A small, padded cushion used in sewing for keeping pins conveniently handy and safe; they come in all shapes and guises, laid on the table or made into a wrist cushion.

Keeping track of pins is always an issue as they like to disappear–we get through so many pins in a year I think we should fit magnetic floors…..  At home it’s a good idea to get into the habit of using a pin-cushion, especially if you have small children around. One of ours ended up with a pin in his knee that had got caught in the carpet some time before – another trip to A&E !

Some like to strap one around their wrist, others to have a small cushion-like pad close to hand. My grandmother just had enough pins for darning and mending, that she kept in a small needle-case, similar to a credit card wallet.

At one time, pins were extremely expensive,  and good quality ones rare, so both having and keeping pins was a matter of pride and some indulgence.   You can often pick up such antique pin cushions: beautiful, well stuffed, hand made and often embroidered, they tend to be quite small as the valuable pins were counted out, then counted back in!

Today pins are so inexpensive that we have become wasteful, and a box is more useful than a cushion. Perhaps if we had  cushions, and we could see the number of pins, we’d be more careful.

This is mine, a bit worse for wear – actually coffee spilt that really  shouldn’t have been on the table in any case – just as well it was me and not someone else !  I picked it up in an antiques market in Topsham, near Exeter some years ago. It reminds me of the embroidery that we worked as children to keep us  occupied ( quiet) in the summer holidays –  before televisions, computers, games  consoles  i-pads and i-phones  !

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