Sunday, November 11, 2012

One of life’s great questions answered!

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.



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Tami C said...

Thanks for sharing this about your mother's tomato pin cushion. I would dearly love to have my mother's but i'm sure my brother threw it out or gave it away when he put her in a nursing home after her alzheimer's got really bad. You really ended up with a life's worth of needles! :-)

elizajane said...

If that had been my mothers I would have saved some pieces to add to the scrapbook page that holds her old needle packages, What a great find.

Jeannie Andrews said...

I agree this has been a lovely find. I look back and think about the things I wish I had saved, but at the time they didn't really mean anything to me. Now, of course, I am older and wiser and more sentimental. I do have my husband's Grandmother's sewing kit which has treasures in it I can only "imagine" about, never having spoken to anyone about its contents. I envy you having your mother's tomato pin cushion. Lucky you.

Anonymous said...

I really like my tomato, even though it eats needles.

Amy Eileen Koester said...

I put my needles sideways on one side of the tomato rather than sticking them in like pins. Also helps to leave a bit of thread.

beaquilter said...

that's amazing!! gosh. THAT many needles!! good find ;)

Rhonda R Barrett said...

I still have my grandmothers tomato, but my prize possession, she kept pins in a metal Sucrets tin. I think of her everytime I look at it. Such great memories.

Annieofbluegables said...

astounding!!! I always wondered what was inside those tomatoes. Saw dust, lump of mud? and SIXTY SEVEN needles?????? wow what a discovery. I'm glad you posted!

MaryG said...

Did you open the little strawberry? Was it full of metal filings? In the old days, that was the needle sharpener/polisher and where my mom parked her needles. I do the same thing that Amy Eileen Koester does - park them sideways in the pincushion with a little thread still in.

Jan said...

The quilting/sewing equivalent to the dryer eating socks? If you get a new tomato, perhaps some day it will be a treasure for a future quilter.

Ann in the UP said...

I thank you for solving that little mystery. It's quite amazing! That must be where a great many of mine are hiding!

Sherri | Thread Riding Hood said...

Funny! One of my readers sent me over to your site after I posted my Saturday Sewing Survey about my mom's pincushion a few days ago. I am amazed at how many needles you found! If you want to come over and answer the survey the link is here: I'd love it if you'd add your story to the comments.

Oh - and is it ok if I add a link and/or photo from your post to my next Survey post? I do a little review of last week's survey before I post the new one every week. I would need to know by this Friday (Jan 17) - Thanks so much for your time!