The yellow needlecase on the left was made by me in 2007. The one with cherries on the front, on the right, was made by me in 1974, when I was twelve. I only made the yellow one because the original one was falling apart, but I still love the old one. I keep it full of needles, still – I couldn’t face emptying it – so I go to it occasionally, when I know that a ‘special’ needle will be found there, and not in my new needlecase.
Although it is tatty now, the construction has held up well for the 30 or so years that I used it. It was made using two rectangles of felt, whip-stitched over cardboard, which I had scored into three panels. The stitching was worked in Anchor stranded cotton, in long and short stitch, with stem stitch outlining. The design on the front was from a 70′s book on embroidery, but I can’t remember which one, now! It’s not one that I own, anyway. I have a feeling that I got the motif from a book that my needlework teacher had in her classroom. At that time, girls were still allowed to do embroidery as part of their ‘Home Economics’ lessons (that changed while I was at secondary school – by the time I was 14, I wasn’t allowed to do embroidery as a subject any more, and the needlework/dressmaking classes were scaled down drastically. We had to make ‘gender-neutral’ items, as the classes now had boys in them as well as girls. The boys were bored stiff, and liked to spend their time breaking the sewing machines). I do remember that the needlecase was part of a set of designs, and that there was a scissor scabbard with a pear motif on it as well. At home, I made both that and the cherry needlecase together, and took them into school to show my needlework teacher – and during that day, someone stole the scissor scabbard out of my bag, before I had time to show her
I made the yellow needlecase in 2007 (33 years after the first one – by that time, I was 45!). The motif on the front of the yellow needlecase was transferred using a light box, and then stitched in Anchor threads and gold blending filament. The design was from Issue 44 of Inspirations magazine.
The pattern for the needlecase itself was from Jane Nicholas’s wonderful book ‘Stumpwork Embroidery: Designs and Projects’, published in 1998 by Milner. The design she chose for the front of her needlecase is a beautiful little squirrel – he’s very tempting, but at the time I really wanted a yellow fabric for my needlecase, and I decided the colour of the squirrel’s fur would clash with the fabric. So, the cute squirrel with his gorgeous fluffy tail will have to be stitched another time.
The pages of the yellow needlecase are white felt – one page each for crewel needles, beading needles, etc. The pages were backstitched to the cover along the central spine, and then the functional backstitch disguised on the outside of the cover by stitching a row of coral stitch over the top.
It’s come out well enough….but I think I like my needlecase with the cherries the best!