DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received as a gift what appear to be eight little crystal dumbbells. I am told they are knife rests.
Where and when would one use such a thing? Why would one use a knife rest? Shouldn't the knife be placed across the plate once it is used?
GENTLE READER: They are, indeed, knife rests, and one would use them to rest one's knives if said knives were exhausted. Yours are not likely to be.
Miss Manners is not criticizing your table manners. On the contrary, modern manners are better than those used when knife rests were invented. That was when people brought their own knives to the table and used them to spear everything within reach. Now that we have dishwashers, there is no need to re-use knives rather than replace them as needed.