Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pins - Get It Straight

PINS! Have you ever contemplated this seemingly simple little thing that you probably use every day when stitching or sewing? Where was it made? How was it made? What is its story? Am I the only one who does this? I don't think so. However, I like to peak the intrest of those who don't wonder about these things. I want to urge people think about this stuff.

Happily, I run the StitchMap Teaser which is run in the even numbered months. I get to exercise my desire to make the members think about the small stuff associated with needlework. Most of the time the subject is more currently relative, like a certain designer or quilt pattern names, etc. But, sometimes I do pick some off the wall/crazy subjects for the Teaser. You learn so much from researching them! This month, April , I chose the topic of Pins for the StitchMap Teaser. The ordinary little straight pin.

Everyone uses pins for sewing and other things. Pins are an everyday object used in sewing of all kinds and Quilting. Have you ever wondered how such a useful item came into use? What were the first pins made of? Did you know that in some early cultures they used thorns for pins? Here in Texas with all the mesquite trees we would have had an endless supply of those pins!

My own intrest in pins was sparked by a TV show on the History channel called The Worst Jobs In History. The particular episode was on The Tudor Times. In this episode they had a segment on manufacturing pins. Did you know that in Tudor Times pins were made in little dank rooms with no light? The hours were long for the pin makers and they only made pennies a day. Just enough to buy a loaf of bread, maybe. It got even worse when King Henry VIII put in effect this law: "No pin should be sold unless they be dauble-headed and have the headdes soundered faste to the shanke of the pynne."

Would you be surprised to learn that they needed pins in those times to literally stay dressed? Yes, all those ruffles were held onto the wearer by -- you guessed it -- pins!

That is where the saying "pin money" came into our language. People had to set aside an allowance to buy the little pins just so they could stay dressed! It also did not help that those pins were expensive.

We learned in this month's Teaser that at one time the USA was a major producer of straight pins. Now there are only a few US manufacturers. Most of the pins made today are made in Asia. One pin factory can produce 3 million or more pins a day. We also learned how the metal is made into a long wire, how it is cut and treated. There is more to that little pin than most of us ever thought about.

Have I caught your intrest yet? Did you learn something new? I hope so! I also hope that you will be able to participate in the next StitchMap Teaser. If you are not a member you need to join now......we have so much fun learning together!

Congratulations to MAP members Theresa E. and Angela W. They were our Teaser winners this month. Great research skills, ladies! Each of you will receive a stitching related prize for your efforts.

Lyn G.
aka: Ms Mischief.