This spring I participated in another fabulous swap hosted by Laurie Jackson of the Button Floozies. I'm not officially a button collector, but they let me come play too, and I had so much fun with the Needlebook Swap! Being the procrastinator I am, it took me a couple weeks to finally decide what I would make. In fact, I started working on two different styles before I narrowed my decision.
In the meantime, my swap partner, Marsha Cassada from Oklahoma had already finished her project and sent it to me almost two weeks before the due date. That certainly helped light a fire under me, and it was a such an amazing surprise to find it in the mail! This is what I found after opening the box:
It's called a "huswif." I had to look up the word and discovered it's a traditional needlebook style going back a couple centuries. The strawberry emery is made from Civil War era clothing. I actually got chills when I read that in Marsha's letter! My boys were very impressed with that bit of information. Naturally they are fascinated with anything having to do with war.
The inside of the "huswif" was filled with supplies necessary for any woman to care for her household. There is a multipurpose tool which also impressed my boys! I haven't seen anything quite like it before and told them it was kind of like a mom's pocket knife, and no, you guys are not allowed to use it! There are also some band-aids, a vintage thread card and an emergency two dollar bill. Marsha explained that she gives these needlebooks as gifts to her nieces and other new brides. I started using mine immediately and it has been very handy with the pockets that are big enough to hold a spool of thread for binding quilts. Marsha also shared with me some lovely vintage buttons I can now add to my small supply. Best of all, she also sent instructions for making a "huswif."
What I love about doing swaps is how you get to see how artists put pieces of themselves in the work they share. Marsha has a love of vintage and time-worn items that she shared with me. It's a style I might not have come up with for myself and that's what makes this little "huswif" needlebook so special.
Up next will be the needlebook I made for my partner Margaret Parks.