Knitting toys (and gadgets)

I still have some of my spool knitters around, the ones that make the knitted cords.  Spool knitting is also called French knitting, corking, tomboy knitting, and cording.   I had them as a child, and later found some for kidlet.  People say that spool knitting is a traditional way to teach children the basic principles of knitting, but while it’s a handy little thing and shows the idea of what knitting is I don’t  see it as any kind of real preparation for knitting with needles.

spool knitters

Some of the things I made with the cords, like doll rugs, have long since disappeared, but it’s still a fun tool.

Then there are the companies who want to make knitting cool and fun for kids.

The Alex Toys Amazing Knitter takes a basic spool knitter and makes a simple tool overly complicated and slow, in my opinion.   And while they keep calling this knitting, it’s a very limited version or process.  Making the flower or butterfly shown would have driven me crazy as a kid.

Mattel Toys took the cording idea and made it bigger and faster with the Mattel Knit Magic.  While it only shows how to make a limited number of things, I can see lots more possibilities.

K-Tel went for the adult knitting audience, back in 1970 or so with a new slant on things.  Basically replacing knitting needles and crochet hooks with their own little invention.  A nice try, but the fiber arts have their history and traditions in so many cultures, this little gadget could never replace them  – and while this may have been a short fad, it didn’t stick around.

I don’t know why people just wouldn’t crochet normally, but I sure like the steeking possibilities here.

One more gadget, this one much more recent.  But this one is for yarn, not for knitting itself.  Ever wonder what to do with all those old video cassettes?  Since everything today is on DVD instead…  Well, don’t throw those cassettes away, you can make yarn dispensers with them!  Instructables lists all the steps you need to use those cassettes to store yarn remnants, or to use when stranding with two colours.



The person who posted this said that each spool held about 42 yards of worsted weight yarn.  Not a lot, but perhaps handy for small colourwork projects.   I don’t think this would be so useful for larger projects, like knitting two socks at once.

Seems like an awful lot of trouble, though.   I just use yarn bowls, or plastic containers with a hole punched in the top, or even a plastic bag with a corner cut out.   This might make for easier storage – what do you think?

On the other hand, there are so many fantastic gadgets out there for knitting, I don’t know that this is necessary at all….



Tags: , , ,

4 Responses to “Knitting toys (and gadgets)”

  1. CraftyLittleRat Says:

    I used to love spool knitting/knitting nancys when I was little.

    I think I NEED that mouse one! How cute; any ideas where I can buy one or was it just a google image?

  2. knitredchocolatebookcat Says:

    Oh my – you are right. That first gadget is just sooo slow and cumbersome. Bah!
    I would never user to teach someone to knit. I think regular knitting is simpler than using that “Amazing” gadget.

    I do have an i-cord maker (one with a handle that you turn) , and it’s quite useful if you need to make long i-cords (or lots of them). It has it’s limitations though – you can’t use yarn that is too thin/thick.

  3. Esther Says:

    I was given several French knitting dolls as a child but no one gave me instructions how to use them. My mother did save one lonely specimen and now I can use the internet to find out how to use it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: