A couple of weeks ago my sampler guild, The Queen City Sampler Guild, had a lecture on antique needlework tools by Gretchen from northern Ohio. Oh my goodness--Gretchen brought lots of wonderful goodies for us to see. It was a true feast for the eyes!
Here is some of what we saw.
In the background of the next photo is an unusual needlework basket that opens from the front. Oh--I'd love to have something like that. Various pincushions, spool holders, needlecases, a threadwinder, and more are also in the photo.
Below are some work boxes. In the foreground are some Avery needlecases.
Below is a close-up of some Avery needlecases. The William Avery Company manufactured such needlecases from 1868 until 1890. They are now highly collectable. In 2013, a survey was done in hopes of identifying all the different styles of Averies. At that time 207 different styles were identified.
You can learn more about Averies and see photos of the various styles (such as flat, figural, accordion, etc.) at this website.
I don't think all the items in my photo are Averies. (I think the brass bird contains a tape measure and the walnut a thimble.)
The next photo shows a Ladies Companion sewing box in the foreground on the left. I wish I had gotten a close-up photo of it so you could get a better view of the needlework tools. In the middle of the photo is a work box, and on the far right are several clamp-style pincushions.
Next is an enlargement of the wonderful pincushions and also some sewing clamps, often called a "third hand". The sewing clamps, like the pincushions, could be fastened to a table. The sewing clamp could hold your fabric. You could then pull the fabric taut with one hand and stitch with the other. Animal figures were often used, and birds were the most common animal used. The bird's mouth would open to hold the fabric. You can read more about sewing clamps here.
Below is a Palais Royal worke box. Typically such boxes had an upper tray with special compartments fitted precisely to hold each tool.
In the photo below you can see these special shaped compartments. I think that what appears to be loose threads on either side of the box under the tray are actually the remains of ribbons that were used to remove the tray from the box.
If you look carefully at the photo below you can see a pansy on the needlecase. The pansy was the hallmark of Palais Royal needlework tools.
Next are photos of some more worke boxes.
Below is the lid of a box made from straw, I believe by a prisoner. If you know for sure, please let me know.
Here is a view of the inside of the straw work box.
In the next photo, on the left is a case with beautiful silver needlework tools, and on the right is an incredible spool holder.
Below is an enlargement of the spool holder shown in the previous photos. At the top is a pincushion. If you remove the knobs from the wooden rods, you can put spools of thread on them. At the bottom is a drawer for holding other needlework goodies.
And last but not least is another spool holder on the left and a tramp art worke box on the right. Both items have a pincushion on the top.
Tramp art was popular from the 1870s-1940s. It was created mainly from old shipping crates and cigar boxes the were whittled into layers. Boxes and frames were the most common objects made. You can read more about tramp art and see examples here.