Didn't I say that I'd end up feeling like an idiot over Weird Stick Thing? Well... I guess I don't feel like a complete idiot... I mean, I didn't know what the thing was, so I set out to investigate. And when I couldn't come up with an answer, I asked for help from all of you. That just means I'm uninformed; not an idiot. But... I still feel like an idiot.
Weird Stick Thing was found in a bunch of needlework tools, so I assumed that it was a needlework tool of some kind. Wouldn't you? And after some help from the wonderful members of Ravelry, it's possible that Weird Stick Thing wasn't originally intended as a needlework tool... Or, maybe it was? I love the responses to my post! Let's cover some of the suggestions so far:
1. Swizzle stick
2. Fruit skewer
3. A cheap shawl pin
4. Crappy knitting needle (lol!)
5. A spool-knitting tool
Whether Weird Stick thing was added to the collection by my mom, the original owner, or just by accident... Well, we may never know. But I do know that my mom used to do quite a bit of sewing back before my time, and still created a few projects in my younger years. I have vague memories of a quilt in progress, mentions of some mysterious material called bias tape that looks like fabric to me*, and what looked like surgery being done on a blanket with an orange stick.
*I'm not that clueless, I really know what bias tape is. I just refuse to acknowledge it.
I assume the "surgery" would be "turning corners"; something that didn't register in my young brain because the quilt wasn't being turned... Just like how I couldn't figure out why bias tape wasn't sticky at all... And while we're at it, I was confused about orange sticks not being orange, too. Hey, we could keep going with the perplexity of why Turtle Wax is to wax your car and not to wax your pet turtle, but we're talking about Weird Stick Thing, not the misconceptions of a three-year-old.
So, getting to the point: According to suggestions 1 & 2, it looks like Weird Stick Thing might be nothing more than a swizzle stick. Yup, this mystery needlework tool was possibly part of a cocktail. The ball-end looks right, but what about that pointy end? Maybe it's a skewer/swizzle stick combo, or maybe it's a swizzle stick with a broken top. Either way, I could see it being used as a tool to turn corners while sewing. BUT! See a note during the explanation of suggestion 5.
As for suggestion 3, I could also see it being the pin-part of a shawl pin... But indeed, it would be a cheap one. And that rolls into suggestion 4: The crappy knitting needle. That's what I thought it was at first! Who knows, maybe it is...
Now, on to suggestion 5, and possibly why I didn't recognize this tool: The tool for a spool knitter, or a Knitting Nancy. This is a tool and craft I had to go research. French knitting? Are you serious? Now there's another yarn-y craft I'm going to have to learn? Yay! Anyways... Although this tool doesn't exactly match any of the ones I found online, it does bear a striking resemblance. And I even found one that came with a yellow plastic stick, but the ball at the end is different. This could be a cheaper version, or it could still be a swizzle stick.
However, I think suggestion 5 could be the likely answer, due to some extra clues provided. One informative Ravelry member happens to be married to a 30-year bar and restaurant manager. See? It helps to have inside connections. Apparently the size of this "swizzle stick" is all wrong for it to be a fruit skewer, swizzle stick, or a fruit-skewering swizzle stick.
So in conclusion, there still is no real conclusion! The Ravelry discussion is still ongoing, so feel free to stop by and check the whole thing out. Is it a swizzle stick? A knitting spool tool? What do you think? And to add to the barrage of questions: Forget the grown-up style looms... Have you ever used a toy-style Knitting Nancy Doll? Why, oh why did they make a toy that poops out your needlework? What IS that?
This whole thing makes me want to throw a Starbucks drink stopper in with my tools, just to confuse the kids when I'm gone :)
Happy... Knitting? Drinking? What is it?