My almost-four year old granddaughter F has long played beneath my loom and stood on the single treadle of my Schacht wheel and rocked … but today she started knitting.
I remember my first hands-on introduction was using a homemade knitting spool made of four finishing nails hammered into one of my grandmother’s wooden spools emptied of its sewing thread. I made yards and yards of “rope” before moving to needles. My daughter wasn’t interested in the knitting spools and started with needles.
Long planning to introduce F to knit, I thought about making her a wooden knitting spool. Well, try to find sewing thread wound on a solid wooden spool nowadays! So last year at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon, I bought three styles of knitting spools from various vendors.
On the right is Susan Bates’s Crystalites 4-pin “Small French Knitter.” I didn’t think F would like this one because it is plain. I thought this might be better for my grandson as it is larger (he’s older than his sister) and looks more “manly” compared to the Knitting Dolly. (At nearly 7, my grandson has begun to refuse certain things that he perceives as being “for girls.”)
The last knitting spool I bought was Clover’s Wonder Knitter” from Spin Blessing. Now, nearly a year later, I decided to introduce the granddaughter to knitting using the Wonder Knitter.
So this morning F and I visited one of our local yarn stores and, after being shown many skeins of cotton, she selected Plymouth Yarn’s “Whitney” in variegated blues and pinks. After lunch but before our nap (I like to nap when F’s with me!), she sat on my lap while together we knit on the Wonder Knitter.
There are several things about the Wonder Knitter I like.
- It has two disks (very easy to remove and replace): one a 3 pin disk (pink) for thicker yarn and the other a 6 pin disk (yellow) for narrower yarn.
- The Wonder Knitter was easy for F to hold, and she could take regular peeks through the clear acrylic body-tube to watch the rope get longer.
- It has an arm – a “holder guide” – so she doesn’t have to worry about tension and wrapping the yarn around her finger.
- The Wonder Knitter has a large plastic green and easy to hold “hook” (far different than the straight slippery aluminum needles my mother provided me or the blunt needles that accompany many knitting spools).
- I don’t know if you can tell from the picture to the right, but each of the “pins” of the disks has a groove down its middles, allowing the knitter to use that as a guide when pulling the bottom loop over the top of the pin.
F was very excited to knit; we’re working on a birthday present for her mother. If she ends up making yards and yards of rope, issue 104 (2011) of Knitter’s Magazine has several pages of creative ideas for turning knit rope (I-cords) into hats, scarves and necklaces!
Of course, I still miss the wooden knitting spools of my youth. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a couple of different wooden knitting spools by Winter Wood Toys in Australia (pic at left from its website).