I have gotten it firmly into my head that I want to make a period sewing kit. I know that I can purchase one from Historic Enterprises, but much of the fun for me is in the planning, research and creating. Buying one fully formed from the head of Zeus would be a let down. Fortunately, I have the internet and Larsdatter's page on pictorial evidence of sewing tools.
From that page I learned that needles were kept in little vial shaped cases. This leaves me confused as I have heard of references to needlebooks, mainly from a project listed by the Atlantian Embroiderer's Guild. I think the problem lies in that the description is all text, and a photo or several would help clear things up for me. I believe the project is for a place to put needles into, rather than just a pretty book cover, but I can't tell.
Later, I consulted the Athena's Thimble Embroidery Guild. The consensus was that there was scant evidence of needle books being used in period, but there's an air of plausibility to them. Hence, If I am interested, I should go for it.
What is much more understandable to me is a case for scissors. As you can see here in the detail painting with the yellow skirt, there is a pouch for scissors. It seems like a dreadfully impractical place to hang a vital piece of equipment though, I'd be afraid of the things falling out.
Finally, the pincushion.There is at least one painting involving a soft place in which to shove the pointy things. While I'm not putting this eventual project's documentation on the level of a graduate thesis, I like knowing that there is precedent for what I want to make.
So between the needle book, scissors case and pincushion, I'll have some nice 'broidery projects ahead of me.