Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sewing baskets, part I

I have two sewing baskets. I spend a lot of time with one of them in particular, and I'd like to share a little tour of my main basket. I keep all manner of crafting supplies inside it - tools and implements and devices to make my sewing and crocheting projects easier.

I have had this basket for a long time; the Bear gave it to me for my birthday at least ten years ago, before we had our kids. It's not a fancy basket by any means - he bought it in Walmart - but I really like it. It's spacious and I love the fabric on the outside, I bet you can imagine why! The "straw" you see is actually plastic, cleverly imitating natural straw. I'm glad they used this material because it's very sturdy. This basket has seen a good decade of hard use, but it's still looking pretty nice.

The top opens and closes on hinges and fastens with Velcro. The lid has a little pincushion built in, with a stretchy pocket. Inside the pocket is something I've just never felt like throwing away: a print-out from the internet with the pattern for the quilt I made while I was pregnant with the LB in 2005. I made him a cheerful little crib quilt in bright blues and sunny yellows. I'll have to share that, and the GB's crib quilt, sometime too.

A sturdy plastic tray rests inside the opening. This is where I store smaller items that could get lost. At a glance, you can see my everyday shears, a seam-ripper, a couple of crochet hooks (I often throw them in here when I'm working on a project), a bag of stitch markers I use in crocheting, sewing needles, yarn needles, small sewing pins, sewing machine needles and two funny little items at the back, a flowery hat and a cute brown turtle. What are they?

The turtle is a clever little tape-measure! His tail pulls out the tape inside. If you press down on the center of his back, the tape retracts. I love this little guy. His body-covering is crocheted! I can't tell about his head and limbs, I think they might be knitted, but I'm not sure.

And the little hat is a thimble case! It's also crocheted, with a little felt lining, hand-stitched in. I actually keep two thimbles in here, because they can be stacked for storage inside the crown of the hat. I am only just now learning to use a thimble; I learned to hand-sew without one, but lately I'm seeing the benefits of wearing a thimble. I especially appreciated having one when I was hand-quilting my Scrappy Trips quilt this spring. The hat and turtle were both gifts from my in-laws, who know how much I love to sew, and also have a knack for finding quirky sewing implements.

Take out the tray and what do we have below? A magnetic pin-cushion with long straight-pins, some more crochet hooks, a case full of bobbins for my sewing machine, a tomato pincushion, an embroidery hoop, pinking shears, plus a few other items.

This is a sweet little travel sewing kit given to me by my mother-in-law, who also made it. Talented lady - she wove the multi-colored fabric and put it together with the inner blue fabric like a little book, with cardboard inside the front and back, to make it sturdy. She made a large number of these kits to sell during last year's state fair, where she helps to run a booth for the local Weaver's Guild, of which she is a member. She sold every one of them on the first day. Lucky me, she saved one for me before she took them to the fair. I take it on the road all the time.

My bobbin case has two types of bobbins in it because I haven't parted with the bobbins from my old sewing machine. I got a new one about three years ago, and it's amazing. But the old one was special to me because it was the machine I learned on when I was a teenager. It was a very simple Kenmore machine from the 70's, and had belonged to my mother. It used steel bobbins, whereas my new machine, a Brother, uses plastic ones. I don't have the Kenmore any longer; it was in very bad condition and not even worth fixing (again), but for some reason I have hung onto the bobbins. I can be kind of sentimental, in case you hadn't noticed.

Have you ever used little "nippers" like these? I love this thing. The Bear gave it to me a few years ago (I think he put it in my Christmas stocking) and it's really handy. It normally has a plastic sheath over the blades but I took it off for the photo. One thing about this guy that I really appreciate is that he's constantly giving me cutting implements. You name it - Leatherman tools for my purse, Swiss Army knives, scissors, garden clippers, X-Acto knives, safety razors for cleaning the glass cooktop - it's Knife Central around here. He likes gadgets. He also keeps my kitchen knives exhilaratingly sharp.

I also have very old scissors. This case, and its contents, belonged to my maternal grandmother, who was a dressmaker. The case itself is leather, very soft and smooth. It's beginning to crack along the spine and I really should take better care of it. I don't use these scissors much anymore, but I did for a long time. My mother gave this case to me when my grandmother died, since I took after her with my love of sewing. The case came from "West Germany" sometime during the 1950's; my grandfather would have picked it up during one of his Naval tours in Europe. My grandmother was very talented and had her own business making wedding gowns, dresses and other clothing. I didn't know her terribly well, and she died when I was 19, so I am proud to have these items which once belonged to her.

And that's my sewing basket. I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my crafty life, beyond the actual things I make. Maybe you'd like to share what's in your baskets too? I'd really love to see. I will share my other basket sometime soon. It's one of my favorite possessions and very special to me.


  1. I bought a 3-tier wooden sewing box at a bootfair for £5. The lady nearly cried when I bought it as it used to belong to her mother. It holds buttons, threads, ribbons, needles, pins and other things. It takes pride of place out on display and is used every day.

  2. Oh that was wonderful - I love seeing what other people have to hand (yes in other words I'm just downright nosey!) Your family sound like they know what you like very well - fancy having in laws that can track down such quirky gifts! Love the story behind your scissor case - I wonder how many clothes that made back in the day. Thank you so much for showing us - I think I'd have to give mine a proper sort out before I could show anybody! Jane x

  3. I enjoyed that, love a nosey round other peoples crafty bits. I love the wee turtle, what brilliant presents :) xx

  4. Love your sewing box! How great that you have your grandmother's scissor set, all the more special. How do you keep your box so very neat? Love that. I just bought one at a sale a couple weeks ago and am going to use it for some of my craft supplies. Great post. :) Pam

  5. I love this post, I wish my sewing boxes were as neat as yours.
    You have some lovely items in there, I especially like the 1950s
    set of scissors which belonged to your grandmother.
    What a lovely thing to own and treasure!

    Thank you for sharing,

    Yvonne - Winter Moon Blog

  6. What beautiful items! Thanks for sharing, I love to see what people have in their sewing box! I love mine too but it's nowhere near as organised as yours! I am so bad and chuck everything inside, but then get lots of joy when I have a 'sort out' from time to time - ha ha. The case is so pretty, I think the Bear made a very nice choice! And I love the turtle and the thimble case - I never knew you could get one of those (although I don't really hand sew, which might be why I've not seen them). Please show your other basket soon!

  7. I loved that gander around your sewing basket. I used to play with my Auntie Maralyn's basket when I was little. She is very talented and always had a quilt or embroidery on the go.

    Leanne xx

  8. You put me to shame Jennifer! my sewing basket is like an explosion of tangled cottons and ribbons, I think you've shamed me into a re-organise!
    I especially like you turtle tape measure very cute x

  9. That turtle is just the cutest thing ever! Great post, lovely to have a nosey around your sewing box :)

  10. Looks very organised, stunning and cute, thank you for sharing it, I would love to have something like this :))

  11. Thank you for sharing your sewing box. I couldn't show mine as I use a tin box which has a few bits and pieces, but everything else is scattered around everywhere in my studio. Wish I could be neater, would save time as I keep misplacing stuff and spend more time on looking for it than making sometimes.
    Like your Grandmother's scissor set, what a wonderful thing to have.

    S xx

  12. I felt like I was on a tour of a special secret place!
    Awesome post, Jennifer...
    I really enjoyed this!

    Linda :o)

  13. How wonderful of you to share this with us Jennifer, thank you so much! You have so many very special treasures: the turtle and hat are so cute and clever and your mother-in-law is very clever too with her finding of gifts and making - the travel sewing kit is so lovely!
    I have drawers in my sewing cabinet that really need a good tidy again but I think I might wait until another day!!!
    Thank you for sharing this lovely post!
    Joy x

  14. Wow, you have such a nice organized basket! I have a little plastic zippered pouch that I have needles in, but that's about as good as it gets.. I'm a messy girl!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  15. How sweet that your mother-in-law makes a special effort to find quirky, special gifts for you. I have a thimble from my mom and one from my grandmother, both of whom have passed away, so they are extremely special. Treasure your grandmother's scissor set. It will mean even more to you when you become a grandmother.
    Thanks for the tour: I'm so glad I came for a visit from the Meet and Greet blog hop!

  16. Hi Jennifer,Such an organized basket!!! It's just lovely and clever with everything at your finger tips!!!And it's portable!!!You can take it into the garden,have a cuppa and sew!!!Nice,very,very Nice!!!!I need one!!!!

    PS Love the scissor set!!!!!

  17. What a pretty basket! So organized too :) The thimble holder is so pretty and I love Mr Turtle! Have a wonderful day xoxox

  18. So lovely. Your basket is very organised, unfortunately I have my craft things all over the place with very little order to them! Love the little turtle tape measure.
    M x

  19. Your sewing basket is so organized! I have a similar basket (smaller) which I use, but is quite chaotic inside (the lid rarely closes these days). I love the little handmade items. The thimble case is so cute, and maybe if I had one of those I wouldn't have lost my favourite thimble ;) What a great little travel sewing kit too ... your mother-in-law is very thoughtful to pass along these little gifts. Wendy

  20. I can't believe how organized your sewing basket is! It has given me some inspiration for when I buy a new one after we move. I threw my old one out - the inside tray was broken, and the handles were coming off. And I will confess the contents weren't quite as well organized as yours. :-)

  21. So, so lovely! I think my favourite part is the scissors in the leather case. I have some of my grandma's old sewing and knitting things and they are so special. I have a little suitcase for my sewing bits which is crammed with everything I might want or need including things that came free with magazines and fabric and yarn samples...I really should tidy it up! x

  22. I really enjoyed the wee peek into your sewing basket. It is certainly a very pretty one with lots of treasures.. Have a lovely week and Summer. Hugs Judy

  23. Love your sewing basket and all it's great items. The turtle is very cute

  24. Thank you for sharing this look at your sewing life and your memories.

  25. Beautiful basket!! I love the turtle tape measure!! It is adorable! Happy to have found you through the MeloMamma Blog Hop :)

  26. Oh these are wonderful! And you are so organised. I wish I was more like that! I absolutely love your crochet turtle tape measure thingy - super cute :-) Mel x


Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...