On 04/09/07, Heather Rose Jones <heather.jones@...
> Archaeological reports might be useful: small iron objects aren't likely to have survived
> but bone or bronze might.
Definitely archaeological reports. For 12th C, the museum of London
books are an easy place to start. The york archeology books are
probably great too (but no Libraries in Australia have any of them
<sigh>) and should cover this period. Look for books that cover
"small finds" "dress accessories" "metalwork" "household items"
"textile items" especially.
The trouble with pins is that it's really tricky to determine what is
a sewing pin and what a pin used to fasten clothing. But since I often
use sewing pins to fasten my clothing anyway, this difference may be
moot. I imagine the sewing pins will generally be the plainer pins,
and not the largest ones. Needles are a lot easier to be sure about,
but watch out for large blunt bone, horn or antler needles. These
would most likely be used for naalbinding, not sewing.
The other point is that when I'm handsewing my 12th C garments, I
don't commonly use more than half a dozen pins. I generally find it
easier to match the seams together as I sew than have them pre pinned.
I don't know if this is typical or not, but I really don't need many
pins to handsew shapes that are mostly squares.
Finally, there is a passage by Alexander Nequam translated in UT
Holmes "Daily living in the 12th Century" that discusses what needles
a maid should have. It's really a primary school primer designed to
teach latin words, so the list may not be accurate in composition, but
it should be giving a list of all the common types of needle (common
enough to be known to a worldly clergyman) that existed at the time.