Thinking about her needles made me curious about when the first knitting needles were "invented" so I have done a little research to see what the story is. Amazingly, there is almost nothing. It is like knitting just magically appeared-no written history, no patents, no anything.
Many historians believe that true knitting dates back to 7th- 9th century Egypt. (Maybe some art is the source of the information.) Early knitting probably was an off shoot of an ancient technique called nalbinding which used a blunt needle with an eye. These early instruments were carved of bone, horn, or wood as were the first (and some of the new) knitting needles. Earliest needles were probably double points to produce tube type projects. Eventually straight needles with blobs on one end were developed and most recently circular needles came along. The first interchangeable needles were developed by Bob and Lorraine Linstead in the 1960s for Sears and Boye. The Linsteads went on to invent and patent the Denise Interchangeable system in 1977. (Anne Berk, THe Hazy History of Knitting Needles, Piecwork, March/April 2012.) Each year we have more needles and styles to choose from--square, round, plastic, wood, metal, sharp points, round points, coiled cords, plastic cords, etc. This allows those of us who love to knit (and have 20 some projects going) choose the just right needle for our project. Ahhhh! What a treat!
Unfortunately, as interesting as all this is, it doesn't tell us much about who or when the first needles were picked up, so we don't have much in the way of history. Mack made the needles in the picture for me several years ago. They are made of cherry and black walnut the small set are US #6 and the bigger set is a US #9. It is hard to believe what large chunks of wood Mack had to use to turn them on his lathe. They are beautiful and I treasure them. Hopefully, some day 100 years form now someone will find them, realise they are hand made and treasure them. The bond between generations is one of the many facets of knitting that make it so special.
Note: I didn't find either the pattern or the needles, so back to the search!