As I mentioned in Possibilities, a recent joy of mine has been collecting tools and oddments associated with needlework.
It is so much fun to come across these tools, used mostly if not exclusively by women, which were integral to their Making. I love the real materials they are made of – the heft of the metal, the solidness of their construction. And in so many there is a real beauty of design. I treasure them and have been using them with my own work; there is something special about using these tools that have been part of hand crafting for a nearly a hundred years or more.
A Susan Bates stitch and needle gauges for knitting and crochet, the ubiquitous standard. Same for the plastic stitch/row counter. I have had these for several years and they have served me very well:
But the gauge is made of very bendable, thin aluminum. And the plastic row counter always feels cheap to me when I have it next to my hand knits – so much work and such beautiful yarn seems to deserve better accompaniment.
Now look at some examples from years past:
A modern pine darner, unfinished:
It looks washed out and without character to me! Contrast with these two beautiful oak darners from my great-grandmother’s workbox:
A little rust and signs of wear that she actually used them to darn socks. I love that they are part of my collection and use.
One more: a Jahncke’s Mitrailleuse knitting needle case:
This is likely from the 1880s; I am charmed by the brass end caps, beautiful enamelling, and the stylized printing on the case.
And there are even a few of the original “knitting pins” still within!
Do you have treasured tools for your crafts and making – be they old or new? I’d love to hear about them.