We absolutely fell in love with this poignant little item. This is why we Love antiques as they instantly connect you with the past. This exceptionally original item was given as a prize for needlework to little Edith Shaw in or around the year 1900 when needlework and knitting was taught in schools for practical rather than decorative purposes. See specimens of needlework including similar sewing exercises held by the Winterthur, their examples wrought by Blanche Ellis of Nowalk, Ohio between 1894-95.
Our wooden based basket is beautifully crafted using several techniques of basket making including straw plaiting, braid coiling, wicker and twining. The basket comes complete not only with its contents but its original wrapped D top handle, wicker lock and locking toggle....remarkable. One opens the lid to reveal its original deeply buttoned and blue silk covered padded lid lining. Inside the basket are six examples of knitted wool and knitted cotton samples with darned repairs in colored cotton. It is remarkable to think that this little girl aged 11 had to first finely knit the example leaving a hole that she then darned repaired in color so that her teacher could see the accuracy of each of her repair stitches!! This would be a life skill for the girl so that she could make and repair items either in her home or for her employer if she later entered domestic service.
Also inside the basket are examples of her needlework - we four examples of fine hemming, dart making, a fine neck/bodice opening, a striped example of a patch repair with the hand written paper label stating " Work basket prize for needlework when I was 11 years old about 1900 Edith Shaw". Other contents include a gauze square with button hole practice, a wooden needlecase containing beige Peri Lusta fine darning thread with handmade pin inside, an empty wooden bodkin case, vegetable ivory thimble, two mother of pearl handled button hooks, one mother of pearl handled stiletto, a mother of pearl handled threader, one metal button hook and a small pair of metal scissors.
Size: 7" square by 5" tall.
Condition: Very good to excellent with just a 3" section of wicker missing along the front base edge. This basket is all original and complete with metal spring like hinges and string ties. Untouched and un-restored, a slight aroma of elderly ladies talcum powder. A wonderful example of domestic social history that works fantastically well with any sewing, knitting, folk art or doll collection. See the last image of this basket taken with our huge antique wax doll.
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