Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Needles, pins and thread

For those of you just joining me, I am attempting to blog every day this month as part of NaBloPoMo. The theme for the month is ties, in both the literal and metaphorical meaning of the word.

Earlier, as I searched around the web for the term ties, I stumbled across a hussif. I had no idea what a hussif was, but found myself fascinated by these homey little objects.

Here is some history: a hussif or "housewife" is simply a sewing kit. They were popular during the Victorian era, and were (and perhaps still are?) carried into battle by soldiers. Although I haven't been able to find a more detailed history anywhere, I have found some lovely examples of them. Here are just a few:

Kakavik sewing bag
This beautiful sewing bag, dating to 1878, was made by a member of the Yu' pik tribe, who live in the tundra region of Alaska. It held a woman's needles, thimble, sinew thread, small knife and whetstone. Some Yu' pik men also carried them. If their skin boots ripped or they tore their clothing, they could make repairs on the spot.
Image courtesy National Army Museum Te Mata Toa via New Zealand History Online.

This South African ('Boer') War leather 'housewife' is attributed to New Zealand Quartermaster-Sergeant Seymour Spencer, who arrived in South Africa with the Fifth Contingent in April 1900. He was later promoted to Lieutenant and saw further service with the Seventh and Ninth Contingents.

1800s beaded red hussif
A beautiful beaded Victorian hussif listed on eBay. Visit the listing for some fascinating history on this piece. 

I have already posted one hussif by Hen's Teeth. I love these--they incorporate many elements that are dear to me: paper ephemera, postage stamps, vintage buttons, vintage ribbon...what's not to love?

hen's teeth needlecases 2

I'm not much of a seamstress, but I am tempted to try my hand at making one of these. They intrigue me.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is simply matchless :)