A gorgeous and ingenious hand carved wooden tool that allowed women to knit quickly whilst on the go - whilst standing up. Hand carved from a single sourced piece of English Ash, this knitting stick feels exceptionally tactile in ones hand from the centuries of use. Don't forget that knitting in the 1700 and early 1800s was not for pleasure or as a hobby, but was an absolute necessity for clothing ones family and for bringing in extra income.
This gorgeous spindle form knitting stick originated in the South Pennines, Yorkshire area of the North of England during the 18th century. It looks stunning when displayed as part of a group in your favorite vase. See last images, each sold individually, each from an English single owner collection.
We adore such early examples as they were handmade, often deeply personal knitting tools that stayed with its owner for their working life. Their decoration is well executed by hand, being simple and practical. The hand turned rings on this ash example are particularly charming and showcase the skill of their turner. They juxtapose beautifully with the natural vertical grain of Ash wood. The constant use and being used both indoors and outdoors, often gives them a wonderful mellow coloring and smooth, time worn patina.
This ancient tradition of using a sheath goes back at least four centuries in Great Britain. During Elizabethan times knitting schools were established for poorer background children, here they were taught to knit as this new found skill enabled them to earn a living for themselves. Knitting stockings (hose) was a major fashion accessory during this period. As the centuries progressed, in rural areas the cottage industry of domestic hand knitting became increasing popular as a way for inhabitants to supplement their incomes. Thousands of knitters (men, women, children, the elderly or infirm) worked knitting stocking, jumpers (fisherman's gansey), gloves, jackets etc often whilst still farming, fishing or looking after children and the household. See the example of an early knitting stick held by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Just like love spoons, form and decoration varied according to region and also to the materials available and of-course the individual maker's creativity. Designs such as spindle, goosewing or gullwing or the more sophisticated open lantern and ball and cage are all specific to the British Isles. Sometimes names, motifs and dates were also carved into the wooden sheaths.
Size: 7 inch tall (18 cm) by 3/4 inch (1.5 cm). Hole size 1 cm
Condition: Excellent -with a smooth warm patina being evidence of its age and vast usage, all part of its rich history.
Ref: p 307 and plate 324 of Treen and other wooden bygones by Edward Pinto.
Shipping: FREE tracked postage to USA and UK
We love to offer either 3, or 6 month layaway on ALL of our items.
Georgian 18th Century Treen Knitting Stick, Ash Circa 1790 (Ref 13783)
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