These spool knitters were purchased in Australia. All are similar shape - the spool knitter at right is hand-painted from a blank the same as the blank at left. Interesting to see some different looks from the one shape.
I had to take a photo of the latest arrival!! My extra super special fantastic favourite vintage spool knitter is the "Spear's Games" Knitting Nancy from the 1930's.......so when you find one, it has to be a special occasion! Here she is.... with her thoroughly modern cousin (left). I love the colour green she is wearing. She would have been one of the popular colours of her time. Of all of the colours that have been found, I think it is the brown that would be the rarest - but I could be wrong. Let us know if you have other "Nancies" in other colours.
If you would like to share any of your photos of Knitting Nancies or other spool knitters, you are most welcome to join the Spool Knitter Group on Flickr. We would love to see you and your collection.
Do you know who this spool knitter/tricotin was created after?
I looked up the internet and found that Madelon was Guignol's wife. Guignol is a popular French puppet character who was always getting into "trouble". Is she named for this character?
I asked my French friend and I was told that "La Madelon" is a popular song from Charles-Joseph Pasquier written during World War I: a very popular song with the soldiers which soon informally became a sort of 2nd National Anthem. Madelon is the daughter of an Inn-Keeper in Brittany - below is the English version of the first verse and first chorus ......
"There is a tavern way down in Brittany Where weary soldiers take their liberty The keeper's daughter whose name is Madelon Pours out the wine while they laugh and "carry on" And while the wine goes to their senses Her sparkling glance goes to their hearts Their admiration so intense is Each one his tale of love imparts She coquettes with them all but favours none at all And here's the way they banter ev'ry time they call"
O Madelon you are the only one O Madelon for you we'll carry on It's so long since we have seen a miss Won't you give us just a kiss But Madelon she takes it all in fun She laughs and says "You'll see it can't be done I would like but how can I consent When I'm true to the whole regiment"
Is she named for this character?
Below is the spool knitter/tricotin. I would date it as from the 1920's. Note that she is knitting on four double pointers. So, is she the fore-runner for the vintage Spear's Knitting Nancy/Jeanette La Tricoteuse/ Strickliesel spool knitter who also knits on four double pointers?
Here she is with her original box.
Madelon La Tricoteuse (Madelon the Knitting Machine) - the front of the instruction leaflet.
I would be very interested to hear from anyone regarding this vintage spool knitter/tricotin.
As many spool knitter collectors are aware, there is very little written information about spool knitters. I have found a book called "Encyclopedia of Children's Sewing Collectibles" written by - Darlene J. Gengelbach (Collector Books - available on their website) The section titled - Children's Knitting, Crochet, and Weaving Sets is of great interest. Naturally, I cannot disclose much of it here, but here is a sneak peak.
.......and so it says on the lid of "The Magic Spool" set!
The Magic Spool - T. Buettner & Co. Inc. Chicago - U.S.A. - copyright 1941
T. Buettner & Co. was an art needlework supply company in Chicago. The earliest catalog that I have found from this company is dated 1906. If any reader has any information on T. Buettner & Co. Inc., I would love to hear from you, thankyou!
Below is the box lid.
The instructions found in the box. (I have two of these sets and the other set was missing this sheet.)
Inside the two sets (side by side) - as found, with the original spool knitters and others added.
The red wooden spool knitter measures 3 1/2 inches or 9 cms.
These instructions were found in a vintage "Magic Spool" box from 1941. The instructions are not original to the "Magic Spool" set but were published in a "Story World" leaflet by the American Baptist Publication Society - in February 1943.
Click to enlarge.
(There will be a post featuring the "Magic Spool" coming up).