Friday, July 13, 2007


Knitting nancy, knitting bobbin, dolly bobbin, spool bobbin, knitting dolly, french knitter, tricotin, strickliesel, strick susel, strick hanni, punniken....... (to see the full list of names for these spool knitters, see my first post) ..... these are some of the names that have been given to these small wooden items with a hollowed out centre and nails on top.
It is very hard to find information on the spool knitter.......according to some, it is thought to have evolved from the lucet ((a tool for making cord, drawstrings, braids, etc. and lucets found date back to the Viking era. It was a common tool in Europe around the 16th century onwards and made from materials such as wood, bone, horn, ivory, tortoise-shell and mother-of-pearl) ...for further information refer to Lucet Braiding by Elaine Fuller (available through Lacis)).
Spool knitting is regarded as a child's activity, with the many boxed sets that are attractively packaged showing children illustrated on their box lids happily crafting with the spools. (I will be showing some of these boxed sets in a later post). The spools themselves are painted, colourful characters that appeal to children. In later years we find plastic spool knitters, too.

The above picture is part of a painting found in the book Old-Time Tools & Toys of Needlework by Gertrude Whiting first published in 1928. Ms Whiting states that the artist and date are unknown, and you can see that the boy is spool knitting.

Most of the above came from France where they are called *tricotins*. In Germany they are called *strickliesels*. The Little Maids Knitting Set came from the UK.

Three characters that can be found are - Madeline, Little Orphan Annie, and Becassine.

Updated March 2010 - Photo showing three sets. On the lid is - Toykraft Knitting Spool Set. The date is 1936 and made in the USA. I would guess that these sets were meant to be shared with a friend.

Strick Susel, Strick Liesel, Strick Hanni.

French Knitters - Some of my collection of *french knitters* so far. I have seen these in a Golden Hands publication from the 80's. As you can see there are many colour variations.


Noreen Crone-Findlay said...

Wow, Marian! I have a story about the Little Orphan Annie spoolknitter........
Many years ago, I bid on a 'Little Orphan Annie' spoolknitter on eBay. I won the auction, but the seller decided she could get more money for it if she took it to some show she was going to! I was just appalled! I asked my husband, Jim, to turn me a spoolknitter on the lathe, and that was the start of a wonderful exploration for us!
I was so surprised to see a Little Orphan Annie spoolie in your collection. I am pleased that you have managed to acquire one!
I love all your spoolies!

crazyhaberdasher said...

Thanks for your story, Noreen, it is amazing how things happen, then turn into wonderful experiences, and worldwide friendships.
But I am sorry you missed out on the Little Orphan Annie spoolknitter. What that seller did is illegal.