"We like to think we have helped to keep textile history alive by making bobbins available to everyone."
Ann & Dirk Poole
Bobbins in the Marketplace
We are always interested to hear how our customers use bobbins beyond the ideas we have dreamed up in our workshop. A few of those creative inspirations include hat stands, peg racks, wind chimes, and Christmas tree ornaments.
Some of the retailers who purchase our products take bobbins to an artistic level. We have seen spindles used as integral parts of whimsical robot figures made from carefully selected flea market finds. Bobbins and shoelasts have been spotted in the interesting window and shelf displays, decorating many popular clothing stores, found at mall and Main Street locations. Not long ago, an assortment of bobbins was assembled to create an elaborate sculpture, an enigmatic piece of sidewalk art, gracing the front of a downtown building. And that is just to name a few......
Over the years, Milling Around has sold its goods to small gift stores, antique and collectible shops, department stores, online catalogs, museum stores and more. In the process of saving these antiquities from the fate of the landfill, our products have been shipped all over the world. Bobbins have been admired and enjoyed by enthusiasts from Anchorage to Melbourne and lots of places in between!
A Bit of Our History
“The World of Wooden Bobbins” is a book about, well, bobbins. Much of the material provided for the production of the book was supplied by experts on the subject: Ann and Dirk Poole of Newcastle. The Pooles recently opened a new retail business in Newcastle called Milling Around. Among the eclectic collectable items in their shop are old wooden bobbins.
In the mid-1900s when plastic bobbins started coming into play, the traditional wooden bobbin slowly began to fade into the background.
As stated in the book, wooden bobbins had become commonplace by that time, and had little value, even as firewood, because of the high oil content that would cause them to burn uncontrollably. Millions were destroyed and buried in landfills. Now, as they become increasingly rare, wooden bobbins are becoming increasingly valuable.
Dirk Poole's parents were the reason he and Ann became interested in bobbins.
Jim and Wendy Poole started a business called Ma's Bobbin Works in 1975. Still run by Dirk and Ann Poole, the Nobleboro company deals in wholesale and online sales of bobbins of all shapes and sizes that have been transformed into candlesticks, jump ropes, pens and kaleidoscopes.
Now the younger Pooles have opened a new shop in Newcastle.
The pair bought the former bank building at 67 Main Street in Newcastle in May, and began renovations to make it the bright, open, airy spot it is now.
Aside from the wooden bobbins they are known for, the Pooles sell antiques and gift items, mostly locally made.
“We carry a lot of items from Custom Cordage (in Waldoboro), who makes rope mats and baskets. We have developed a relationship with them because we supply the bobbins for their rope machines,” Dirk Poole said.
There are exquisite woven blankets made by Nanne Kennedy of The Maine Blanket in Washington, Maine; and intricately designed glass mosaic trays and painted objects, such as old saws, by Liz Martone of EFM Studio in Portland.
At the entrance to the shop, apropos to the season, are three jack-o-lanterns, carved in stones. The pumpkins and the garden benches, among other stone items, are made by Ethan Wajer of Wajer Landscaping & Stoneworks in Newcastle.
The Pooles have lived in the area for 29 years and have two daughters.
SUZI THAYER, Staff Reporter
October 17, 2014