Knitting sheaths are rarely seen nowadays and make a fascinating field for collectors.

The purpose of the sheath was to take the weight of the work and prevent the stitches from slipping off the botttom of a double-ended needle. They were tucked into the waist band or held under the arm, and were used throughout Europe and the British Isles during the 18th. and 19th. Centuries. Some were refined and exotic being made from a variety of materials including amber, porcelain, ivory, silver and brass etc. The majority were made from a range of available woods of which the higher quality were from boxwood or mahogany.

Their charm lies less in the craftsmanship than in the story they tell. Many were crudely carved gifts or love tokens, bearing the name of the recipient sometimes with a date and a heart or other symbol. The design often enables their origin to be traced to a closely defined region.

Further information on knitting sheaths can be found in Treen by Pinto (now out of print) and Needlework Tools and Accessories, a Dutch Tradition by Kay Sullivan.

An elegant caged ball wooden knitting sheath, early 19th Century.

Price: 275
An elegant caged ball wooden knitting sheath


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