Some time ago I posted about cleaning out my red tomato pincushion. You can find that post here. I remember being astounded at finding so many objects that had sunk inside nearly out of reach.
The other day I noticed crumbs on my cutting table. Looking more closely I saw that the poor pincushion was leaking its sawdust stuffing. I considered a mending job, but saw that there were too many breaks in the fabric. Sadly I decided that this was the end of the line – the pincushion had been my mother’s and could easily be 50 years old. The fabric had stood up very well during its long life.
As I held the pincushion and pondered its fate something poked my finger and I realized that even though I had removed 15 needles last year, there must still be a few left inside. How many, I wondered – perhaps as many as 10?
Working over a dishpan I cut open the pincushion with scissors. As I shook out the sawdust there was a glimpse of something shiny inside. Needles! (and a lump of mud mixed in with the sawdust!)
I carefully removed the needles and shook out more sawdust. More needles! More sawdust. This is what I had when I had sifted through the last of the stuffing:
There were 67 needles inside! A couple of sewing machine needles, several tapestry needles, LOTS of “ordinary needles” – sharps in various sizes. Many of these must be left over from Mum’s days of sewing. She sewed clothing and loved to finish hems and buttonholes with her fine hand-stitching. I also found about a packet worth of my favourite crewel needles, the ones that are lovely and fine to sew with, but have a long eye that is easy to thread.
To think that all these years I have been wondering where needles all go when they disappear. I know that it is called a PIN cushion – perhaps that should be a hint that it will swallow the needles if I am foolish enough to put them there.
Now the needles are tucked away (safely in a needle-book made of felt) and I should have enough to last for many years. But I feel rather bereft when I see the empty dish where the tomato used to sit. Even though I have plenty of other pin-cushions I know I will have to replace that red tomato.