After being inspired by our Quilting Club (next meeting is March 5th), I have been doing quite a lot of sewing. Over Christmas I got out the sewing machine and made about 8 bags, but mainly I've been concentrating on my quilt (see picture above). I've never quilted before (or sewn much really), so am learning as I go, and have been loving it.
This foray into sewing has meant that I've been spending lots of money on material and equipment and reading lots of books and articles. One of my favourite things I've found out is that on February 8th it's Hari-Kuyo festival in Japan. This festival gives people the chance to thank and appreciate the needles they have used in the past year by sticking them in to a big block of tofu! As one of the monks from the temple said in the article I read on the reuters website 'Sometimes there are painful things and secrets that women can't tell men, and they put these secrets into the pins and ask the gods to get rid of them.'
It made me wonder if there are any pins and needles or sewing customs in Wales (and the rest of the UK), does anyone know of any? In Oriel 1 we do have a charm bottle on display which has bent pins in it which is meant to protect the owner of the bottle from witchcraft, and of course, pins would be used with a voodoo doll or a poppet...
I had a look in Steve Roud's book 'The Penguin guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland', and whereas there wasn't much about needles (other than if a needle breaks when you are sewing it will bring good fortune to the wearer of the article sewn) there are quite a few customs to do with pins. Pins used in the making of wedding dress are particularly lucky, you could also stick them into an onion as part of a love divination, but you shouldn't take pins on board a ship.
And back to quilting, and patchwork quilts in particular... 'If a lady completes one of these without assistance, she will never be married.'