Whimsical needlecases show a glimpse of needlework’s history

Needlecases can be very utilitarian, or, as illustrated by these examples from EGA’s Collection, highly whimsical. These are just a few items from the needlework tool collection of Shirley Fischer, which she generously donated to EGA over ten years ago.

The Nanny Pin, or Nanny Brooch, was a type of Victorian bar pin that held a needle and thread, ensuring that any surprise mending could be attended to with a minimum of fuss. One end of the hollow cylinder unscrews and pulls out.

Two of the ornate needlecases are from the late 1800s. The Bristol glass case consists of a milk glass base with a blue and pink “netting” overlaid. It looks sort of like a piece of candy. The piece on the right is made from a beaded mesh over a case of bone.

Other cases in the collection are made of leather, silver and velveteen.


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