Q: Why are pincushions frequently made to resemble tomatoes with attached strawberry?
A: During Victorian Era, placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits. If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust. The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose- a place to store pins or needles. Typically, the tomato is filled with wool roving to prevent rust, and the strawberry is filled with an abrasive to clean and sharpen pins.