Spools, spools everywhere


Ba-chan made it in one piece to Seattle yesterday, and already she and K are thick as thieves. One of the benefits of having a mother who collects everything is that I can ask, “Hey, do you have any vintage-y thread on wooden spools in assorted colors?” And she brings me this:

spools2(one errant plastic one snuck in there, I see). I love the faded, peeling, cracked labels, the silk threads with saturated colors. Sometimes, multiple hues are wound onto one spool, and I can envision someone carefully saving every bit of thread decades ago. Back in the day, thread cost pennies. Nowadays, though, I find thread to be on the expensive side at close to five dollars a pop at some places, and that’s not even the nice stuff. She also brought me a bag full of empty wooden spools, and they are as charming as can be.

spools5 spools3

The silver “anything thread” and the icy blues and greys are my faves, naturally:


As always, she also brought me some lovely vintage fabric, but they’re in the wash now so I’ll have to show you another time. When I was little, I would ask my mom for impossible things like a very specific velvet hat or spindle and wheel (after reading Rumpelstiltskin) and always, always, she would produce my requested item somehow. Some things just never change, and my mama’s still working her magic…



14 thoughts on “Spools, spools everywhere

    1. Indeed! My mom also brought me some beautiful buttons and other notions I didn’t get a chance to finish photographing. I’m a lucky daughter. 🙂

  1. this is timely… I have inherited some wooden spools from my grandmother (probably 8-10) and I was trying to think of something fun/crafty to make them into a display, jewelry… not sure. any ideas?

    1. Good question…I really like the look of them as they are as decorations but I’m betting there are some inspired ideas on Pinterest!

      1. I should check that out sometime. I was thinking doing something with them might make for a memorable Christmas present for my aunts and cousins 🙂

  2. yes, please – do show us the vintage fabric when you get a chance! I think back to our conversation about your mom scoring the best fabric in her artist-to-be neighborhood garage sales and try not to get too envious:) and I’m thinking we may see some of these beautiful spools in a photo or two in your book . . . 🙂

    1. So sharp, Lucinda! Yes, these are going to be part of the book somehow, we’re still trying to figure it out. My mom brought me some traditional Japanese fabric that I’m excited to sort through and will share when I can!

  3. I love how items (much like wooden spools) let us make the connection and visualise how life in the past would be like. Things used to be made by hand at home or locally, and treasured for generations rather being so disposable.

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