My grandmother's needles


We may have heard that old saying about characteristics or traits skipping a generation...true or not, 
I am testament to this saying in my own lineage.  In so many ways I am unlike my mother. 
Dearest heart and dearest friend that she was to me, I am different.  We were different.
It is my grandmother I resemble more.  Oh, not so much in physical features  -  although I have her genetics to thank 
for the arthritis in my hands - but in our chosen activities.  Pastimes.  Personal pursuits.

My grandmother taught me to sew.
I don't remember my mother ever using a needle.  As a single parent, she worked as an administrator in a high profile law firm.  Those are skills I will never have, neither the parenting nor the legal ones.  Grandma babysat me for long hours after school.  It was then that I learned to not only drink what she called, coffee-milk (1/4 cup of coffee to 
3/4 cup of milk...with about 3 teaspoons of white sugar), but also to play canasta, and mend.

I have kept her sewing box all these years....such a ratty old thing, which I stuck way back in a storage cupboard.
Recently when I needed a big-eyed needle, I knew where I could find one.
The box was chaos.
Bits & bobs of everything in a massive, tangled jumble.  How many six inch segments of leftover rick-rack does one need to save?  How about snaps missing their opposing sides? 

So, I held a little impromptu reorganizing party and gathered together
my fondest memories...

Grandma kept her needles in their original packages.  This one used to hold fifty...
a penny a needle. 

Do you see those numbers, 7425?  Written in my grandmother's hand.
Someone's phone number, jotted down quickly.
Back in the day, everyone in our town had the same prefix so phone numbers were always written like this.
Her sewing chair was right next to the telephone table.

Imagine...ten cents for 18 crewel needles made in England...

This is my favorite grouping 
- every needle once in use - 
but more than that, I  remember my grandmother showing my awkward, young hands 
how to re-stick the needles here.
Her fingers were gnarled & bent, yet their misshapenness was so meaningless to her...

now mine are the same.

: : :

This post is a commemoration (of sorts)...it was a year ago this week when I accidentally stabbed myself with a sewing needle and a dangerous infection, along with a long course of intravenous antibiotics, took over my right hand - and my life -
for four long months.  It was a dark time.
And it is no more.

: : :

You may have noticed there's been quite a bit of photographic experimentation going on 
around these parts of late...thanks for putting up with me  :>]]
I'm having a rip-roaring time!  Here's what I worked on today for Day 8 in 'Beyond Layers.'

In honor of.



  1. ooo I love the pics of your nana's needle packets.... I too spent long hours with (and subsequently inherited more than my share of characteristics from) my grandparents.... by chance I was thinking about my grandfather (my pop) this morning.... we were two peas in a pod, my poppy and me...

  2. Our minds have been on the same path. My Gram & Great Gram taught me to sew. My mother learned and hated every stitch. I have never stopped. I have been digging out my sewing area. I opened my Gram's box of sewing items and went down memory lane. I decided that some things needed to be used. To have her near me as I stitch. I loved to sew with her on the farm. Morning chores, a swim in the river, gardening and cooking, another swim, and then sewing in the evening. There was no tv. Just her voice and her Mother's voice telling me stories of living in England, then a sod house in Nebraska and finally Washington. I loved those evenings then and the memories of them now. Wishing you a beautiful weekend with your needles in cloth.

  3. Such a beautiful, nostalgic post. Like you my mother didnt stitch, but my Grandmother did. She did wonderful embroidery.
    But it was my Great Grandmother that taught me the most about stitching and knitting. I even remember some of those needle cases. Arent they precious.

    Jacky xox

  4. So many memories came tumbling out of the fog for me as I read your post. Bravo.

  5. me too...lots of old memories of me sitting with my grandma stitching. i have lots of old needle packs from my aunt but they are mostly rusted because she lived near the water with lots of humidity and didn't protect them. i probably could use them in my natural dyeing projects but i like having them as a remembrance. thanks for this wonderful post.

  6. oh, grandma's stuff. I have some needles of my nana's, they are bent form sewing. great stuff!

  7. Love this posting -- it brought back such dear memories of my Nana teaching me to sew after my mother passed away at an early age. She was beautiful, thanks for bringing her memory back to me.

  8. I, too, have the needles and old leather cases, boxes and more. It is a gift that we now love even more. Lovely photos.

  9. My Grandma crocheted. She didn't teach me, but inspired me to learn. My mom (aunt) crocheted too. My real mother did wonderful needlework. I guess I inherited my love of all needlework from them.

    Cool that you still have your grandmother's needles.

  10. Good morning Christi. I just wanted to let you know that I'm just preparing a post where I give you and a few others the "Liebster Blog Award". Hope you don't mind.

  11. What a lovely commemorative to your Grandmother and you certainly wouldnt get British needles at that price again lol
    Congrats on your award!

  12. Hi there! I found you thru Tanglewood Threads! I've just spent a good while browsing your wonderful blog!So nice to meet you!!

  13. I'm a bit bowled over this morning...many thanks for all of your kind comments, truly, everyone. It seems many of us treasure our memories - and mementos - from our early sewing days, sitting next to someone we loved who taught us patiently. I didn't know that so many of you would share your own stories here. It's been such a joy to read them.