Old Collectibles

I have a thing for old collectibles. The warm woods, the weathered look, the knowledge that these things have been around for a long time. I like poking around in antique stores and flea markets, seeing what treasures I might find. One thing I look for is old darning eggs. I like that people used to fix their socks, instead of tossing them and picking up another 5-pack at Target. Of course as sock knitters, we all know the value of handknit socks and I would reckon that most of us darn any holes that might show up, right? These old darners work great. Once in awhile I’ll see a darner with a silver handle. Very pretty, but too expensive. And a friend gave me an old glass darner, which is cool. Not really the kind of thing you’d throw into your sewing basket, I don’t think. But mostly I just collect old wooden ones.

Another thing I like is antique sock blockers. I’m always looking for unusual shapes and sizes. I like this single one a lot because it has a 10 at the top, which I assume means that it’s a size 10. That was one long sock, as this measures 34″ from top to toe.

I like them in pairs, too. I think that pair without the holes probably took a lot longer to dry socks than the ones with holes down the middle to help the air circulate better. Maybe they just hung them by the fireplace, like Christmas stockings. Anyway, now they’re fun to put up around the shop.

Do you collect anything old related to knitting/sewing/crocheting/quilting?

Sheri wholikesoldsewingneedlebooks,too


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20 comments on “Old Collectibles

  1. I knew there was a reason I liked you…lol…I have a basket of darning eggs and a wall in the laundry room with old sock blockers!! This is too funny!

  2. It would be simple for you to add my sock darner to your collection. When I was a girl we used a burned-out light bulb to darn socks. Even today I find it difficult to throw away a burned-out bulb…might need to mend a sock! :-)

  3. I don’t really collect anything but I do have my first wood embroidery hoop hanging on a peg shelf in my dining room and my mother’s metal hand crank sewing machine from when she was a girl (she’s 83 now). It’s black and silver – I keep that near my knitting needles and quilt fabric cabinet

  4. I have a collection of old sewing supplies (including needle books!). I love the artwork they used in those days. Some of my needle books are promotional items that were handed out by local businesses; I wish they still did that!

  5. Yeah – my yarn is getting old because I don’t knit fast enough, and you’re too quick to get beautiful yarns in stock! Ha! Ha!

  6. I like picking up old darning eggs too, when I can find them. I also have an old pair of sheep shears. Oh and antique buttons with character.

  7. I have some old wooden crochet hooks. I tried to crochet with one recently, but discovered they’re not all that smooth…better to just look at.

  8. My mother has a beautiful porcelain darning egg, which I will inherit. She collects thimbles as well. I collect old teapots and yarn, hah! I also love old buttons and find it very relaxing to just run my hands through my button box.

  9. My daughter sent me some wooden instruments that were used to create a center pull ball of yarn before there were ball winders. It’s called a nøstepinde and Knitty Daily had an article about them in mid-December.

  10. I have my mother-in-law’s small hand crank sewing machine that she actually used to sew dresses with. I wish I had other items, but I do not. I truly love your darning egg collection. Just beautiful.

  11. I don’t have any old collectibles, and I haven’t darned any socks yet. Not that some don’t need it, but I just haven’t done it. Makes me feel like a bad sock knitter!

  12. I’m admiring the darning egg collection – but I have to confess, I haven’t the slightest clue how to darn a sock – I still haven’t actually knitted my own sock yet. . . :) There’s always this year! Keep up the great work with these awesome tidbits of history and collecting.

  13. I really do not collect anything old that involves knitting, but I do have a darning egg. It belonged to my mother and I used it as a child to darn my father’s socks. It is round with a handle and has a silver hoop that goes around the area to hold it tight. It was fun to darn the socks, although I probably did not feel that way then.

  14. I, too, collect the antique sewing accessories, including the darning eggs, but my main collection is of antique sewing machines, both handcrank & treadle machines, all of which I use. They have such perfect stitching, and are so practical for quilting and basic sewing that I have no use for the overpriced, computerized machines now being sold. The “youngest” sewing machine I own is a 1975 Kenmore with very few different stitches; its been a workhorse for me, but I also delight in using the many treadles I have whose dates range from 1885 to 1930. Only problem is that they take up a lot more space than does my enormous yarn stash!

  15. I do not have a collection of old sock blockers yet but I will be keeping an eye out for them when I head out. I have admired yours for a couple of years. I have not seen any in the shops I have been in so far, but I will keep looking.

  16. I can never pass up antique knitting tools. They just have so much character. I’ve bought 3 weasels but passed 2 of them on to friends who I thought needed them, too. They were all different. I also have a single long sock blocker like yours, only mine doesn’t have holes and is a size 11…huge! It has the name “Walkerton” pressed into the wood below the size.

  17. Sherri – I collect old sock blockers. I currently have around 20. I LOVE them for all of the same reasons that you do. It’s so tough to find good history on them though. I love when you post about your collection! Once and a while, I will even use the old ones for blocking my knit socks if my plastic ones are all in use (around fair time when I’m reblocking many pairs) or when my plastic ones are not quite the right size or shape. I hope to write a post dedicated to my collection on my blog at some point when I have time to do all of those photos. When I do, I’ll let you know in case you want to see!

  18. I love reading all the feedback here. I have a couple of old Darning Eggs and I was wondering if there is a way to tell how old they are? Such as a maker mark or something similar….I don’t see a mark on them. They were advertised as vintage but no one knew the age. One person said around the 1920s but had no actual way to tell she was guessing from experience I think. None were expensive so they could be new and aged in someway….(ahhh I hope not)
    Thought I would post this and see what your readers will say….thanks to any who read this.