Sunday

French Knitting Tutorial and How to Make a Cheap Spool

French Knitted CoasterFrench 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?

French Knitting Spool

If you have then I am able to help you. First of all take the empty toilet roll and cut it along the length.

How To Make A French Knitting Spool

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.

How To Make A French Knitting Spool

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)

How To Make A French Knitting Spool

How To Make A French Knitting Spool

How To Make A French Knitting Spool

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.

How to French Knit

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:

How to French Knit

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.

How to French Knit

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)

How to French Knit

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.

How to French Knit

A few more minutes once the rythmn is in full swing and the tail will get longer

How to French Knit

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

How to French Knit

How to French Knit

How to French Knit

And there you have a completed french knitting rope.

How to French Knit

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.

How to French Knit

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.

French Knitted Coaster

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 :)

Hazel

Sewn Up, Stuck Down

17 comments:

  1. Thanks for this! Even a carp knitter like me might actually be able to follow it! :)

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  2. Love the tutorial - I used to do that a lot when I was little but a) never knew what it was called, and b)I guess forgot about it. Thanks for the awesome reminder!

    Also, just wanted to pop in & say thanks for entering my candy - good luck!

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  3. I used to have such a cute little wooden holder to do this when I was ickle - never knew it was called french knitting! One to get the kids on definitely, thanks for this :D

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  4. so do you use the end of the wool to french knit because i was taught a different way, but never got taught how to start it, ny friends always used to start... but i don't have my friends at home now so... it gets kinda difficult! But this has helped!!! Thanks 8-)

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  5. ohhh sorry i figured out i was doing something wrong!!! This is much easier than what my friends do!!! And it is better than all the other websites!!! plus you use the kids home made way not using nails and cotton reels much better than others!!! thanks 8-)

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  6. Glad you sorted it out and I'm very glad I could help you. You will have to show me the results :)

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  7. msm
    thank you soo much, your soo creative. I made a neck cozie, that was just what I wanted. The added buttons were too heavy to close the neck warmer. I fashioned ties from your instructions and am very happy with the outcome. I remembered making lengths of knitted tubes from a childhood tool. When your sitting in your New England living room on a cold Nor East'r evening and are able to pull helpful instruction off the internet, gives you a great feeling of accomplishment and comfort.

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  8. You are more than welcome Melanie, I'm quite please this was able to help you in your pickle! You are very creative using them as ties, I would never have thought of that!

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  9. Ive got a long string of french knitting and I want to make a hat with it do you know how?

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  10. My suggestion would be to sew it together into a coil (similar to my coaster), then once its big enough to be a hat, thread a length of elastic through the centre of the last coil, stretch it and tie the two ends together, then the hat will elastic to your head. Hope that makes sense. I may actually have a go at making one!

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  11. I'd like to make a hat too, but I'm not sure what you mean by the elastic.

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  12. Does this help?

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/52/unleddvd.jpg/

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  13. Thanks so much Hazel. I got one of those plastic bee kits for the grandchild. It was useless. It also had a pompom maker and that was useless too.

    I didn't have any wooden cotton reels so I was a bit stumped. Never thought of using a toilet roll. I suppose an old kitchen foil or clingfilm roll would work as well.

    Your instructions for the knitting are so clear as well.

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  14. Thank you very much Daisyanon, your comments are very kind, I am glad this tutorial has helped you :)

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  15. Oooo I love french knitting and had a knitting Nancy when I was little - I made lots of tablemats for my Mum :) Thanks for the tutorial, I'll defo give it a go
    twiggy x

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  16. Thanks so much for the handy guide... The most straightforward one I've come across! (^.^)

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