Have Your Say

21st August 2020

Your Favourite Gadgets - Part 2

As we mentioned last week, most stitchers are in love with their gadgets. For many of us, our stitching gadgets don’t just add to the pleasure of our stitching time, but they also provide a precious link with stitchers of the past. This week we continue to share more of your fantastic responses dedicated to this seemingly never-ending love affair:

Susan Furca

‘I’m very sad to say that I no longer have my oldest gadget. It was a teeny tiny latch hook with a wooden handle. My mom got it in the 1930s or 1940s when it was sold to repair stockings.’

‘It was fabulous for fishing little ends under other stitches to secure them. The wooden handle split one day, and then I lost the tiny hook in a move. Clover makes a similar tool (shown here), but it is clunky by comparison.’

It sounds like it was a fantastic tool, specifically designed during a period when we would mend rather than throw away. What a shame that it is no longer made – a tool crafted perfectly to catch those pesky ends sounds ideal.

Robyne Undy

‘I still use my great grandmother’s 1904 James Swan sterling silver thimble made in Birmingham.’

‘Her name was Isobella Ross. She was widowed at age 49, then died aged 79 in 1950 after working hard all her life to raise her eight surviving children. She delivered babies, washed and mended the linens for the local hotels and in her spare time she embroidered, crocheted and made clothes for her children.’

This is the perfect story to show how the gadgets from the past form the connection with the stitchers of today. If only that thimble could talk – what lessons would it impart?!

Penelope Williams

‘This was a birthday present from my dad in 1951 or 1952 and as you can see, it still works!’

They don’t make them like they used to, do they? Your sewing machine looks like it has been very well cared for Penelope and what a lovely memento to have kept from your father.

Pat Armour

‘I have too many favourite gadgets to choose just one but something that is never far from my working area is a pin cushion. I have many beautiful ones stitched by friends, functional ones that aren’t much more than a fold of fabric, commercial ones, and the one shown below.’

‘This came from my husband’s family farm. Unfortunately, the date and the maker’s name are lost but we cherish this most unique piece of recycling created from a cow’s hoof, some velvet, and some string art held in place with glass head pins. Who knows which of our treasures will be smile-inducing for our own decedents?’

Well Pat we have to admit, this unusual pincushion was probably the most surprising of all the gadgets our readers shared with us and we don’t think there’d be too many others like it in the world!

Jo Kolar

‘The photo below is of my awl, which is somewhere around 100 years old. It belonged to my grandmother, who was in her 80s when she died.  I use it both as an awl and as a laying tool and think of both my granny and my mum every time I use it.’

‘The awl lives permanently in my embroidery kit so it’s always at hand. After Granny died my mum kept it, although I don’t ever remember seeing her using it, I spotted it one day amongst her crochet hooks, and remarked that I vaguely remembered Granny using it. Mum thought that as I embroidered, I probably had more use for it than she did. I really treasure my little gadget and enjoy the feel of it in my hand.’

Such a beautiful story Jo, we love that your awl is still in use today after faithfully serving three generations and counting…

Joyce Bargh

‘When you asked us to relate the oldest object we had in our house I remembered my grandma’s dressmaking scissors. She was born in 1872 and was dressmaking before she was 20.’

‘I never met her, but I remember my mother using these scissors and I have used them myself. I think of her every time I use them.’

Every time you pick up your favourite gadget, it is lovely to take a moment to imagine whether our great-grandchildren or even their children might be using it in years to come. What might they think of it? And will they feel that very same connecting thread that we feel to our forebears? We can only hope they will.

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