My daughter in law found this antique darning egg for me at an estate sale. Like many utilitarian objects from the past, it’s made of wood and finely crafted–more of an art object now than something a person would use.
Darning eggs can be made of other things too, like porcelain or stone–or even gourds.
Darning eggs are still manufactured and can be purchased online, naturally. But in an era of cheap disposable clothes, who would take the trouble to darn a pair of socks? You can see though, in this picture, how a darning egg would keep the problem area stable as the darning proceeded.
People did take the trouble to darn socks once–women mostly. Picture a domestic scene before screens took over our evenings. A man and a woman are sitting before the fireplace listening to the radio. A dog is stretched out on the carpet. The man is wearing slippers and smoking a pipe. The woman has permed hair and is wearing a neat housedress. He’s reading the paper. She’s darning a sock.
Perhaps she learned this skill as part of the training young women received to prepare them for their future role in life.