Monday, April 18, 2011

"I give to you a paper of pins..."

Encouraging words of the day:
"This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it!" - Psalm 118:24

Ok, enough about knots.  How about straight pins? Everyone already knows about pins, right.  Well, I didn’t.
Throughout the years, human beings have invented methods of holding two pieces of cloth together:  Pre-historic people used thorns and bones as pins. The clothes of medieval Europeans were adorned with pins of many materials including bone, ivory, silver, gold, and brass.  The use of iron wire began as early as the fifteenth century in France.  In his book, Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, Smith described how one worker drew out the wire, another straightened it, a third cut the wire, the fourth sharpened one end, and another worker ground the opposite end for the attachment of the head. At the end of the process, the pins were polished and inserted into a paper packet. A "paper of pins" became a familiar cultural phrase, signifying the possessions of the simplest nature. Have you ever heard the song?

I give to you a paper of pins
If that's the way that love begins,
If you will marry, marry, marry, marry,
If you will marry me.
Back to pin history: Attaching the heads presented a particular challenge. In the early to mid-1800s, American inventors Seth Hunt and John Ireland Howe and British inventors Lemuel Wright and Daniel Foote-Taylor patented machines that produced pins with a solid head from a single piece of wire.
Here’s how straight pins are made today:
One-hundred-foot rolls of steel wire are unwound by means of a roll straightener. The end of each roll is threaded into the straightener which pulls the wire flat. Rotating blades cut the wire into pre-set lengths, usually between 1-1.25 in (2.5-3.2 cm) long.
The cut wire travels via conveyer belt to the next station where the heads are "stamped" on. One end of the wire is slammed against a block. wire and create a flattened head.
The straight pin has gone relatively unchanged for years and few improvements have been made. The head of the pin can now be either solid metal or plastic. Its use to bind paper together has been replaced by the stapler, but despite its simplicity, the straight pin is the first choice for a temporary way to bind cloth.

I’ve finished the little quilt from the Layer Cake Quilt-Along.  I thought that adding the vine and leaves would add something to it but it looks kind of dorky.  Oh well.

This is our catch-up week on the Penny Haren Applique Quilt-Along.  Here are the last 5 blocks I’ve made.  The first of these 5 doesn't even look like it goes with the others. I'm also noticing that not only do I sew crooked, my photos come out crooked also.

 I’m making progress on my UFOs. I’ve been working on my Dresden Plate queen size quilt.  I’m quilting it on my sewing machine so it is quite a challenge and I’m running into a few wrinkles,  literally.

Giveaways I've run into:

"One More Quilt" is having an interesting giveaway of fabric yardage and remnants plus patterns.  – ends April 25th.
"1 Choice 4 Quilting" has a book to giveaway plus a quilt kit. – ends April 24th.
"Kool Beenz" has a fat quarter bundle to giveaway. – ends April 22nd.

That is all.

1 comment:

Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

Interesting info on the pins - thanks! I don't think the addition of the vines and leaves looks dorky on your quilt - it makes it unique. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that has trouble taking straight pictures. I try lining up the little finders in the camera viewer and it still doesn't help. Thank goodness picasa has a tool for straightening the pictures. Love your blocks!!!