Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Knitting Nancy and Knitting Looms (with a Knitting Nancy Tutorial)

I am not a knitter. I wish I was. I was taught by my Grandma and my Mum and I can do a basic cast on, knit a scarf and cast off but that is about it. I have a collection of knitting needles and a cool case for them.

Some books, including my Grandma's knitting book dated 1939.

Apparently she knitted this jumper for my Grandad a number of times.

I'd love to knit Chris a jumper but I take one look at a pattern and see the numbers and go ugh, maths! I have tried to crochet too but couldn't get the hang of that either.

I even have a vintage knitting machine that I am yet to try out!

I can, however, use a Knitting Nancy Doll, also know as french knitting and spool knitting. These are my two and are pretty boring in comparison to some of the really cool designs available. You can even make them yourself. Check out the tutorial at the end of this post to see how and keep the kids or you busy on a rainy day. 

Just when I thought my dreams of knitting were over I popped into the Needlecraft shop in Shoreham looking for felting wool. I didn't come home with any but I did come home with a Straight Knitting Loom. I had never seen one before but fell instantly in love with the chunky knit that the shop had on display. Maybe I can learn to knit after all!

It is very similar to the knitting nancy as it uses a hook to loop the wool over the "pins". It is incredibly quick to do, much quicker than knitting the traditional way.

After a little bit of investigating I discovered that there is a whole world of loom knitting out there, including circle looms that are next on my list!

I also found this Giant Knitting Nancy on and now I'm thinking of a big piece of art for the garden!

I'm planning on making blankets and throws and mittens! There is no stopping me now!

My first project: a chunky scarf ready for camping trips and next winter. I just need to buy some more wool!

Did you have a Knitting Nancy? Have you ever heard of or tried Loom Knitting? Or can you Knit the traditional way?

Make your own Knitting Nancy!

The knitting Nancy consists of a tube and an even number of "pins" evenly spaced around the top. I made two different types to show you that you can make them from bits and pieces found around the house!

You will need:
A cardboard tube. I used the inside of a clingfilm or foil roll as it is a bit thicker than a toilet roll. 
Paper clips or pencils. 
A wool needle or bamboo skewer to knit with.

Paper Clip Knitting Nancy
Choose the number of pins you want to use. Take the tube and position the paper clips evenly around the top. I pushed them down so that they ends of the paper clips were below the edge of the tube to prevent scratching my fingers when knitting.

Once the paper clips are in place wrap tape around the outside of the tube to secure them into place. I did two layers of tape and used my circus print tape from Tiger.

You can also decorate your tube if you like!

It was that easy and you are ready to Knit!

Pencil Knitting Nancy
We seem to have a lot of colouring pencils that constantly break when we sharpen them so I used them for this. They just happened to be in my favourite colours of this week, yellow and turquoise!

Measure the length of the tube and add 0.5-1cm. Choose your number of pins/pencils (I used 4) and cut them to the length of the tube plus 0.5-1cm.

Measure the circumference of the tube and cut a piece of tape to fit all the way round with a little overlap. Take your pencils and evenly space them along the tape. 

Fix them to the tube making sure that the extra 0.5-1cm is above the top of the tube. I then covered the tube and pencils in tape to hold them securely in place. 

That's it you are finished!

I'll post a How to Knit with a Knitting Nancy tomorrow once I have got my head round explaining the the instructions!

Other ideas:
You could also use lolly sticks. 
Try different numbers of pins to create different thickness of knitting. 
My Mum used to use a wooden cotton reel with nails in the top.

The different sizes of pins and sizes of tubes will give you different effects.

Give it a go and see what you come up with. 
If you make one let me know how you got on in the comments section or on my facebook page 

Have fun!

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