the claaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwww!

Submitted for your approval: a set of mysterious, somehow- fiber- related wooden claws, probably from Turkey.


They're remarkable, aren't they? The lovely akaGracie sent them to me, along with a gorgeous fabric stamp and a Turkish spindle. There are two full sets of fingers and then this larger, three- finger version.


There are a lot of smart, well- educated fiberphiles out there- someone must have some more information about these, and how they're used. Anyone? Anyone?

The mystery is fantastic. akaGracie tells me she thinks they're for fiber combing- which makes
sense, but I want to know more. Where are they from? What are they
called? How, exactly are they used? Did they give the local children
nightmares? I bet they did.

(I'm barely resisting the temptation to go running amok in my neighborhood at dusk wearing both sets. Can you tell?)




I'll send a custom- dyed skein of sock yarn to the first person who can tell me what these are called and/ or where and how they are used. Any takers?

  One thought on “the claaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwww!

  1. Alyson
    September 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I’m thinking they may well be used in weaving and rug-making, since that’s a big thing in Turkey, and it seems a good idea, having those pointy extensions to … Um, do stuff that has to do with warp and weft? Clearly I know nothing about weaving, but now you’ve got me all curious too.

  2. Bev
    September 10, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    You might try contacting Julie of the Samurai Knitter blog. This riddle is just up her alley!

  3. September 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Hmm, I’ve got nothing for you. I grew up in Turkey and have never seen this tool, which doesn’t mean anything since every little region has their own handcrafts and traditions and many are sadly undocumented. I did a google search in Turkish and turned up nothing. Whoever the item was purchased from would have been the best source of information.

  4. September 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I wish I knew where they were purchased! They were a gift from a very kind reader. I suppose my next step is to take them to one of our local museums. Thanks for looking at them, though!

  5. September 10, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Just wrote to her this afternoon- I hope she can help! Thanks for the referral. 🙂

  6. September 10, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I wish I knew anything about weaving, too. Oh, well. You’re not the first person to mention rug- making, though.

  7. Lise
    September 11, 2009 at 2:39 am

    I’ve been searching too! Haven’t turned up much on the web. I put my library degree to work checking out the public library’s collection but didn’t turn up anything. (To double check I asked the reference librarians and they decided the claws must be prostheses. ) The local spinning group is currently scratching their heads and consulting their various sources. My only other lead at the moment is to check with the local college of arts and crafts and see what they’ve got. (I’m waiting for preschool to start next week for this last one — the 3 yr. old has taken to bolting which makes concentration impossible.) Methinks obsession is beginning to take hold…

  8. September 11, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Lise- thank you so much! I’m so glad to see these are as mesmerizing to others as they are to me. I am enjoying the mystery of them- nothing is quite as satisfying as a bit of mystery in an otherwise quiet life. 🙂

  9. September 12, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I am so glad you are intrigued by this.
    I bought them at various times and places in Turkey (Cappadocia, mostly, but I think I found some in Bergama) in the late 1990s. I can’t remember anyone ever telling me what they were for, but I have retained the impression that they were possibly nomadic, possibly Turkmen, used in some fashion to prepare wool or cotton – for weaving? rug-making?
    I especially like the repairs made to the fingers – with string or metal – because it means these were important to the owner.

  10. September 14, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Thanks, Gracie! I’m loving the mystery of these- and the reactions every time I show them to someone in real life. They’re amazing.

  11. Deniz
    January 31, 2015 at 7:34 am

    It’s called the Turkish-‘ellik’, that could mean that protects the hand
    I grev up Türkiye too:)

  12. December 21, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    I have some too! never knew what they were. Ellik. cool. i would post a pic if i could.

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