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.

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