Finally found my knitting belt (in a box on top of the wardrobe...one of many!). This is a shetland belt made in leather and stuffed with horse hair. The rows of holes are to insert the needle in a suitable position. I have seen a video of a shetland knitter using such a belt. She averaged an incredible 300 stitches a minute!T while maintaining her pattern and talking to the interviewer all the while. She also managed to use only three needles to work a round - I'm not sure how as four seem to be the usual minimum.
The 'wires' are from Guernsey (so from one of the northern-most of the isles to the southern-most). These 'wires's, there are 8) are 18" (46cms) long and an old UK size 13 but they don't vary much across the UK. These are steel and extremely uncomfortable to work with. Often they bent themselves in to a curve. Thank goodness for Addi Turbo.