I've seen these thread boxes at antiques shows from time to time. I love learning about the history behind old things and the display included some interesting historical tidbits on these sewing needfuls. Here is the info that accompanied the thread box display: Thread boxes typically contain spindles to hold spools of thread in place and sometimes contain numbered eyelet holes so that you do not have to remove the thread from the box. Many thread boxes were made as marketing items for thread companies and contain an advertisement on the inside of the lid. Three of the most popular styles of thread boxes were produced in Scotland from the early 1800s to the 1930s and were Mauchline ware, Tartanware, and Fernware.
These fancifully shaped thread winders caught my eye. I would love to happen upon some of these at the antiques shows or flea markets I frequent.
The exhibit also included an array of pinwheels—also known as disc pincushions, pin pocket books, sandwich pincushions, or pin safes. They are made of three layers and the pins are inserted into the middle layer around the edges.
As you have probably noticed from past posts, I like to rehabilitate old sewing machines and display them around my home. So I was delighted to see these charming Willcox and Gibbs models. Founded in 1857 by James E. A. Gibbs and James Willcox, the Willcox and Gibbs Sewing Machine Company was famous for producing the best single-thread chain stitch machines. James Gibbs patented a special revolving hook that created a better chain stitch than other sewing machines and he sold his machines for approximately half the price of others. As a result, Willcox and Gibbs models were one of the best selling machines of their time.
After admiring the collection of sewing trinkets it was on to the doll quilt display. I had enjoyed seeing many of Mary Ghormley's doll quilts a couple years ago at the Toy and Miniature Museum in Kansas City. Merikay Waldvogel's book, Childhood Treasures: Doll Quilts By and For Children, which features 80 antique quilts from Mary's collection, had just been published that year.
The complete Mary Ghormley Doll Quilt Collection comprises more than 300 quilts made between 1800 and 1950. The International Quilt Study Center acquired her treasure trove of pint-size treasures in 2008. I was delighted to find out that photos were allowed as long as no flash photography was used.
Interspersed among the doll quilts were several endearing doll beds from Mary's collection. I was especially enamored with this one.
I loved the little wooden hutch stacked with fabrics that accompanied this sweet little bed.
Doesn't this comfy bed, washstand, and rug set an inviting scene?
All of the many beds were beautifully staged with little quilts and other charming accessories that any doll would love.
There was also a display of mini quilts on cleverly crafted beds made of cigar boxes, tin cans, clothespins, and leftover wooden slats. Talk about ingenuity!
I was fortunate to obtain one of Mary Ghormley's doll beds a couple years ago. When she and Merikay Waldvogel gave a talk at the Toy and Miniature Museum in Kansas City back in 2008, Merikay mentioned that Mary would be holding a sale of some of her quilts and doll beds in her Lincoln, Nebraska, home the following week. Since Lincoln was within a reasonable drive of where I live, I decided to check it out. I purchased this antique doll bed and the large blue-and-white quilt behind it at the sale. The strippy doll quilt on the bed is one that I made a few years ago.
I took many other photos of the quilts while visiting the museum but didn't want to inundate you with too many at once! I hope you'll come back later this week to see photos from another quilt exhibit that I saw while at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. If you enjoy whole-cloth quilts, you might be interested to see my snapshots of the exhibit on French whole-cloth needlework traditions.