Thursday, March 19, 2009

Grandpa's Needle and Safety Pin

Suzanne, my blogging buddy at Colorado Lady has a meme called Vintage Thingies Thursday. I usually participate in another Thursday meme, but today I'm joining in with VTT. If you have something vintage to post about, join in.

In 1949, when my grandfather was 78 years old, his wife, my grandmother, died. After that, Grandpa came to visit us every year for three months. He'd get bored just sitting around, and that first year, he decided to reupholster my mother's wingback chair. He had never attempted to work with any material before, but he was sure that he could figure it out.

My mom bought the material, and Grandpa went to work on the chair in the basement. After breaking several needles, he decided that he needed some special items. He used this needle and safety pin, along with heavy duty "carpet" scissors and an ordinary hammer.



The needle is 4" long and bent so that he could work it through the fabric.


The safety pin is 3" long, and I've been told that he crafted it by hand. It looks too good to be handmade, but I've never seen another one like it. Have you?


Take a close look.


Here's another angle.


Here's the opposite end close up. *Added later: Some bloggers have suggested that it might be a kilt pin. Grandpa was Scot-Irish, so that may be correct.

The chair turned out beautifully, and Mama used it for years. I used it in my living room when I first married. It's long gone now, and I'm sorry to say that have no pictures of it.


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45 comments:

The Quintessential Magpie said...

That's a wonderful story about your grandfather, Sally! How sweet that he would redo that chair for your mother. I tried upholstery once (on a small piece), and it is not easy. If that pin were larger, it would look like my kilt pin.

XO,

Sheila :-)

April said...

I really enjoyed the story about your grandfather! I would love to have seen how the chair turned out. I have never seen a safety pin quite like that one! Very interesting!

Scooterblu's Whimsy~Rhonda said...

What a great story! And is so neat that you have these unique objects to conjure up mememories of him! :) ~hugs, Rhonda

Darlene said...

What a neat story. That pin and needle must bring back many GREAT memories. How wonderful!

mannequin said...

Oh, the chair may be long gone but the memories and the pins he held in his hands are still here. What a beautiful story Sally.
Now I'm smiling too!

jeanne said...

Sally, I am sure there is not another pin like that. How wonderful that you kept it. A sweet story too.

I have a special post about teachers. Come over.

Hugs...Jeanne

jlshall said...

It's so great that you still have these tiny tools after all these years. What a shame you don't have any photos of the chair! But at least you've got your wonderful memories of it.

sara said...

amazing that you still have those after all these years!! being so small, those would have been long gone in my house!

ClassyChassy said...

The pin looks like a kilt pin, and the same as we used to use for pinning the fronts of horse coolers after the race was finished and we were hot-walking the horse. (Now they have things that are sort of like 'chip clips' and quicker to clip on and off!) I used to work in an upholstery factory making Henderdon furniture years back, and the needle was one that was used for heavier fabrics, like leather. If it were a needle for working with leather, it would have very sharp edges, 3 of them, and it would cut like a miniature knife to get through the leather hide. Neat little story you posted today!

marianedwardsdreamweaver said...

What a delightful post..i'd love to see the chair. BTW i've got a pin just like yours..it belonged to a kilt i used to wear many years ago :)

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Your Grandfather sounded like a wonderful and creative man. I was totally awed by that safty pin. And how great to have these little treasures.

Raggedy Girl said...

I would be inclined to frame them with a photo of your Grandfather and place a letter about this on the back of the frame for those who will come later. Lovely post/lovely memories.

Have a Thankful Thursday
from the Raggedy Roberta Anne

dana said...

It's so great that you actually have those tools your grandfather used to recover your mom's chair--and the wonderful story that goes with them.

I LOVE the new lamps you found--and at bargain prices to boot!!!

Dana

Janet, said...

That is a great story about your grandfather. I've seen pins like that before, too. Like Raggedy Girl said you should display them.

Miri said...

Wonderful story...so glad you have the pin and needle. I think Raggedy Girl's idea of framing them with a pix of your grandfather would be lovely.

Neas Nuttiness said...

Love your family stories.
I swannee, I think I saw some punk kid WEARING a safety pin as big as the one in your pictures. Scary now...but can you imagine what some of these kids are gonna look like when they're sixty!

foxxy said...

How great that you still have those. Those could have easily been lost or misplaced. Neat!

Susan said...

What a sweet story and great memories of your grandfather. I had a kilt pin just like this when I was a little girl.

♥ Kathy said...

What a touching story Sally. It's nice to have those memories ♥

T Lee said...

That is kind of a bummer to not have the chair or any pictures. Not even any pictures where it is in the background?? Great story, though. You kept good momento's...easy to store :)

Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer said...

Great story of your grandfather! Thee are so many things I wish (now) that I had thought to take pictures of many years ago....long before the digital camera... sigh...

Thanks for sharing it with us!

Susan

This simple Life said...

That is a great story. I do believe it to be a kilt pin.

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

How precious to have something that Grandpa worked with.

SueLovesCherries said...

Very nice story - is the chair still around? Would love to see a pic of it.

^..^Corgidogmama said...

Those are some serious looking needles and pins! Wonderful story.

Sarah said...

Treasures, memories, and great stories. Hope you have someone to pass these along to!

CC said...

Such sweet memories..and hid needle and pin are real treasures. Happy VTT Sally..have a most lovely weekend.

Ulla said...

That was a lovely story. You must keep a written version of it with the needle and the safety pin for later.

Elizabeth said...

It's so great when people create their own tools to get the job done. I think that may be a kilt pin, also. I've seen my mom's, but don't have it here for a good comparison.

Judi said...

Sally
Thats a nice story and now that you have his tools too. They would be so special. You should hae taken a picture of the chair Sally....thank you for sharing and have a nice evening.
Judi

Amy said...

so cool, do you use them?

abeachcottage said...

what a beautiful story, I really enjoyed my visit here today

Sarah

Clif said...

Very interesting as always.

Bea said...

I love the stories I read on VTT. Thanks for sharing yours.

Charli and me said...

Neat story about your grandfather. I have seen a pin like that somewhere in my family. I'm thinking maybe my grandmother had one. I never knew what it was used for. I hope you are having a nice evening.

xinex said...

Very interesting and precious items, Sally!How nice that you have kept them all these years. Your grandpa must have been very talented!...Christine

Jeanne said...

Great Story and what a cherished memory to have. Thanks for sharing.

Coloradolady said...

Loved your story Sally. I don't know if the pin is homemade, but it is really unique. I would prefer to think it was homemade myself. Glad you participated today, great post for VTT.

Femin Susan said...

Your Grandfather sounded like a wonderful and creative man. Thanks for sharing.....

Barbara H. said...

It's neat that two small utensils hold such precious memories.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

What a great story! I just love to hear about a "can do" attitude, which he apparently had. Not sure many people have that kind of attitude any more. laurie

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful story about your grandfather, Sally. All of my grandparents were dead before I was born--so I never had that privilege... Your granddaddy must have been a very creative man. NEAT!!
Hugs,
Betsy

char72 said...

What wonderful reminders of a happy occasion. I have a large needle similar to this one. My Mom and I did some upholstering years ago. It was fun working together and I think we did a very good job.
Charlotte

PC said...

Fun story! Are you goign to frame the needle and pin with the story? Thanks for visiting my blog! Paula from Idaho

Leedra said...

My husband's mother worked for a diaper service company. She had these large safety pins. They were used to close the bags of clean diapers before taking them back to the customers. She had nine children of her own, so I am sure she washed diapers in her sleep. Each child now has one of her large safety pins.

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