I’ve become the keeper of my partner’s grandmother’s sewing box. Mimi died several years ago, and I never really knew her. I feel like I can kind of get to know her now, though. A little bit, through the stuff in her sewing box.

In it are a few pairs of scissors, countless sewing needles and safety pins (many with dry-cleaning tags still attached), more iron-on patches than I’ll ever use (but I can already think of some applications), and lots of thread. Lots and lots of thread.

In addition to around ten plastic spools, there are a couple dozen wooden spools of thread. I don’t know much more than that they’re old – some stamped with a cost of 19¢.

Do you know anything about the history of thread? I’d love to learn more about when she may have purchased some of these. Leave a comment, or make a note on the photos on Flickr. I’d very much appreciate any help you can give!

And don’t worry, I’ll use the thread. Though some of the spools have certainly remained nearly unused for decades, I get the impression from the rest of the contents of the box that Mimi was practical about mending.

I could be totally wrong. But that’s okay. It would be a shame for items of such practical beauty to sit unused.

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Holli Yeoh

What a treasure! I so much prefer the wooden spools to the “new fangled” plastic ones. I find even the thread is of a much better quality on those old spools. Enjoy.

My mother inherited my grandmother's recipe box, and it is a similar treasure. All the dishes my dad grew up with, recipes I remember her making, and a pile of things from friends and family. It's such a beautiful way to remember a loved one!


Seems funny to read that you think these threads are so old, cause they don't seem that old to me, I still have thread like these in my personal stash and I am only 59 years old. You know store bought clothing didn't really start to get inexpensive (like it is now) until the late 60's and a wise person knew how to hem, sew a button, and repair an unraveled seam and everyone had some kind of sewing kit, even bachelors. When I was in elementary school NO one could wear a TShirt to school because it was considered underwear and they only came in WHITE! but I digress…..use the thread but check the strength of the spools first cause cotton thread can get rotten depending on how it was stored and the type of climate t was stored in-humid climates are hard on thread and fabric.


that is good to hear, look forward to hearing what others have to say about the origins of the spools.

Tina Ticknor

It looks like you have a lot of wooden spools in that stash. Have you ever seen the work by Kent Carver? ( http://www.kentcarver.com) I saw his work at an art show a couple of years ago and thought it was a unique way to memorialize a crafter in your life.

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