Webs of Woven Words, Threads, Stitches and Enchantments

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Pin Cushion As A Protection Charm

photo from: http://littlemoomoo.net/product/tomato-pin-cushion/

In the realm of the Kitchen Witch so many household items can be made into and used as charms. One such, with a history of use as a protection charm, is the tomato pin cushion. 

In the 14th and 15th centuries, pins and needles were very expensive and kept in needle or pin cases made from a variety of materials including silver, pot metals, ivory, and bone. Pin pillows, pyn pillows, or pin poppets, were the precursor of the pin cushion and came along in about the 18th century. These were made from different fabrics from plain to elaborate and included embroidery from simple to extensive. These were, in time, mounted on a variety of stands becoming decorative pieces for the home. Eventually, these pincushions became almost a status symbol and woman were sure to have at least one, but usually more. Today, antique pincushions and needle cases are highly collectible. 

Tomato pincushions came along due to a very sweet bit of folklore, in my opinion; in the Victorian age, when people moved into a new home, a tomato was placed on the mantel of the hearth. This was done to bring prosperity to the family and ward off evil spirits. Of course, tomatoes were not always available and they would rot, so people would create one of red fabric and embellish them with embroidery and other bits of fabric. Eventually they were used to hold pins and needles.

Today, many kitchen and stitching witches like to use this old folklore and create charms of protection. One can make the entire pincushion from scratch or buy one already made, available in any sewing or craft store. If making from scratch, one can stuff the cushion with a variety of items, herbs, bits of stones, ground wood from various trees, etc. When I buy one pre-made, I cleanse it very well and keep it for a full moon cycle before I begin enchanting it. Since I am not stuffing the actua cushion myself, I usually add a small bundle of protection herbs and other items including small stones and crystals, tie them up in a small square of black fabric with red yarn - or vice versa, whatever you are inspired to do. I also like to add pins arranged in symbols of protection or draw symbols and then place my pins. I also like to add various colored threads corresponding to intention and "attach" them by threading needles and placing in the pincushion, allowing the threads to float free.

Now where to place? Not everyone has a hearth. I live Toadstool Condo in South Florida, it didn't have a hearth, but... I purchased a ventless fireplace from Plow and Hearth some years ago and it is our hearth, so that's one place that the cushion rests on. If you don't have a hearth, your stove takes the place of it. I hang one over my stove too. A special narrow table set up to look like a hearth and blessed for this purpose would be another idea. I did this before I had my ventless fireplace and kept some of my collection of cauldrons around it and a variety of candles on it. A chiminea, small or large, with a candle or candles, is another option; there's nothing like a fireplace! 

Blessings nine!