What is this old sewing tool?

I found this odd thing in my recently departed grandma’s sewing stuff. (Link to pictures below)
It’s about 15 cm, 6 inches long, with a wood handle making up about half that length.
At one end there are two needles. A thick one made of brass or similar, with a deep groove from tip to bottom and two holes, one near the tip and one near the base. Parallel to this, on the side opposite the groove is a slightly shorter, much thinner needle made of steel.
There’s a piece of brass that has holes for the two needles looks like it could be used to prevent the needles going too deep. See images for details.

Anyone know what it is for?


It looks like a tool for punch embroidery or if it is large we used to have one for punch rugs. You set the screw for the size loop you would want. it was the thing for awhile, but it was a long and tedius job! The end product though was beautiful. They sell smaller sets in the stores(Like Michaels). At least I think they still do. I gave a set once to my Mother In-Law she did make a small rug, but said please don’t send me any more, that is just too much work! She was a patient woman and made many quilts out of tiny pieces of fabric.

It’s for punch rugs, like monavis said.

Here’s an illustration that may make it make a little more sense.

The one on the right is what you’ve got (although the illustration is of a much simpler punch - there’s no depth-stop pins on the punch end, and it doesn’t have a screw to determine the loop length.

Notice that the needle has the eye on the tip, like in sewing machines. The thread runs through the needle eye, up along the needle (that’s what that enormous groove is for) and then comes out the back, where (in your example) the tension and slack is regulated by the screw mechanism so that your loops come out all even without you having to fuss with it.

It is a huge pain in the ass to do, but the results are quite beautiful. If this is an antique, you may consider having it evaluated, as it may end up being worth a bit of money. Then you can decide whether you want to keep it (with documentation of the value) or sell it to a collector or enthusiast.

In the OP’s pictures, what is the smaller, eye-less needle for? Does it create a small hole in the backing fabric to indicate where the next yarn loop should be placed? I can see how that would keep the loops evenly spaced/sized, and it might make it easier to push the yarn-carrying needle through the backing.

Is it an optical artifact known as a “shadow”?

Snipped and bolded by me.

Not a shadow, although it does look it from the photographs.
Not entirely sure, because I don’t personally do punch embroidery or punch rugs (outside of one assigment in school that I hated) but I *think *it’s for helping you keep a consistent depth of punch.

I could be totally wrong.

:smack: A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in this case I should have read the OP more carefully before studying the photos…

Looks like a “sewing awl”, with an adjustable depth guide.

I use a sewing awl to repair straps on backpacks & such. Since I pull each loop tight after feeding the other end of the thread through the loop, I wouldn’t get much benefit from a depth guide.

Here’s a modern sewing awl: