Thursday, 25 March 2010

French Knitting, Knitting Nancy Dolls

Whether you call them Knitting Nancys, Bizzy Lizzys, knitting mushrooms, knitting spools, corkers, peg knitters, knitting nobbys (or knitting noddys) or knitting knobbys, these knitting devices all owe their existence to the medieval lucet. The lucet is a two pronged fork with a hole in the handle.
I remember doing the traditional craft of french knitting as a little girl, I didn't have one of the lovely painted knitting dolls that you get today but a wooden cotton bobbin with 4 nails in the top! I am not old by any means but the bobbin belonged to my grandmother and she passed it down to me.

The Knitting doll is one of our best sellers and we get lots of orders in large quantities from schools, Brownies packs and also craft groups so hopefully this long lost tradition will make a huge come back! Its a lovely craft to do with children that have short concentration spans as its fairly easy to do and you get a result very quickly.
We are always being asked for instructions on how to knit with the Knitting doll so we have put together a quick and easy to follow set of instructions.


Yarn is fed down through the hole and left to hang. Sometimes a weight is clipped to the knitted braid, which is actually a tube, to help pull it down. The yarn/wool is then wrapped in a four point figure eight around the loops of wire.

The knitting is then accomplished by holding the spool between the index finger and thumb while the yarn is held against the palm by the other three fingers. The incoming yarn is guided so that it lies above the yarn loops already wrapped around the nails or prongs. The spool is given a quarter turn, a needle is used to carry the loop up and over the nail or prong, and the knitted yarn trailing down the hole is given a tug.

Repeat the process of carrying a loop over a nail 400 times and you'll have a foot of braid. After making yards of braid, it can be used to make trivets, appliques, dolls, and so on.

There are lots of things you can do with your completed lengths of braid, as a child I used mine as scarfs for my Sindy doll or made it into mats but I have come across a lovely blog by Anjie Davision which gives you some modern ideas of other things you can create with your modern Knitting doll.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Mothering Sunday, 14th March 2010

In England the early Christians celebrated the Mother's festival.
They celebrated this festival in order to honour Mother Mary, who is the mother of Jesus Christ.
They decided to celebrate this festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent, Lent being the 40-day period, which leads up to Easter.
What is interesting is that later a religious order stretched this celebration to include all Mothers hence the occasion was known as "Mothering Sunday"
Gradually this festival gained so much importance that people working out of their homes were expected to return to the "Mother" church.
The "Mother" church is believed to have the spiritual power that not only gave all those people life but also protected them from any harm or so called danger. And this unique festival turned out to be an occasion for family reunions.
On this day people started attending church services in honor of the Virgin Mary. And later this practice became a tradition.
This festival gained so much significance that it was treated as the day when apprentices, servants and children specifically those working as domestic helps or as trainees, were given the day off so that they could visit their mother and family.
These people, realizing the warmth of the occasion used to come back home with several gifts, flowers and unique Mothering Day cakes to celebrate their reunion. This day became an occasion when people could spend one special day with their mothers. Even today the Mother's Day celebrations means the time for the children to express their love and concern towards their mums, and they do so by giving presents, flowers and other home made cards and crafts to their mothers.

I am a mum of 4 and my most favourite thing on mothers day would be a lie in (fat chance) breakfast in bed, a hug, an I love you and a lovely handmade card! what more could a mummy ask for!

I just wanted to add, my beautiful Mum is no longer with us so on Sunday I will remember what a remarkable woman she was and I will do as I do every year, buy daffodils and put them with the card I bought 5 years ago, have a cup of tea in the garden and remember her with fond memories. For all those Mothers that can not be with us x