After admiring the clever and decorative use of wooden spools at Threads of the Past living history center in San Diego Old Town State Historic Park, I decided to gather up my empty (and almost empty) wooden spools with the idea of doing something creative. I have been collecting them for some time, putting them aside for a future use. Thread has not come on wooden spools for quite a while; they were styrofoam briefly and now are plastic of various shapes and sizes.
After locating my spools, I decided to look in my mother's thread box to see what she might have. After she passed away in 2012, I organized her sewing supplies a little but have not really incorporated them into my own supplies. Somehow, hers need to stay separate for a while longer.
She kept her thread in an old fruit cake tin. I loved looking through her sewing things as a child. I opened the tin, and indeed she had many wooden spools of thread. Some of them only had a small amount of thread, and I wound it off. Most of this was polyester and I did not regret throwing it away. Several of her spools still had plenty of cotton thread, and I left these alone.
A few of the spools had thread on them that was obviously re-wound by hand. In fact, a couple had one color wound on one end of the spool, and one color on the other end. There was also a folded piece of cardboard that was wound with thread. Thrifty.
I came across her cloth tape measure, which I used to chew on as a child. I chewed on it so much that the marked measurements are barely visible in some places. I have a vague memory of stuffing this entire object into my mouth, the cloth crisp and cottony to the taste.
I also found a token at the bottom of the thread box. After a little online research, I found that it dates to the 1940s. Someone punched a hole in it and probably wore it; the Lord's Prayer is on the other side.
I don't know the story behind this item. My mother lived in New Jersey during the 1940s, before my parents were married. Of all the times I have rooted around in this thread box over my lifetime, I never noticed this object. I think this shows a jalopy driving off a pier, with the surf shown below it.
Here is the collection of wooden spools that I accumulated. Notice that one is green. One, the most spool-looking one of all, is actually for dental floss. I guess you cut a length of it with scissors. The small, flat ones held silk buttonhole thread.
The ones that still have a lot of thread on them went on display in the living room with some industrial thread bobbins. I could comment on how the price of thread has increased over time; some of the large spools are marked 39 cents (my computer keyboard doesn't even have a "cents" symbol).
I don't know what I will do with these, but I had fun looking for them and revisiting my mother's sewing box.