Brass Knitting Sheath
This brass knitting sheath originates from the Durham or North Yorkshire region. In his excellent book ‘North Country Folk Art’, Peter Brears gives detailed information and fine drawings of knitting sheaths, most of which were made of wood and were frequently carved as love tokens.
Brears notes that, ‘In this region knitting was carried out on a number of curved metal needles, one of which was held rigidly between the right hand and a purposely-made wooden support or sheath secured at the side of the body between the waist and armpit by means of a ribbon or belt.’ He then goes on to quote William Howitt who, in 1844, noted that ‘the women of the North, in fact, often sport very curious knitting sheaths (which) are often presented from their lovers to the young women’.
Brass sheaths, according to Brears, were ‘usually made by young men for their loved ones, those of North Yorkshire having broad, convex hearts pierced with scrolls and a row of small holes drilled around their edges.’