the revival of knitting nancy

a long forgotten craft for many. often introduced to us around elementary school age, it is the relatively simple skill of using a knitting doll. you may call her knitting nancy if you've made acquaintances on a more personal level, but knitting loom, spool knitter, and french knitter are also terms used for it. they are very much suitable for use for small kids hands, and provide a great introduction to knitting, crocheting, which is a wonderful method of training fine motor skills.

i had forgotten all about my knitting doll. it's been so many years ago that sylvia and i each got one (we called them strickliesel, one of the german terms for it). then, on a recent trip to denmark, i rediscovered the knitting doll (called haekledukke in danish) when i was trying to find useful souvenirs for some small girls i know.

this rediscovery first resulted in a revival of knitting dolls in my life, figuring out again how they work and then teaching others how to use it. since i didn't like the unpractical fat needle that came with the ones i purchased, i went to the craft store to get crochet hooks instead (which ultimately lead to me starting my new hobby of crocheting two weeks ago).

to introduce or re-introduce you to knitting dolls or looms, here are some suggestions:
you can either buy a nice one that's ready to go on etsy, or make your own, following the instructions you find in the links at the end of this post.

taking knitting nancy to a whole new level
 and absolutely worth checking out: janet of "a fool for spool"

here are some tutorials on how to make and use knitting looms:

how to make your own:
rhythm of the home, article by kristine

how to make and use one, incl. step by step instructions:
hinterland mama

you're more the video type? no problem, that's what youtube is for:
tutorial #1 with good ideas of what can be done with the knitted strings
tutorial #2 with more great ideas of what can be created with a knitting spool

have you also used a knitting doll before? 
are you inspired to introduce them to the children in your life? 
i hope you are, since no matter if you decide to buy one that is ready made or hand craft your own, it will bring many hours – if not years – of enjoyment to whoever is up for trying it out!


Marianne said...

Yes, when I was a very young girl, my grandparents sent me a "Strick-Liesel" in one of their yearly parcels. Later we worked with them in elementary school (girls as well as boys). Later I used them to knit handles for my home-knitten handbags.
Well, much, much later I introduced them to my daughters. And maybe one day little Lizbeth will sit next to me on the sofa, holding her "Strick-Liesel".

Kim said...

I had one of those when I was a little girl. I had forgotten about it, but you have just inspired me to get back at it and introduce it to my little man, thanks!

karen said...

I had one as a child but it was not decorated with a pretty face :( I would make such long icord yarn pieces and did not know what to do with them except to make bracelets, necklaces, or a mini rug for my barbies.

Tracey ~ Clover said...

I was given a knitting doll last year and other than take her out of the box to look at her, I have never used her. I put the box in my knitting basket and there it still sits...shame on me!

plaueplume said...

Yep, the two of us also had them! But we only could make cords and I think lost interest pretty fast :(. If I ever have lots of time on my hands I might try to revive it and learn to make something useful with it.

Meeha Meeha said...

I never had a knitting doll - now I must hurry on You Tube and discover how to use it. Never mind, they are soooo beautiful, I think I will buy some for Christmas and make my own. Thank you for the detailed resources!

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