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Antique Treen Knitting Sheaths - what are they?

Antique treen knitting sheath with chain and hook

An antique knitting sheath was a holder where one end of a needle was placed and then the sheath was tucked into a belt worn around the waist. Some of the knitting sheaths have a diagonal slot in them where apron strings/ribbons could hold them in place. The needle is held in position by the antique knitting sheath and allows one hand to be freed up. A knitting sheath made knitting quicker and enabled people to knit on the move.

Antique knitting sheaths were made from many materials wood, metal, straw, ivory and fabric and in a variety of forms from a simple stick to a fish, feather elaborate ones with chains and hooks. Many were made by men as love tokens with verses, hearts and dates on or my fathers for their daughters.

These treen knitting sheaths are a collectors field in their own right, certain shapes came from particular regions of the UK, for instance the goose wing knitting sheath came from Yorkshire.

Image 1 is a simple knitting sheath but because some chip carving and an initial it makes it more interesting and then to have a date of 1746 makes it a very desirable piece of antique treen.

Image 2 is a very unusual treen knitting sheath in the form of a feather, with a glorious colour.

Image 3 is an extremely rare and intricate antique treen knitting sheath with a chain and a hook all carved from one piece of wood with a cage and ball similar to decoration used on the Welsh antique love spoons. The hook would have been for carrying the weight of the knitting. It is an 18th century example.

Image 4 is a 19th century antique knitting sheath with a glass panel with a hand written verse and a small chain a piece of Folk Art.

Image 5 shows the whole of the chain and hook knitting sheath.

Image 6 shows a close up of the hand written verse.

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