*Just to clarify, odsbodikins was an oath first coined by
Henry Fielding (the author of Don Quixote) in 1734.
A bodkin is a thick, blunt, wide-eyed type of needle used
for drawing tape through a hem. Now let us begin .....
|Silver needle case, Prague 1870. The scoop at the end of the bodkin was|
used to take wax from the ear to apply to the cotton making it not only
easier to use but also waterproof. Yeuk.
Needles and pins may not be quite such common household items
as once they were but still, in this modern high-tech world, no
self-respecting needlewoman would be without them. They haven't
come up with an app to replace them yet but give it time.
|What bright spark designed this packaging when just one jab from it's|
contents could bring a dirigible crashing to the ground?
Back in the days of my granny old Ada Hendriks, a Court
dressmaker by profession, they were the vital tools of her trade.
She once managed to swallow one of the many pins she would
always hold at the ready between her pursed lips unlike Mary
Rose who sat on a pin - Mary rose! But I digress as usual.
|The caption for this pin cushion can only be "Rome wasn't|
stitched in a day."
Before I lost my "thread" I was trying to tell you that, with boring
regularity, she would chant out in a sing-song voice "See a pin and
pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck. See a pin and let it
lay, all the day you won't have any!" That woman could cast a shadow
over the brightest summer's day in the whole of Bright Summer's
|Not really my cup of tea.|
In the Middle Ages, needles and pins (which were often used to fasten
clothing) were relatively expensive and husbands gave their wives
"pin money" for their explicit purchase. This gave rise to another
tedious old rhyme which runs:
"Needles and pins, needles and pins;
When a man marries his troubles begin."
(Stick it to him girls!)
Sewing needles made with bone, shell or thorns have been around nearly
as long as man himself (or should that be woman?) and in London in the
1600's needle makers formed themselves into a guild and worked alongside
the tailors who were all based in Threadneedle Street in the City, hence
the name. Not to be left out the Pinmakers or "pinners" formed a guild of
their own which must really have given the other lot "the needle".
|Clap your hands and they all fly away.|
In 1536 when Henry VIII (the one with all the wives) brought about the
Dissolution of the Monasteries, he nearly brought about the Dissolution
of the Needles too - the monks were renowned for their needlemaking.
But then the "pin" dropped and Henry passed an Act in 1543 encouraging
others to manufacture good needles and pins. Oooof! - they might have
invented velcro a bit earlier had he not done so.
|A "Zen cushion"|
Now I must stir myself and get on with some digging or I fear I shall
get pins and needles in my bum from sitting too long.
Gadzooks, stick me if I don't.