Monday, October 31, 2011

Story of a pincushion

Yesterday I went to yet another auction to accrue yet more stuff. It was way out in the boondocks, at a farm on a very long straight road that went on forever, and disappeared into the haze. (I am not only being very poetic, but it my attempt to say it was bloody hot out there!) It reminded me of (what my idea) of Kansas must look like. Long straight  roads, massive plains, big farms with old farmhouses, decaying outbuildings and silos. We don't have the great barns that the yanks have, but the scenery still pulled on my heartstrings as I sang (repeatedly) "Wide Open Road" by the Triffids. Thanks goodness I was by myself,  I think a passenger would have throttled me by the fifth rendition!

A bit grubby...I haven't cleaned them up yet!
Anyhoo...the deceased estate auction was pretty good...lots of locals and only three dealers that I could see were present. I had my eye on a few items, gen-u-ine cowhide suitcases (got two out of three), stetson hats (got em), cute german vintage alarm clock (nada), vintage table top pinball machine (nada) and of course vintage fabric and notions. There was a goodly amount and bidding was fierce. There were about three other women and an older man, the husband of a lady who had an accent, vying for the the sewing items. I only got a small amount of the haul, the prices were quite high. The husband got most of the fabric, and when he won, he picked it up and place it on the ground in front of  his wife saying, "Here you go mother. This will keep you occupied." It was an incredibly sweet gesture.

I degress, this is the story of a pincushion. In one box of rubbish which there was a lovely little silver plate  pin tin (Victorian/Edwardian) with three thimbles in it. They weren't silver, and were much worn. Also in the bottom of the box was this pincushion.

I bid for the box, but pulled out when it got too high. Another woman who had bought some other sewing notions eventually won. I knew that she was after the thimbles and tin but I had my eye on the pincushion. This was a pretty laid back auction, so I approached her and asked if she would like to sell me the pincushion. She looked at it, and said....and this is the gist of the whole rant, "OK, it is only handmade!"

I will give you a few moments peoples to pull yourselves together. "Only handmade!"

This little pincushion (with the tin) were easily the oldest items at the auction. I would place them conservatively at 1900's to 1930's. Given their age and their personal nature, I would assume that they belonged to the mother of the person of the estate. I like to think that these were incredibly valuable items to the lady who died. Apart from rust marks from pins, and a bit of yellowing, this pincushion is in beautiful condition.

Also, given the high prices of all the sewing notions at the auction,  wouldn't you think there would be a high value put on the handmade, particularly this form of feminine history? But no. Silver plate is put before something that was laboured over, and beautifully constructed.

Oh well, it was to my benefit. I now own the pincushion and can construct many little pathetic and heart rending stories about its life. One thing is for sure...I value it and value the work and love that originally went into its construction. "Only handmade!" eye!

I am playing along with Sophie today.


  1. Really loved your description of the auction and I think the pincushion is beautiful.

  2. Some people just dont see the beauty we see.Glad you got it

  3. What a relief someone with a bit of sense and a heart stepped in to rescue this. It now carries a fascinating genuine story along with the countless imagined one you, and people like me dream up.
    Only Handmade! Swearing would be less offensive.

    LOVED the leg story, laughed for ages over it!

  4. OH that little assisi-work pincushion is the BEST!

    Glad you saved it....

  5. At least you know that you are not the only one to appreciate the pin cushion because you are sharing it with us -thank-you!

  6. Love your description of Kansas (my home). Pretty accurate, but "massive plains" are more like "massive wheat fields". Gorgeous pincushion and foolish lady who didn't want the "homemade" item!

  7. Hope you got it for less because it, I can't say it!



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