I cannot count my day complete
'Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
~Author Unknown

Sharing a common thread with those who love the art of hand embroidery

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I have loved tomato pincushions for as long as I can remember..........

I have seen them used by so many seamstresses and artists. They have held pins and needles  for the dress maker, the school costume maker, the quilter, and the embroiderer.  I love to collect them.
But..............
why a tomato and a strawberry...............
to keep our pins and needles in check????...............
Have you ever wondered?
Well I do, these are the kinds of things that keep me awake at night................
amongst stitching..............
Well, here is the answer..............
The most popular design in pincushions,  a tomato with a strawberry attached,  was most likely introduced during the Victorian Era. According to folklore, placing a tomato on the mantle of a new home guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits. If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust. The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose—a place to store pins. Typically, the tomato is filled with wool roving to prevent rust, and the strawberry is filled with an abrasive to clean and sharpen the pins.
So now you know...............
And so do I!
 
How about you?
Do you collect these or is there another type of pincushion you like best?
I would love to hear!


11 comments:

Nancy said...

I love to collect tomato pincushions too! I don't have a lot of them, but I have a few I purchased at estate sales. I never knew the story behind the tomato - thank you for sharing it!

Celestina Marie said...

I am so glad to learn this info about the tomato pin cushion. I do not have any but I remember my mother having a few. I wish I had her's now. Not sure what happened to them. Your collection is wonderful lined up to enjoy.


Thank you for sharing and for stopping by and your sweet comment too.
Have a great weekend.
Hugs, Celestina Marie

Marianne C. said...

I didn't know that! Thank you for sharing those cool facts. I remember my mother, grandmothers having the tomato pin cushions...I don't have one myself, but now that you've told me the history, I think I will see them in a whole new light. I like your collection.

Have a great day, Kathleen,

Marianne xo

lil red hen said...

I've never had a tomato pin cushion. Currently I'm using a Mary Englebret (?) chair pin cushion. I also have a half doll pin cushion from Mama's things.

GardenofDaisies said...

My sister collects them. They really are a cheerful thing to collect.

Preeti said...

Thanks for sharing the origin of tomato pincushions! I don't have any pincushions, have to make one.

Cindy said...

I didn't know that fun fact, but I collect tomatoes too! I just got a couple more from my husband for Christmas. I'll have to show them on my blog some time. Take care, and have a great weekend!

papel1 said...

I have several tomato pincushions and I love them. In fact I love any pincushions that are vintage.
Judy

Marie said...

Great post! Oh, I have a new one on mt piece-fulness blog if you want to check it out...they are always so few and far between! By the way, that trick using the baking soda and peroxide to get stains out of old fabric is wonderful!

Mary @ Colony Mountain Folk Art Dolls said...

Nice post! I have several pin cushions, but my favorite is my old standby tomato pincushion.

Amy said...

Are you my twin???? I too have a collction of tomaot pincushions.Only 6 so far, but its a start. I love finding deeply buried OLD needles in them, very carefully ofcourse.