What's the Purpose of the Knitting Sheath ?

What's the purpose of a knitting sheath ? Lots of people ask what a knitting sheath is for and as many are such works of art I thought an article on them was well worth it. Knitting clothes dates from as far back as the late 16th century in England,Wales and Scotland. The knitting sheath is a piece of wood, but can be made from other materials like bone, leather, ceramics etc, approximately 8 inches long with a hole in the top,(smaller sheaths were made for children).It was usually tucked into a belt below the right arm pit or slotted over a belt, the point of the needle would slot into the hole in the top of the sheath and would allow someone to knit with one hand whilst performing chores with the other.They also took the weight of the work and stopped stitches slipping off the bottom of a double- ended needle.The majority were made from wood some were crude and plain but most were decorated with carvings, inlay, surface recessed for a message or small painting. Many were given as love tokens but there were plenty made by men for their daughters or other close family members. There are many regional characteristics like the goose wing sheath typical of North-West Yorkshire and Westmorland Dales. Some are dated, others have names on and if you are extremely lucky you may find one with the name of the village or town where it came from,( I have only seen that once). Have fun looking for these lovely pieces of antique treen.........

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