Friday, April 10, 2009

The Common Pin.

In my collection of quilting tools are a variety of pins. Steel common pins, brightly topped pins, small sequin pins, long flower-headed pins, pins I have made with Shrinky Dink plastic, safety pins and more. They are useful, needful objects for any home sewer and especially quilters. Like tiny, sharp fingers they hold fabric together freeing your hands and making it easier to sew. They allow you to match and hold points accurately. Well, as accurately as possible. Pins are easy to take for granted.

It wasn't always so. Back in the 14th and 15th centuries pins were scarce and costly. Women in England would save for an entire year to purchase plain pins, the sale of which occurred on the first two days of January only by Parliament rule. Their savings became known as pin money, a term still used today for dollars saved for a purpose, like fabric for your stash.

Pins in the early years of our own country were kept in safe places, either in a small box or stuck into a pinkeep. Over the years pinkeeps have gone from small pillows stuffed with wool or sand to much more elaborate and decorative items. The pinkeep above is one I made from a rose pot weighted with flax seed and sealed with a layer of felted wool. The bulb is silk ribbon, hand-stitched and stuffed with raw wool fleece. The lanolin found in the wool prevents steel pins and needles from rusting. I don't really use this one, it just adorns my sewing room.

This little chicken was purchased in Paducah, KY at the National Quilt Museum. I just love it. I keep it on my sewing machine and jab pins into it while I sew. Oh, poor thing!
While I can make a quick trip to the store to replace lost pins, I do try to keep them safely tucked away. If I drop them, I make sure to pick them up before I sweep or vacuum. They are only thrown away when they become bent or broken. I have pinkeeps and containers all over my sewing room to hold them. I think I might be a pin addict.
What about you? Where do you keep your pins?


commoncents said...

I really like your blog! Keep up the great work!!

Utah Grammie said...

You know, anything in your hands is anything but common! Your pinkeep was and is the most beautiful (as seen in Mary Jane' Farm magazine!!!)

Love the little chickie - and she looks wonderful on your machine - Have a Happy Easter,my friend :-0

Betty said...

Well, since I'm not a seamstress or quilter, I have very few pins. Actually, they are in the box in which I purchased them about 25 years ago. Yep, same little pins with very little use. Glad to see your pin keeps get put to really good use!

parTea lady said...

Very interesting about the pin money. I like your little chick from Paducah - my purchase when I went to the quilt show there was a vintage teapot, bought in town while sightseeing.

Christy said...

I use a magnetic pin pal. I love it, because when I drop my pins they are so easy to pick-up!

Agnes said...

I love that pincushion chickie, is there a pattern for that somewhere?