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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 57

Knitting Sheath

1679 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Knitting sheaths were attached to the waist and used to support one knitting needle so that the knitter only needed to use one hand for plain knitting. Many women supplemented their incomes by making knitted goods for sale and a knitting sheath made it possible to knit while carrying out other domestic chores, in particular carrying or feeding infants.

Knitting sheaths were often made as love tokens. This carved boxwood example bears the initials AT and the date 1679 with an inscription, 'I am box and brass within, my place is on your apron string'. The hole at the top of the sheath to hold the needle is lined with brass.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Carved boxwood with brass lining
Physical Description
Carved boxwood with geometric decoration and brass lining to hole.
Dimensions
  • Length: 7.75in
  • Width: 0.6in
  • Depth: 0.6in
Dimension taken from register, not checked on object.
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'I am box and brass within, my place is on your apron string'
  • AT / 1679
Object history
Bought from Charles W. Brown 'C.W and J.H. Brown, Antique Furniture and China Dealers', 21 Oxford Street, London, from whom the Museum bought various small items of metalwork, woodworking tools and woodwork 1891-1907, according to the nominal file MA/1/B29J1. (Brown is not listed in Mark Westgarth, A Biographical Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Antique & Curiosity Dealers (Regional Furniture vol. XXIII, 2009)).



The accessions files mention an article in the Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorlan Antiquarian Society, vol. VI, p. 91, on the history and use of knitting sheaths.
Summary
Knitting sheaths were attached to the waist and used to support one knitting needle so that the knitter only needed to use one hand for plain knitting. Many women supplemented their incomes by making knitted goods for sale and a knitting sheath made it possible to knit while carrying out other domestic chores, in particular carrying or feeding infants.



Knitting sheaths were often made as love tokens. This carved boxwood example bears the initials AT and the date 1679 with an inscription, 'I am box and brass within, my place is on your apron string'. The hole at the top of the sheath to hold the needle is lined with brass.
Collection
Accession Number
774-1907

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record createdJanuary 2, 2007
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