In 1979 my step-mother gave me an old needlebook – as a daily sewer, I’ve used it often, even taking it around the world where ever I went. It’s so useful, and yet, I’ve never come across another and I didn’t even know what it was called until recently.
It’s hand-sewn out of old upholstery linen, probably surrounding a cardboard insert (it’s quite stiff) and is lined with cotton sateen. I estimate the linen dates from the 1930s and the cotton sateen might even be a bit older. It’s faded on the edges from where it’s been exposed to sunlight.
Inside is a piece of worsted wool, into which the needles, pins etc are stuck. You can see how well used it is – some of these pins and needles go back to my earliest days of sewing in the early 1970s. They’ve stained the wool in places!
I use my needlebook a lot, and recently I’ve been wondering why I haven’t seen any others – so I showed it to Pene Durston of Cottage Industry, as she’s knowledgeable about these things. It was Pene who told me what they were called, and said that she was sure that she had a similar linen. Lo and behold – on Friday she brought me a present:
Pene’s version is lined in a cute paisley print – and is also hand-stitched.
You’re probably feeling the need of a needlebook of your own by now, so I can tell you that they’re available for sale at Cottage Industry, 67 Gertrude Street for only $28! And they come ready loaded with a few needles and pins, which came in very handy when I had to patch the dress I wore to a wedding on Saturday and found that my own needlebook had been left at the stock room (you can see the remnants of my black thread if you look closely).