so much to us

  4. What an intriguing peek into the the label about the needles. What pride people had in their work.....sure do miss that these days.

  5. Okay, first I want you to know that I DO read your posts shortly after you've posted them, even if you don't see any words from me in a timely fashion. Timely is not something my life allows for at present. But I am visiting, and drinking in every delicious post.

    Second, I completely understand where you're coming from. These are riches that get right on down to the nitty gritty of life - no wonder you love it, Knitty Gritty!

    And I love the "1st size". Language fascinates me.

  6. Just as these beautiful treasures mean much to you, so do old cookbooks resonate with me. What women cooked for their families and friends fascinates me! xo


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