This is a 19th century knitting sheath or knitting-stick with great patina and the carved name and initials "E Ann J". It measures 9" long by 2 1/2" at the widest. There is a hole at the top where the knitting needle was inserted.
European peasants had little time for personal needs such as sewing and knitting. These ambitious women developed a knitting method that allowed them to knit while the walked. The knitting needle was inserted into the end of a wooden sheath such as this one. The sheath bore a notch which held it in place when inserted into the knitter's apron. The sheath allowed her to knit with one hand as she walked along, sometimes holding the hand of a child or basket of whatever she needed to carry at that time. This 19th century knitter must have been thrilled when presented with this knitting sheath with her name carved into it. Obviously presented to the woman as a token of love. This carved knitting sheath is either English or Continental (early Americans did not use these) and probably of some type of fruit wood. The constant handling has given this love token a rich patina. Circa first half of the 19th century.