WW100 – New Zealand's First World War Centenary Programme ran from 2014 to 2019

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Sweetheart Pincushion Project

Using a First World War rehabilitation task, a sweetheart pincushion will be made for each person serving from the Upper Clutha region in the war in recognition of their service.

Community project recognising the WW1 contribution of Upper Clutha residents

Project Aim
In recognition of the Centenary of the First World War Armistice. Date: Sunday, 11 November 2018, 7am,-8pm.
This project uses a First World War concept to recognise people who served in the war from the Upper Clutha region. A pincushion will be made for each person serving from the Upper Clutha region in the First World War. Completed pincushions will be exhibited during November. Names of those that served are sourced from Upper Clutha Historical Records Society (2016) Courageous and Free p 230-237.
Proceeds from exhibition (gold coin donations) and sale of pincushions will be donated to the RSA Benefit Fund. This project is supported by the Upper Clutha RSA.

The sending of sweetheart pincushions from serviceman in rehabilitation units to family and sweethearts back home began at the end of the 19th century and continued in the start of the 20th century.
The tradition began in the nineteenth century with Queen Victoria. The Queen was an amateur practitioner of textile arts, who thought that soldiers might find quilting or needlepoint a great distraction while far from home. Queen Victoria felt homesick infantry posted abroad should be kept busy. So starting in India in the early 20th Century, trunks filled lace, beads etc. were shipped out to them. They added regimental identification. The practice continued through the First World War. Soldiers would scavenge for needles and thread to embellish feed sacks. Later pillows were manufactured and could be bought as souvenirs. The cushion above is one of two held by The Stockport Museums Collections.
Some British soldiers stationed in India made quilts, and sailors in the Navy often extended their sail-making efforts to recreational needlework. In the First World War, soldiers often took up needlepoint as a way to pass the time while recuperating from war wounds, or used it as a form of occupational therapy. These cushions were decorated with beads, sequins, bits of mirror, felt, and pre-printed panels memorializing soldiers’ regiments. The Imperial War Museum states that some such pillows were made out of commercially sold kits, while others were sewn using feed sacks and scrounged thread.
Pictures of historical sweetheart pincushions can be found on Pinterest
Project Organiser: Sue Bartlett                 
Contact: 021 135 1517 or [email protected]

This activity is being worked on from
01 Feb 2018
11 Nov 2018
Date added: 10 October 2018 | Last updated: 14 November 2018
| Contact:
Sue Bartlett
| Email: