Where were black women?
  • A mystery sewing item
  • Mystery needle case with a family history
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    Auction Finds

    Mystery Finds

    I occasionally come across items at auctions that stump me. What is it? What was it used for? I will be posting photos of them, and if you can identify them, please comment below.  If you’ve come across items you can’t identify, please submit them to me.


    Mystery Lot 2: Here are two other items that I picked up in a lot of knitting items. They look like vintage knitting tools.




    Mystery Lot 1: These three items came in a box lot of needlepoint and cross stitch goodies. I was able to identify everything else in the lot except them. Help me out, please, knitters, sewers, needlepointers, crocheters. What are they? And are they all related to sewing?


    1. I agree. The long handled tool at the top right with the hard wire end is used for sculpting clay. I was an art teacher for a zillion years, and of course studied art (including several ceramics classes) so I am sure of that one.
      If you had added something to show how big the item was (a ruler or a dime) the person who thought it was a shoe horn would have realized it was too small. The item is probably less than an inch wide and 8 to 10 inches long.

      When I saw the green item at the bottom, I immediately thought of spool knitting, so I agree with someone else on that one, too. I had a small one with only 6 posts. I used scrap yarn to make a very long and colorful knitted tube (about .75 inch in diameter) that I was eventually going to stitch together in an oval to make a rug (somewhat like a rag rug.) I never put it together and have no idea what my mother did with it.

    2. Hi, I have to agree that the long wood tool with the wire top is a sculpting tool. I have one just like it.
      The wires on the end come in various sizes and shapes for removing clay. The flat bottom is used as the other lady said, to tap down or smooth out areas on the clay. Can also be used to push in slots or rows in the clay.

    3. I think the two item that you have with handles on the sides are rug making punches. Using rags or yarn, they would punch loops thru a backing of burlap or canvas making floor coverings.
      Used one when I was in junior high, way back in the day. 1974
      I agree with the sculptors tool and the others are right also. Even the bobbin lace bobbin in black.

    4. Hello,
      I enjoyed looking at your site and reading your articles. I have one of those slave tokens and became a little
      concerned when I noticed the backwards “n” on the reverse. I thought for a moment it was a reproduction.
      Thanks! I feel a bit better after reading your description!

    5. The second instrument in upper photo, looks like a sculptor’s tool-the wooden handle bottom part to smooth clay, top wire part to take away clay in sculpting process.

    6. In your first set of pictures the long brown wooden thing looks like the old time shoe horns that use to hang on the side of the shoe shiners chair. I hope this is correct & this helps. Let me know what you find out.
      Thanks Natalie

    7. The first photo is of a pom pom maker; traditionally, the shape is circular. The 2nd is used for spool knitting; you may have made one as a child, using a wooden thread spool & small nails. The 3rd may be the pick used w/ the knitting spool – to make it easier to lift the stitch over the prong (back in the day, we used crochet hooks or a nail).

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