Scarves are the New Socks

Designs of the Other Needle

Needlework has been a part of my life since around the age of 8 when my mother thought me a few simple embroidery stitches.  My love of handwork has grown, continued and has always been more enjoyable than working on a sewing machine.  In the mid-1990s I fell hard for counted thread embroidery.  The variety of designs and stitches, the history (young grrls and women have been taught  the techniques of counted thread for centuries) and lovely fabrics and threads, drew me in. The items I love to stitch most were neccessairés and needlebooks.

The picture above is a small collection of needlebooks I've stitched (one was a gift from a friend) and the picture belows shows the inside of two. Needlebooks are a place to keep needles together and safely stowed. The first holds paper packets of needles and the second, more elaborate, case has linen pages to hold the needles, scissors (beneath the needle pages) and pincushion, that also acts as a pinkeep (the white dots around the edge are pins). It is also a keepsake of the occasion in which I took the class with my name and date included.


Groupofcountedthreadnecassaires_2 Neccessairés are collections of decorative items, usually in a case of some sort, that have a purpose.  Elegant antique apothecaries, travel sets and sewing cases are very collectible in todays market.  Many a young woman through the ages were presented with a neccessairé of sewing tools when she came of age. Woman of all walks of life could make up a sewing roll (sailors also made neccessairé to take to sea) either of elegant fabrics, or of scraps, and safely keep the needles and other sewing tools together, always at the ready. Todays designers create with the past in mind, but use ideas of their own.  For several years I (almost) obsessively stitched one piece after another and have quite a collection of needlebooks and neccessairés. Several of my handstitched neccessairés are in the picture on the side.  The pictures below are of the contents housed inside: scissors with fobs, needlebooks, pinkeeps, beeswax, thread winders (to hold the precious silk threads) and rulers of ivory.


One of my favorite neccessairés is the Swan Lake Sewing Case.  Five of us, friends and/or acquaintances, headed to Phoenix, I believe it was late 2001, to take the class. We were all in the same guild and knew we were around the same age.  As we traveled we shared stories, chatted the hours away and found we were all born in the same year.  Many other similarities were found and we all became closer friends on the trip.  Before we sewed our stitching into the finished shape we made sure all our names were included on each and every one of our neccessairés.


There are many mementos tucked inside this little bag and each one brings back the nostalgia of the trip, the class and each and every friend who shared the event. They are dated 2002 as it took a long time to stitch all the pieces. 

and knitting have enhanced and changed my life in so many beautiful ways.  For them both I am eternal grateful.

N is for Neccessairés, Needlebooks and Needlework.  


Lovely. Cross-stitch and needlework bring back such happy memories. Now I only cross stitch Christmas ornaments -- which have only added to the happy thoughts and memories. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful letter "N"

The work is stunning, and the N is beautifully done. Your hands are so talented.

Your talents never cease to amaze me..touching blog entry and such lovely work..and a perfect N tribute!~

Beautifully done!

"N" is also for Neat! Thank you!

You haven't tempted me to spinning, but oh, I must get back to my embroidery! So much fun, so little time! There's Summer of Socks 08, and I need to finish the last shawl knit-along before the next begins (need the needles). Yet I want to play with my DMC, too.

Incredible handwork! And what a great N is For!

Those are beautiful, Margene!

How lovely and tiny. I did counted cross stitch in the 90's and loved it. I also did needlepoint. Both have been set aside for knitting and spinning, but I can see going back to the needlepoint some day. It has always been love of mine. Thanks for sharing your pretties with us.

Cool post! I have a little needle case my friend Nancy made for me before she passed away. I treasure it.

You have such wonderful stories for all yours!

Ooh, my fingers are itching....

The needlecases are my favorite. Wonderful memories stitched into each one.

Oh, my fingers are itching. If I ever get over the knitting buy, I'm going right back to needlework. With much stronger glasses!

Beautiful, Margene! Timelessly sweet, too.

Thank you so much for sharing. I always loved cross-stitch though I am only JUST beginning to really appreciate it's history and see even more possibility for ALL forms of stitching in my life. Your projects are lovely and impeccable as always. I have always loved how everything crafty that you do you aim for your highest possible - it's inspirational.

awesome! I have never heard of these before, thank you for sharing.

Oh, just wonderful! Thank you for sharing. Funny enough, I have a few posts set to launch next week that you might find amusing!

Great N. It's always so nice when you share the work of your other needles. You're so gifted.

Oh! My other needle love...
Wonderful N, Margene.

Wow Margene - what beautiful and fabulous work! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Oh, you have lovely stitched keepsakes. And the stories that go along are priceless. I used to do counted cross stitch years ago and loved it.

These are wonderful! I've always wanted to see some of your needlework. What lovely little treasures!

How wonderful a collection. You have a real store of little secrets, dontcha?!

I have loved evenweave needlework for years, as well, but never accomplished anything that is a lovely as yours!
How pretty it all is...(and so much more useful than all the "pictures" I painted in floss!)

Lovely. Thank you for sharing your memories. :D

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