Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's in her workbasket?

I mentioned last time that my cousin S gave me a gift at our get-together. I was thrilled and touched when she gave me our grandmother's sewing box! She has had it for several years and thought I would enjoy looking at it.


When I opened it, I could tell right away this was a working basket, and it tells me a lot about my grandma, so I thought I would repeat the meme that came out some time ago, "Show us your sewing basket."


It is lined with pale green satin, and the first thing you see are two hankies:

The first one out of very fine linen with her maiden name monogram.


She did white-work before she was married. I remember her showing off a piece of white-work stitching when I was in college, and she told me then it was done before she was married. It is possible this work was too "fancy" to be useful for a farmer's wife, but I know she treasured the pieces she had; and this is another proof of that.

The second one has her first name initial done in extremely fine cross stitch with a tatted edging. I was so thrilled when I saw this one I got tears in my eyes. This one wasn't made for anyone else, it was made for her, and was kept separate, in a safe place. It must have been special to her.


There are a couple of lengths of crocheted lace and a beaded necklace. I remember her making these necklaces when I was a kid too. I didn't think they were very beautiful back then, but I have made some like it since then.


There is also a very pretty crocheted doily. I am tempted to wash and block this one just to see its full beauty. I will test a couple of threads first though, to make sure it will not disintegrate.


This is fun, it is a little tiny leather purse, very worn (there are a couple of holes in it). I wonder if she used it for pin money. She never had too much "mad" money, she was a widow raising 4 children, and supporting her parents and sister as well. When S and I were talking on Saturday, we were both wondering how she did it.


Now we get to the real meat of the matter, the tools. I was amazed by everything that was included here.


There are two tatting shuttles, and three pouches with different sizes of crochet hooks, plus two additional hooks (one a size 12, so fine you can hardly see the hook). There's a ruler, two scissors, a hairpin lace loom, and a shoe button hook (I think that is what it is). Very organized, very neat, with nothing extra. Oh, I take that back, there is one double pointed knitting needle. I wonder where the rest of the set is?

There are a couple more things that I didn't get pictures of, a spool of white and a spool of black thread, a couple of needles, a ball of tatting thread, and a worn thimble. All necessary things that were used, and taken care of.

This was the basket of a real needle woman. It is a real lesson to me too, that I do not need rooms full of stash to be fulfilled in my "work" (as she called it).

Miss you grandma!


MOM said...

I think it's beautiful what you see about grandma from things she used and left. I agree that she was a remarkable woman, resilient and resourceful, as well as, maybe because she was a strong Christian and had her Lord to rest on. "Her (grand) children arise and call her blessed."

Temari Addict Australia said...

Thank you for such a lovely post. Our grandmothers age group were such strong and sensible ladies. Heaven only knows how they did manage to raise their family though the hard times often faced. What amazes me is their ability to convey the impression of always having enough to cater for all needs. My Grandma could always stretch a meal to fill everyone's tummy with good healthy homemade (often homegrown) foods.

Your post makes me miss my Grandma too.

Moonsilk Stitches said...

What a lovely post! Made me miss my mom (and grandmas). I have my grandma's mending basket--mostly for darning socks. I haven't looked at it in ages...

Lelia said...

thx for sharing. what treasures you found in her basket!

Laura B said...

What a beautiful box. Thanks for sharing.