Friday, September 21, 2007


I am very happy to be able to add more information regarding the Spear's Games Knitting Nancy and Kwiknit too!
I was fortunate (and thrilled) to hear from Francis Spear, a family member of the Spear's Games empire who was able to shed a little light on the Knitting Nancy and its knitting partner - the Kwiknit.
Thankyou so much Francis!

"... regards the history of Knitting Nancy. This method of knitting is of course very old and was not introduced by Spear's. I believe people made their own from cotton bobbins and four nails. I believe however that Spear's were the first to use staples, which are said to make it easier to slide the wool off, but I have not documentary evidence of this. The name "Knitting Nancy" was a Spear's trademark. Similar devices were sold by other manufacturers under other names."

"I expect you know that Spear's also produced "Kwiknit" which worked on the same principle but produced material up to 16 inches wide, wide enough to make simple articles of clothing. These were advertised to mothers as a way to save money. ...... Knitting Nancy (Strick Liesel in German) was introduced in 1926."

Below are some of the Spear's Games products - Kwiknits, and Junior Handicraft Outfit.

On the cover - "Spear's Improved Adjustable Knitting Apparatus"
registered in SPEARS GAMES Great Britain and Canada
Manufactured at the Spear Works Bavaria - designed in England Copyright
(no date)

Above - the open Kwiknit box showing the metal knitting device and the staples. It also includes instructions and patterns.

Above - the knitting device here is plastic. (no date)

The Kwiknit box opened - showing the green plastic device, a homemade knitting device and tool, plus two pattern books - in English and French.

Junior Handicraft Outfit - Weaving, Knitting and Embroidering
(no date)
On the cover - Made in England
Embroidery Hoop Empire Made
Reg.d Trade Mark
Made by J. W. Spear & Sons Ltd., Enfield, Middx, England

Added Sept 26th - showing the inside of the Junior Handicraft Outfit.
I have said this before but it is great to find more than one spool knitter in a box. The small spool and the yellow hat fellow were obviously added some time later. And note that the "knitting Nancy" is different to the one on the cover!


Lee-ann said...

Hello! what an interesting blog you have here and to think we are in the same part of the world.....Victoria! I must come back again and read more of your posts. best wishes to you.


crazyhaberdasher said...

Hi Lee-Ann, thankyou for your kind you collect spool knitters too?

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

I remember these! These and the looms to weave pot holders with!

Anonymous said...

I have a Spear's Knitting Nancy that was manufactured at the "Spear works Bavaria Designed in England"...It looks pretty old, however I cannot find a date of manufacture. Can you tell me how I can get that info?


crazyhaberdasher said...

Many of these Knitting Nancy boxes were not dated until about the 80's.
They were first produced in 1926 in Germany with a branch started in England in 1932. The two became independent of each other because of WWII and it stayed that way after. Could you send me a photo of your Knitting Nancy and box? Email - knittingbee at telstra dot com
and I will hopefully be able to give you a bit more detail. Thanks!

Roxy C.408B said...

I have a green Kwiknit made by Spears and it was given to me.
I don't have directions and would love to use this. It has two rows of pegs could you somehow email me the directions so I can learn how to wind the yarn. Please I realy want to tey this out