Friday, May 10, 2013

Alice's Cunning Housewife for Charlie and My Very Own Housewife

The Inside of My Housewife with Stork Scissors Attached

In Alice's Tulips, Alice Keeler Bullock writes in a letter to her sister Lizzie, "I used leftover scraps to make Charlie a cunning housewife that is brown with blue pockets, bound in red twill, and it rolls up nice and fastens with hooks and red strings.  Inside, the housewife is fitted up with needles and pins and thread so Charlie can mend his uniform if he gets shot.  It's told that many soldiers go ragged because they won't sew for nothing, but Charlie sews as good as a woman.  Remember when he boarded at the McCauley farm so that he could be close to me?  The McCauley girls jollied him into learning to work a needle.  Mattie McCauley says if a woman can plow, a man ought to know how to thread a needle.  But how many do?  I ask you." from page 5, Alice's Tulips

The Outside of My Housewife

My Housewife Starting to Be Rolled Up

Completely Rolled Up and Tied

Do you have a sewing kit?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Please answer in the comments section below.  If you are reading via email, please click on the title of this blog post so you can comment and read the comments of others.

Remember that by commenting, you are entering your name in a giveaway for Jennifer Chiaverini's book, Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.  The winner will be announced June 1.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

25 comments:

  1. DARLING! Is this your own pattern? I have been thinking about one of these for a while, and your version looks very nice.

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  2. Alas, I don't have a "housewife". I bought one of those decorative paper storage boxes @ Hancock Fabrics a couple of years ago. It has little compartments for scissors, thread spools, needles etc. It works just beautifully. It travels with me wherever I go.

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  3. I do! I have one that my daughter bought for me years ago at a Civil War reenactment at our local historical society. The pattern looks similar to yours except that mine folds twice. It has two pockets, also, with a piece of flannel for pins and needles. It's one of the best gifts anyone has ever given me. I use it all the time. I'll post photos of it on my blog. Where did you get the pattern for yours or did you make it up?

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  4. I have a tin box with a handle strap at one end. I have been thinking of making something similar to yours that would go around my neck while I work. It would also roll up and tie but it would have a pocket to hold my glasses while I am working and the scissors in a special pocket but tied to a string ... or maybe my clover thread cutter so I could use it on the train or even a plane, and something to hold the thread I am using at the time.

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  5. No, I don't have a "housewife", but I use an old tea tin with pictures of Japan on it. It is at least 25 years old and holds my thread, needles in use and folding scissors, and thimbles. I wouldn't part with it!! I'm about 3/4 done with the book, but I read it before (when it first came out).

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  6. I never heard it called a "housewife," but I do have a little sewing kit that I made from a pattern that had other sewing notions. It stays in the outside pocket of my sewing machine rolling case, so it is always with me when I am "on the road."

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  7. The only place I ever heard it called a housewife was in this book.
    I have a housewife but the sewing kit I carry everywhere is a small fabric basket a friend made for me and it follows me everywhere.

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  8. I do have a sewing kit. It has leaves like a book that are made of batting and batiste fabric. The pieces of a block lay between them. There is a central pocket to hold needle, thread and scissors.

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  9. I have made a "Housewife", sometimes called a "hussif" to carry with me when I work on my English Paper Piecing or other handwork. Actually, I have several versions and give them to my friends.

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  10. Love your "Housewife". Need to try and make one, do not have anything that portable to take with me. I teach 4-H sewing and I take my large case with me....need something more manageable. Love it!!!

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  11. I think "housewife" has a similar origin as "chatelaine," which in terms of sewing is a way to keep scissors, needle, thimble, etc. at hand. The word chatelaine is the feminine for "keeper of the castle" and thus came to be known as the "mistress of a household or large establishment," e.g. housekeeper. The chatelaine would have a "chatelaine" to hold the keys.

    I do have a little sewing kit (made by a friend) that's big enough to hold a couple of spools of thread and scissors as well as needles and pins. That kit fits into a patchwork pouch (about 6 x 6 x 2, made by another friend) that holds my take-along English paper piecing.

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    Replies
    1. Nann, I love your explanation! Thanks.

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  12. I love the housewife, I have a small one that I made several years ago. Mine is almost a triangular shape that holds a pair of scissors, needles and a thimble.

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  13. I do not have a housewife but sure could use one. Love the book!

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  14. I have a container shaped like a corset for my repair sewing kit. I won it at a quilt shop during a shop hop!

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  15. I have bits and pieces strung out all over the house. Both my son's made their own sewing kits to take to college with them. Both have used them, too. My father is the one who taught me how to use a sewing machine. His mother taught him.

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  16. I don't have the housewife roll-up. My go-to mini is a 4" square fabric covered box with a padded top. I keep my small essentials in it, and while it doesn't travel outside my home it does go wherever I go to do my handwork. Needles, neutral thread, my stork scissors on a ribbon, even has my quilting thimble and tape measure in it, and a couple of band-aids for those "oops" finger pricks. Thread Heaven, bees wax, did I miss anything?

    I have read the book, as I did get it from Amazon for my Kindle Fire. What an amazing transformation in that woman!

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  17. That's cute as can be! A good idea for a gift.

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  18. Yes I do-mine is homemade given to me by my seceret sister in guild. it is round with yo-yo on each end and ties .enough room for everything. thank you for all the stories and fun

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  19. I do not have a housewife roll up, but I am off to make one! In fact will make three, as my daughter and son-in-laws could each use one! Will have fun pulling material out of my stash to put together.
    I keep all my items in a pouch, but have to dig through it. A housewife will make life easier, convenient and can go in my suitcase when traveling.
    Thanks for posting!

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  20. I have a similar one to yours. I am on vacation now and it is with me. Brought along a wall hanging that I am hand quilting. My hand quilting supplies fit nicely in it.

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  21. I have several. Always one handy for a new handwork project!

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  22. Love your housewife! I use a small quilted zippered pouch which holds my hand sewing supplies supplies and a supply of hexie papers and fabric squares.

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  23. I think I have 5 trays of a stackable storage boxes - 4 for hand sewing of hexies and other things and one to contain a ball of tatting thread, shuttle and possible a pattern. Interesting to read you entries. Take care, from northern Iowa . . . .

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  24. I don't have a housewife...do you have the pattern to share? or maybe tell
    us where you found the pattern....I keep my scissors etc. in a zippered
    pouch, but think the housewife would be much nicer

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