French Knitted Coaster
I thought I would treat you to a French Knitting (or Spool Knitting) tutorial. My grandma taught me how to do this as a child and when we covered it in primary school I excelled!
First of all you need a spool (also know as a Dolly). This usually comes in the form of a wooden cotton reel with four nails petruding from the top. They can be glorified to being bee shaped (?!) or a piece of hand carved, highly varnished wood, but they all have the same essence; a tube with four prongs sticking out the top.
....... So, if you dont have a spool, a cotton reel and some nails to hand, perhaps you have these inspiring objects to hand?
If you have then I am able to help you. First of all take the empty toilet roll and cut it along the length.
Then roll it up, making the hole in the tube much smaller than it originally was (I will discuss by how much later on) and secure it together.
Now its time to add the four prongs, which in my case are pencil crayons. Attach them to the outside of the tube, equal spaces apart (thus making a square)
Once all your pencils are secured to the toilet roll you now have your very own glamorous money saving knitting spool! Now how to use it:
First of all pop the end of the wool down through the toilet roll til it comes out the bottom. This 'tail' is useful for holding on to particularly in this first part of french knitting.
Casting On: With the 'Top' end of the wool, wrap it around your first prong, going anti-clockwise. Then go to the prong on the left and wrap it around it anti clockwise. Continue til you have wrapped your wool around all four prongs and it looks like this:
French Knitting: Now you can start French Knitting. Wrap your wool round the next prong (which is the prong you started on) above the existing loop.
Now pull the bottom loop over the top loop and over the prong, so it sits in the tube. Move to the next prong on the left and loop your wool around it as you did before (above the pre existing loop)
Pull the bottom loop over the top loop, and over the top of the prong and let it sit in the tube. You may want to tug on the 'tail' of the wool to make sure everything is tight.
Continue working clockwise around the toilet roll, looping around each prong and pulling the bottom loop over the top loop and in about five minutes you should tug and see the knitting start to come out the bottom of the tube.
A few more minutes once the rythmn is in full swing and the tail will get longer
Casting Off This is pretty similar to B&T in knitting. Just cut the wool so you only have a few inches to work with, and thread the end up through the loop on each prong and pull tightly
And there you have a completed french knitting rope.
As you can see, the one made from this spool is very 'open weave' and has alot of elasticity because of this. This makes this kind of weave brilliant for accessories. Armbands, headbands or even spiralling into a beanie. This open weave is due to the diameter of the tube. The thinner the tube, the smaller the weave. This is the same for the size of the prongs. The thinner they are the smaller the weave. Also making them not stand too proud of the top of the tube helps a little as the loops dont have to stretch as far to be pulled over the top of them.
So to make the french knitted coaster in the first picture I modified the homemade spool. This time instead of rolling up the whole toilet roll, I cut it in half and rolled that up making a much thinner tube. I also used kebab skewers for prongs (cocktail sticks would do just as well). This creates a more solid structure with a lot less stretch.
To make the coaster I just rolled the rope up an sewed it up as I went. The stitching give the coaster that extra something.
This tutorial on making a spool and french knitting made me giggle so much, this boy is soooooo cute! Little Boy Teaches French Knitting
Now you have learned the basics of four pronged French Knitting, how about using an empty sellotape ring and coctail sticks to make a multiple pronged spool to make socks or hats?
I hope this helps you all create some very unique projects. Feel free to share them with me :)
Sewn Up, Stuck Down