Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Shaker Sewing Boxes

I recently visited the New Britain Museum of American Art here in Connecticut. It was an interesting museum with art for the 1700's through to modern day, so quite the range of styles on show.

While there I was lucky to catch an exhibition in one of the galleries that featured Shaker boxes and most of those on display were sewing boxes! The collection is part of a larger one owned by Stephen and Miriam Miller.

From the Museum website:
 In the 1780s, the Shakers established a number of relatively self-sufficient villages spread from Maine to Kentucky. Initially, the Shakers separated themselves from the outside world to allow themselves the freedom to pursue their unique spiritual vision and communal lifestyle. It was not long before they realized that complete isolation was not actually possible for a functional community, as there were certain items, including glass, ceramics, metals, and salt, that they could not produce from their lands. A cash economy was required, and thus they began to create objects, such as “fancy” baskets and sewing carriers, for sale.
While the Shakers fully embraced the concept of “profit,” they scrupulously adhered to the same standards of high quality production that were applied when creating objects for their own use. This exhibition offers viewers the opportunity to compare and contrast objects made for use by the Shakers, such as the large sewing chest from Enfield, Connecticut, and objects made for sale, including a number of oval sewing boxes, from Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

The  photo shows Brother Delmer Wilson (1873-1961)in his workshop in 1923, along with 1,083 oval sewing boxes that he made in that year alone!  The machine in the foreground is one he customized for large scale production of the boxes.

The first sewing carriers made in 1896 were round ones and then production switched to oval and they were made in the tens of thousands well into the 1950's. Brother Wilson produced the bodies and the Shaker sisters at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community in Maine were responsible for lining them with silk and attaching the hand-made pin cushions, emery bags and needlecases. The cases were sold in the community's own gift shop as well as at resorts in New England and by catalog.

I wonder where all of the other boxes and baskets are now? I would love to have one in my collection!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

What I've been working on

A good friend of mine's daughter is getting married later this year and I wanted to make her a personal gift from me to her, so I have made a small sewing hussif. I have made several of this type of hussif, the first for myself to match my sewing reticule (a class with the late Beverley Sheldrick).

My sewing reticule

My sewing hussif

I made another for a friend's daughter who married a few years ago as a gift. It was something useful (there's always a button needs sewing on even if you don't sew for a hobby) and it had a connection as to how I came to know the bride-I met her mother through sewing and SAGA.

I added items that might be useful-safety pins; snaps;needles

So my latest hussif was for that same reason- I met the brides mother via sewing and SAGA.

This one is waiting to be filled with useful items!
The scissors and needle threaders.
I have also made a couple more, which I gave as Christmas gifts to the mothers of the girls.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Old Irons and Machines

While in New York the other day I spotted a great display in the window of a dry cleaners in Greenwich Village. It was full of old irons and sewing machines!

Sorry about the quality of the photos, but the sun was shining on the windows so it made photos hard to take!

Then across the street was a chocolate shop, selling chocolate in the shape (and sizes) of champagne bottles- what more could a girl want?

Monday, September 11, 2017

More Needles

So, after I blogged about the artistic needle packets so full of information and free offers, I found this little gem at an antique store.

It is metal and opens to reveal the needles.

How cute is this?

Okay I have several other needle cases that are more collectable, but this just took my fancy.

And today we get our needles in a plastic case or tube.

I like the old fashioned way!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

I think I am Psychic!

I was in an antique shop the other day browsing around and found a pile of linens. I do not need any more linens-but you still have to look-right?

I started looking through the box of hankies and found a lovely one with pink embroidery and the initial 'A' on it. There was shadow work, granitos, stem stitch, satin stitch, pin stitch to name a few of the stitches in the design.

I decided to buy it as I know a young lady whose name starts with 'A' who has been dating her boyfriend for sometime and I just thought a wedding may soon be on the cards. I thought the hankie could be her something old.

Well, what do you know, the next day I get a text from her mother telling me she was engaged as of the day before-the day I bought the hankie!

See I am psychic!