Category Archives: crocheting

Threads

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For those of us who are approaching winter, there are some moments

when we may wish to start a large puzzle, work on a craft or read a

book with deeper meaning. After all, the media ‘invented’ the idea of

Summer Books, which always seem like “Beach Books.” They consist

of fun reads, some adventures or romance but generally not expected

to make it into the Classic books area of the library.

While gathering things, somewhat ‘ahead of time,’ preparing for my

Thanksgiving trip to see my Mom and family up North, I put a box of

old wooden spools of thread into a bag. Or rather ones that used to

have thread on them. I added one of my books from the discards

pile at the May Library Book Sale, in coordination with the Delaware

Arts Festival, thinking that I may get a chance over the four days “on

holiday” to bury my nose in a book. The spools will go to my brother’s

future artistic projects. He utilized another set of these antique

wooden spools in a colorful multi-media project, finishing it with

a shiny paint spattered glaze over it. I love the circular shapes within

the circle of  his shimmering presentation of what I would describe

as the “cosmos.”

 

While talking about thread, I don’t wish to go on too many tangents.

 

Do you remember when we would say, “Nice threads?” Sometimes,

I remember saying this to someone with a tie-dyed shirt or a pretty

patch-worked maxi-skirt. Was it applicable only to certain kinds

of clothes or anyone who we may have thought looked “nice?”

Interesting, since we also use the word “threadbare” clothes, for

those which may be considered ‘raggedy’ or worn out. These are

‘bones of contention’ sometimes, when a spouse may wish to keep

a favorite, softened by time item of clothing. The other spouse

may wish to throw it in the ‘rags’ heap.

 

 

Now that I am getting older, I sometimes have to close one of

my eyes to “thread” a needle. I also recently purchased a package

of needles that remind me of the Large Print Books’ section where

I tend to get some of my ‘reading for pleasure’ books. Rarely do I

find ‘classics’ in this area. I pondered this once, “Do they think

that while I am losing my eyesight, I am becoming ‘dimmer’ in

my brain cells, too?” In this same vein, my “threads” of thoughts

can become quite twisted or knotted up, needing someone to

help unravel them.

 

When a spider creates his web, the intricate woven pattern looks

like snowflakes at times. Sometimes, I think of it as gossamer

“thread” and am amazed at how strong its hold is. Especially,

when in someone’s attic, as it catches in your hair. It is definitely

sticky, which makes sense to catch the bugs or flies for the spider’s

meal.

 

While the use of ‘threading in and out’ is less often used than the

expression of ‘weaving in and out,’ I have heard this used.

 

Can you think of other ways the word, “thread” is used?

 

I especially admire the Native Americans who used almost every

part of an animal, one way or another. Using creatures’ sinew

to sew with a needle created from its bone is surely a testament

of their creative and utilitarian minds. I cannot imagine trying

to poke through the fur or animal hide to create clothes and

jackets. It would have been easier to just throw the fur over their

shoulders like a blanket or poncho. That is how I picture my

way of ‘roughing it.’ The daunting task of creating homes out

of materials from the natural world is incredible to me also.

 

I have 15 different wooden spool brand names with the prices

varying from 15 cents to a quarter. I studied and grouped them,

even noticing the colors or as they are labeled, “shades” can be

over 1000 in their number. The variety intrigued me, as I hope

or felt it may a few of my readers. All of the 15 brands are made

in America. I would be interested if anyone in another country

would tell me where their thread in their sewing basket or junk

drawer was made.

 

When you ‘whet’ someone’s interest in a subject, you don’t

wish to leave them “hanging by a thread,” so here is my list:

1. Clark’s brand.

This is interesting because it was originally on its own, but you will

see a spool with two brands who must have become connected. On

this post, I decided would be presenting what I have, not what I

looked up on the internet. I did not research any of these companies.

Details on the Clark’s wooden spool include, “Cotton” and “O.N.T.”

and the “shade” number of 278 on one of several of these. The “Size

50” is on this brand.

2. “Belding Corticelli” brand.

The words are not together, but circle the spool, some on the

‘top’ and some on the ‘bottom.’

“Bel-waxed”

“Mercerized”

“Cotton”

and the expression, “Fast to Boiling.”

Several of this brand, with the price range given of 15 cents, 19 cents

and 25 cents.

The shades are stamped into the wood, ink pressed to show “1707”

on one, for example. The “Size 50” is also on this brand. All of these

gave the length of “125 yds.” of thread.

3. “Sea Island Thread Mfg. Corp.”

The words, “None Better” are stamped into the wood on one end.

The length on this bigger sized spool is “700 yds.” It is labeled,

“Mercerized Cotton.” (Unlike the other spool where the words

were separated and not contiguous.) This is mentioned to be,

“Made in New York.”

4. “Standard- Coosa-Thatcher Company” is also labeled on

the other end of the spool as “S-C-T”

There is no marking of its shade, color, or length but I am

happy to tell you this was made in “Chattanooga, Tenn.”

5. “Richardson’s .”

“Mercerized Sewing Cotton,”

(Size 50)

100 yards

“Fast to Boiling.”

This singular spool has the word, “Shade 1788,” on it.

6. “Fruit of the Loom.”

40 yds.

(Size 50)

“Mercerized” (no mention of cotton on label.)

“Fast Color”

*Would we today call this ‘color fast?’*

7. “Dandy” brand.

This label is the only one which presents a blend of,

“Cotton and Polyester”

Made in U.S.A. is stamped into the wooden spool’s end.

“Mercerized” is again not connected with the source of

the thread’s ‘material.’

“Boil Fast”

*Doesn’t this fascinate you? How can one expression, “Fast

to Boiling,” be attributed to one kind and then, this shorter

one be given?*

There are two facts about the “Dandy” brand which are not

included on any other of my spools, “Left Twist” and “Two

Cord- 1200 yards.” This is a longer/taller wooden spool.

8. “Ball’s Best” brand.

This was made in South Willington, Connecticut.

“500 yards”

“Cotton”

(24) May be “shade” number?

Gardiner Hall Jr. Company.

“Sole Man’ers”

*(Was this meant to be used on soles of socks or shoes?)*

9. “Coats” brand.

“Super Sheen With Silicone” on a shiny paper circle on top.

125 yds.

“Mercerized”

“Boilfast”

(50)

19 cents.

Shades are “169” “70” and “57-A”

On the bottom of the spool, where there isn’t any shiny label,

stamped into the wood is: “J + P Coats.”

10. “Lily” brand.

“Mercerized.”

50 yds.

Cotton boll symbol on the paper label.

“Boil – Fast”

11. “Radium” brand.

“1 oz.”

“Three Cord”

“Mercerized Cotton”

“Color 1169”

12. “Aunt Lydia’s” brand,

“American Thread Co.”

“Button & Carpet”

“Extra Strong + Smooth”

“Shade 830”

13. “Empeco” brand.

“Mercerized Thread”

“Manufactured by Max Pollack Co. Inc.”

Made in “Mills Groton, CONN”

“700 yards”

Color “518.”

14. “Coats + Clarks”

(At last, we have both companies joined together.)

Time has gone past, since this big spool is labeled

to cost, “39 cents” and has details, such as:

“Dressmaker’s Spool”

“Made in U.S.A”

(50)

Color or shade is “86-B”

15. “Talon” brand.

“Mercerized.”

325 yds.

“29 cents”

“Made in U.S.A.”

“Colorfast” (at last!)*

15. “Star” brand.

“100% Polyester”

40 yds.

“American Thread Co.”

“CONN”

(An area code is given, but is faded. Possibly 06905 or 08905?)

“Will-Boil”

Three different spools have these color numbers:

“484” “553” and “020”

The three have varying length of thread:

“40 yds.” “125 yds.” and “150 yds.”

“Mercerized Cotton”

I enjoy learning about the crafts and hobbies of fellow bloggers.

Do you tend to carry out the same kinds of activities or do you

change them, as the season changes?

This post began with my getting out some things to go visiting;

along with sorting out the spools from my crowded sewing basket.

I accomplished the chore of cleaning up and writing this post about

‘threads’ due to those wooden spools. My little grandchildren used

to play stacking games with them, as if they were uniquely shaped

building blocks. Remembering their tall towers of spools make me

smile. Then, the giggles of when they all came tumbling down.

I imagine children in the past doing this playful use of spools, too.

 

 

 

 

 

One Christmas during the Depression

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My Mom was reminiscing about the period of time called the Depression

in the United States. She was remembering with fondness one of her

favorite Christmases. It was not one she received a lot of gifts nor a “big

ticket” item. It was all about how each of her family members worked

very hard to listen to what the others in the family were wishing for

and then, how they tried to make each other’s dreams come true.

My Mom wished for a lovely red velveteen jumper that would be

worn to school and church. She had already a special cream colored

blouse that her mother, my grandmother had stitched lovingly for

her “back to school” outfit. She did not need the black tights nor the

boots to wear with this special outfit that she had seen in a major

department store advertisement.

My Mom heard her younger sister wishing for a special matching

outfit for her doll and she to wear to early elementary school. We

may call it the ‘primary grades’ these days. She wanted to be able to

bring her old doll, all “spruced up” in a green corduroy or (“even

better,” Mom recalls, “a green satin dress with a ruffle attached.”)

My grandmother heard my grandfather wishing to have a nice hearty

meal with a roast of some kind and also, wishing for a cherry flavored

tobacco to put into his pipe.

My grandfather heard my grandmother wishing for a nice tablecloth

and a new apron, that would not be made by herself. She liked to

get dressed for Sunday services and afterwards, head home to wear

a pretty apron over her ‘Sunday best’ clothes.

My aunt heard my Mom’s wish and it was all about hair bows and a nice

mirror and brush set, seen at the Five and Dime Store in Middletown,

Ohio.

When her family awakened on Christmas morning, often the Christmas

tree, while my Mom and her sister were sleeping and young, would be

decorated. This was a tradition that changed when they got older and

what my Mom felt was more responsible and would not break the lovely

glass ornaments nor set the house on fire with the candles that were

placed upon the tree in their holders.

The years they did get to decorate, as older and more careful girls, they

had many glass ornaments, pipe cleaner angels with faces painted on

pink beads and golden or silver pipe cleaner wings and halos. There

were wooden ornaments of snowflakes, sleds and little houses, too.

Mom exclaimed,

“Amy and I were never again to see the candles lit on the tree, once we

became the ‘decorators of the tree.’ Sometime, along the way, my Dad

decided to invest in electrical multi-colored Christmas lights.”

Mom, known as “Rosie,” and her sister, Amelia, known as “Amy” woke

up on one Christmas morning to smell the nice, wafting and intermingling

scents of a braided kuchen with cherry filling and vanilla frosting, the cherry

tobacco smell of their father’s pipe and the smell of strong coffee floating on

the air. I have researched the recipes for kuchen and they often list

peach as the fruit to be found inside this sweet yeast dough coffee cake.

My grandparents grew only a few plants on their property, but there

were several cherry trees to pick and ‘can’ for later use. We often

would have cherry preserve, my brothers and I almost thirty years

after this story is written, on our breakfast toast. We also enjoyed the

treat of fresh out of the oven, German made kuchen.

They ran down their hallway, wearing thick pajamas, robes, socks and

shoes, as they did not have slippers and the floors were not very warm

inside. Amy and Rosie paused to take in the wondrous sight of a fully

decorated and mysteriously “delivered” Christmas tree! It was not until

after they began to doubt in the reality of Santa Claus, that they realized

this was a parental gift to them, as well as the gifts in their stuffed stockings

and few wrapped parcels under the tree.

Mom mentioned while retelling this story to me, that the presents would be

wrapped in fabric scraps from “future items of clothing, so as not to ruin the

surprises inside, tied with ribbons or string. This was also, during this period

of time, another way to save money: very cost effective.”

In the presents, usually in past years of the Depression, there would be

“practical” gifts of sweaters, socks, mittens and other handmade items.

Grandma Mattson could knit, crochet and sew, as many women of these

hard times did, to make things look special. The challenge would be to hide

it in the process of making the items!

Mom said the stockings were stuffed with unshelled nuts, fruits and wax

-wrapped candies and fudge. There would be a pair of socks and a hair

barrette inside, too. She says while recalling the joyous moments, that she

never thought until this moment, while I was asking her for some Christmas

memories, of all the hours her mother must have spent while her sister and

she were at school, making and hiding these ‘treasures.’

All the gifts that were wished for, the wishes were ‘granted’ this year! She

wore her red velveteen dress to school, her sister, Amy, wore her green,

shiny satin dress with the petticoat trimmed in lace underneath it. Mom

remembers her sister twirling and twirling in circles in the excitement of

wearing her brand new (homemade with love) dress. She also, recalls

that the both of them wore these dresses in a photograph, where they

both have black hose on, with big sister Rosie, straddling little sister,

Amy, in front of her. The two of them, wearing the bright dresses now

displayed in the framed black and white photograph on my Mom’s

dresser,  look so completely darling!

The roast for dinner was pork and the after dinner desserts were Spritz

and other sugar cookies served with cocoa and coffee. The lasting effect

of everyone’s wishes coming unexpectedly true was apparent once again,

relived today on my Mom’s glowing face!