Friday, 11 December 2015

Vintage wooden cotton reels

Last year I was given lots of vintage wooden cotton reels from my Aunt's huge stash of all things to do with crafts. She was a very talented needle woman and over the years she had tried Everything and I do mean Everything possible to with needles, crochet hooks, threads of all sorts, buttons and and wool. Lace bobbins, pins, a vintage Singer buttonhole attachment which looked like an instrument for torture, every size of knitting needle possible and hooks for mending stockings to crocheted rugs.... yes, and it all came my way in lovely old leather suitcases, wooden boxes, carrier bags .... all jumbled together. Some people might have been horrified, but for me it was total delight. I sat on the floor, boxes and cases on one side, the bin and a plastic ice cream box for sharp things on the other and opened each container one by one..... yes, I can sense that your fingers are tingling just like mine were.... I didn't know what would be in the next box either...

So there were a lot of wooden cotton reels, thread discoloured, some half used, some in good condition with still bright colours...

vintage wooden cotton reels
These are things I remember from my childhood with huge delight. The feel of them, the bright colours, the wonderful names for the different shades and the beautiful designs for the manufacturers label on the little circle on the top of the reel. Oh the romance of Capri Blue, St Jame's Rose Pink or Chartreuse Green and as for Fiesta Pink, well it's a great favourite.... I wonder who had the job of thinking up all the names...




vintage wooden cotton reels
But what to do with them now? Can the thread be used or is 60 years beyond the sell by date do you think? To throw them away is not an option, they will never be made again in all their glory, the plastic ones are just not the same..... 


vintage wooden cotton reels
so I started to play with them....


vintage wooden cotton reels
Things got a bit more Christmassy....


vintage wooden cotton reels
Creativity began to run away with me..... yep, that's Fiesta Pink in the middle...


vintage wooden cotton reels
Actually the reels also ran away at every opportunity in all directions too.....


vintage wooden cotton reels
Little wooden stars from Lakeland Plastics shop were added....


vintage wooden cotton reels
A shaft of sunshine made the gold thread sparkle.... then add a red wooden heart.....


vintage wooden cotton reels
So I just wanted to know what you think.... Can I use the thread, or should I keep them just for the colours.... Have you any ideas for what to do with them? Are they treasure or am I just being silly? I would love to hear your ideas.....

This week I am finishing the retro fabrics quilt, doing the quilting now and I intend to try out Rita at Red Pepper Quilts  binding technique. I'm sure you all know about her lovely blog, but if not, just click here. I hope you all have a great weekend, not too much Christmas shopping but maybe a little rest, with some Christmas carols and a glass of something warm and mulled with cinnamon maybe, try not to feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to do on your lists,

Kind regards,
Sue 



16 comments:

  1. put them in a shadow box frame, then you can see them everyday and they will keep clean!

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    1. That's such a good idea, I have other vintage sewing things in one and I love to see them on the wall in the sewing room.

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  2. Keep them, display them. After my grandmother died, we disposed of things like this. Not thinking that thread would be sold on plastic spools instead of on wood ones. Now I would love to have all those spools of thread back to do one of the displays like you have shown above. Enjoy them. They are a part of history now.

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    1. Yes I quite agree, they are so part of my childhood, it was playing with the cotton reel box that started me sewing I think!

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  3. Cotton thread does rot after some rime. You can test by pulling out a length of thread and pulling sharply on both ends. If it snaps, it's too old to use. I think I'd use them decoratively rather than sewing something I wanted to use. Loved some of your design ideas for the spools.

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    1. Thanks for that Joan, I tried the thread pulling and they did snap, so I won't use the thread. X

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  4. I wouldn't use them. the ones i have are in a candy jar on display. i've been toying with making some Christmas wish list tree ornaments out of them but haven't given myself the ok to change their function.

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    1. Another good idea, I have a big jar I could put them in. I thought of wrapping a strip of my favourite fabrics around the reels which have no thread on too.x

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  5. What a treasure you have there! My parents were moving house a long time ago and my mum handed me an old sewing basket and asked for it to be put out with the rubbish. Luckily I looked inside and to my delight found old wooden cotton reels like your and lots of lovely old vintage buttons! I kept them of course. I have used some of the buttons on projects. I still have the reels too. I don't know what to do with them either, but I do know that I will certainly keep them. You are right, today's plastic reels do not have of the charm of the reels from yesteryear. Visiting from FIUF.

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    1. Oh, I bet your heart fluttered just like mine did when you saw what was inside the basket! One person' s junk is another's gold!! So glad you found them, someone told me recently that they used theirs to light the fire..... Ohhhh!

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  6. definitely treasure! I like them as a wreath you can hang in your sewing room.

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    1. That's a good idea, I could wire them to a Christmas wreath ring. X

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  7. keep them! definitely a treasure, I would display them somehow in your sewing space

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    1. Yes, I have found a big jar now and just need some shelve space to display it.... hmmmm more tidying up needed!

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  8. I found a glass lamp base at Home Goods. I put old toilet paper rolls in the center to absorb some space and placed the old spools to the outside perimeter so that is all that is seen. It sits atop my sewing station.

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    1. That's such a good idea Michelle, I can just imagine it, I bet it looks wonderful, thanks for the tip,
      Sue x

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Thank you for all your comments, I love to read them and will visit your blogs too if possible. Comments are so encouraging and I love knowing that quilters from all over the world are visiting the blog.
Happy quilting everyone!
Sue