Monday, August 1, 2011

Darning Eggs-The Inside Story

Hi Everyone,
Well, if you live in the mid west you know that we're having a lot of very hot, humid weather the past several days along with a lot of storms. And as I go through today's posting you'll see what I mean...

Today we're going to talk about darning eggs, those lovely, lovable egg-shaped pieces of wood that are used to repair holes and worn spots in knitted fabrics.

 I have lots of friends who knit and they are almost always making socks or mittens. Darning eggs, or mushrooms,  provide a solid, gently curved surface to darn holes closed. And if you look on the Internet you'll see that lots of darning eggs are handed down from one generation to the next. In earlier times every household had a darning egg and they are making a resurgence as knitting is becoming more popular.

To begin we are going to take a 2x2x6 inches long piece of red oak and place it on the lathe end to end:

Next we'll turn off the corners and shape it into a cylinder:

I like to mark out the major divisions in my turnings and in this photo you can see the faint pen lines that mark the beginning, the middle, and the end of the egg I'm going to start:

Before I begin turning the body of the egg, I like to turn down the ends of the cylinder. This makes working on the ends much easier:

Here you can see the egg beginning to take shape:

Here is a photo of a nearly completed egg that is ready to be parted off or cut off at the ends:

Here is the completed egg. I've turned this one for a friend who prefers a broad, flat surface for darning:

Just as I was finishing up this turning the local storm sirens went off. We've had a lot of overcast today and it was steadily getting darker and darker as I was working. Here's what the sky looked like:

I have several more shots but I don't seem to be able to upload them.

Hey, I got it to work. Maybe the scary pictures is scaring the computer. Here they are:

Anyway, it looked really scary outside so I came in and ate lunch and waited for the bad weather to pass by (it's been raining for the past several hours)..and went back out and worked on a second egg.

This one is rounder and a more egg-shaped egg:

And here is the day's output:

I've given the oak eggs a light coat of Danish oil and left the poplar egg alone.

I have some black ash that I purchased several weeks ago and I'm going to be making some plates out of it so stay tuned and I'll be back later this weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. This is great! I love watched a darning egg take shape, along with the weather. More, more!!!

  2. Hey Maddy!
    Did you know that there was a "Worshipful Company of Knitters" in 16th century London? I bet they used darning eggs!!
    I will keep you enthralled with more turning tales. In the meantime, take a look at this blog and my other blog, Pipearooo which is all about making furniture out of plumbing pipe.
    Best and Thanks for the comment,