here’s a few pieces from my own, mostly thrift shop find – needlecraft collection !!

nancy needle # 1
hand blown glass pin cushion. ca. 1960 ? maybe earlier. don’t know.
paid $4.

nancy needle # 2
early Victorian pin cushion – late 1800s ?
paid $12.

nancy needle # 3
pumpkin pin cushion, early 1900s ? not sure.

nancy needle # 4
top: hand-carved DIY bone crochet hook. the manufactured hand-made ones, had fancy work at the handle’s other edge.
early 1880s ? it has a really nice ‘used’ feel to it. I like to think a sailor made it from whalebone – but I’m not sure.
some were actually made from cow bone.
bottom: 2 porcupine quills. from a nature store that was in SOHO, back in the day, the 1990’s – selling (illegal) black market animal skeletons, alligator heads, and shells, etc. now closed.
Native American Indians used these to decorate their clothes made from animal, mostly deer deer hides, before they were able to trade for European beads. they would dye the quills with (permanent) natural vegetable dyes, colors like red or black. then put the quills between their teeth and flatten them, making sure to retain the sharp points. and then ‘thread’ them through the softened animal hides.

nancy needle # 5
sharp points – man-made and found in nature.

nancy needle # 6
felt embroidery ‘farm’ scene. ca. Woodstock days – late 1960s.
child’s sleeve cuff.

nancy needle # 7
mother of pearl buttons. yep back in the day – way back – buttons were made from shells.
back in the day of the Lower East Side, pre 2000 – you could find all these old creaky old sewing goods emporiums all along lower Broadway south of Houston. usually run by ancient old Jewish men in yarmulkas, they were fantastic treasure troves of vintage needle goods. esp buttons and ribbons. the stock had not been updated for at least 100 years, even 200.
not joking.
when the buildings became more valuable – than the goods – (for a long time they were worth zip), they were sold, and now you can find OLD NAVY and STARBUCKS instead.

nancy needle # 8
the old yiddisha men used to pull the mother of pearl buttons out in small sacks – like they were gold.
some were very raw.

nancy needle # 9
some were very finished.
. . . all could take you back – to – HOME ON THE PRAIRIE – days. at the very least. some of the stuff even went back to Colonial times.