Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How She Wound Her Bobbin

When I see sewing notions (at the thrift store or if we happen to stop at a yard sale) -- a box with a package of unopened Singer needles, some pins, a few bobbins, spools of thread, and buttons -- all for a dollar, they're mine.  This bobbin and a few others were in a box I bought last year.

I know this isn't the clearest photo but I think you can see enough detail.  The owner of this bobbin tied the end of the thread around one of the holes in the bobbin, then wound some thread onto the bobbin.  And then she used a different color of thread, tied it around one of the holes, and wound more thread.  And repeated the process several more times.  There were five different colors of thread on this bobbin.

Did she wind all the thread on the same day?  Did she use the first color and then later, when she needed a different color, wind the second color onto the same bobbin, perhaps because she didn't have but one or two bobbins?  I'm puzzled about why she tied the thread around the holes.  (They were so tightly tied I had a hard time getting the point of my seam ripper under the thread.)  Do you tie the ends of thread around the hole in the bobbin?

I am always fascinated by others' sewing notions.  Are you, too?



  1. It's been awhile, but I believe when I first started sewing clothing in 1972, it was common to add new colored thread to a bobbin. Evidently one did not waste thread by removing the original color. There was a passage in one of Louise May Alcott's books in which the mother mending clothes saved the thread from the original garment to use again. That description of poverty has always stayed with me.

    1. Hi, Gypsy Quilter --

      I can't remember if my mom layered colors on a bobbin or not. I know I have but when I do I wind only enough thread of the new color for the project at hand; otherwise I can't get to the original color on the bobbin. Sometimes thread color matters -- when it will show on the front of clothing or a bag, etc. -- otherwise, it's not so important. Have you ever tied the end of a thread to a bobbin? I haven't....

      In the days of Louisa Alcott, chances are the sewing was done by hand and there weren't seam rippers like we use today. Today, sometimes, on a store-made garment, we can find that one thread when pulls right out and takes all the stitching with it, giving us one long, long thread. It's hard to imagine picking out a seam in the mid-1800s and reusing the thread. Poverty for sure!

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

  2. This was a fun post! It's a little piece of history from someone else-- it would be funny if the person who wound this up read this post and recognized their handy work.

    1. I think the lady who owned this bobbin is no longer alive. Her daughter was selling her mom's things in an estate sale. But gosh, wouldn't I love to hear what she had to say about this bobbin.

  3. If bobbins could talk! It would be very interesting to know her reasoning, or a purpose for such an unusually wound bobbin. Don't you just find the neatest things in sewing grab bags?

    1. Wouldn't that be fun, Karen! It's an interesting idea for a short story. I do love to poke through others' sewing supplies at yard, tag, and estate sales.

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, Karen. I appreciate it.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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