Friday, February 22, 2008

A Little More About Staples

Since my post on Staples, I have now
found an original leaflet that
came from the "Toy Knitting Outfit"
by Bradley / Milton Bradley.

Here you can see that the spool knitter has staples and
not nails. This set dates to the 1910's which is well
ahead of the Spear's Games "Knitting Nancy" which
was released in 1926. Originally, it was thought that
the "Knitting Nancy" was the first to introduce
staples, but this is proof that they were used
on spool knitters before then.

Here is the full leaflet found in the
"Toy Knitting Outfit" box.
(click for larger image)

And above is the box that the leaflet came from.
Oddly though, the graphics on the box shows spool
knitters with nails!

Here below, is the contents of the box showing two
original spool knitters (with their yarn guide spring),
and a small wooden handmade cotton reel/spool knitter.

It really pays to look more closely at pictures on
leaflets, boxes, packaging, and in pattern books.
You would all know about the vintage Spool Knitting book
by Mary McCormack printed in 1909, take a closer
look at the spool knitter used - it has staples!
(click on Spool Knitting above to take you to my
previous post last year and then on the link to the book).
I had been dating any spool knitter with staples to
be after 1926 (when the Spear's "Knitting Nancy"
was released) so now it has to be after 1909.
If you would like to comment about this I would be
very interested to know what you think. Do you
know anything else about staples on spool

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Here is another newly painted spool knitter, this
time in the traditional style
of those Made in Czechoslovakia.

Again, my dear friend had so kindly woodturned for me
another fantastic spool knitter from my sketch.

There are a few ways of knowing that these are
Made in Czechoslovakia.
Firstly, that they may have a stamp under the base of
the spool knitter "Made in Czechoslavakia" -
but it could be very faint.
A characteristic of the face is the big blue
Many have yellow "pants" and brown base.
There is a thin black line at the neck, waist,
and ankles.

Through the power of blogging, I have met
other collectors. One such collector has very
kindly given me permission to use her photo (above)
of her Czechoslovakian "Soldier" which she had
as a young child. She dates hers as being from
the late 1940's. Thankyou so much for
sharing your photo and information.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I have discovered a game named
"Toy Knitting Outfit" by Bradley
The graphics on the lid show hands
using a 'spool knitter'. These
graphics look very old.
The picture below shows
spool knitters (box free) that I
have that are also very similar
the Bradley set. There is also a
yarn guide on the side just like these
as well as the staples (loop holders).
Going by the graphics on the lid, I would
date the Bradley set as 1910's - 1920.
Now what I am getting at here is this.
It was originally thought that the
Spear's Games Knitting Nancy was
first to introduce the staple.
The Knitting Nancy was released
in 1926!

Above shows the coiled spring on the side
which is suppose to guide the yarn as
you work. The spring is moved as
each loop is worked.
This was to give you even stitches.

I am sorry that I cannot show you the picture
of the Bradley game as it is not mine. If you
have one for yourself, then I consider you
very, very lucky, as they would be rare.

Trademark for Spear's Games

Just thought I would post some of the
trademarks that were registered by
Spear's Games.
Upon reading some books regarding
"Knitting Nancy" and the date
it was released/available, I have
come across errors.
You cannot always rely entirely
on the author's knowledge and I know
how hard it is to get the correct
information concerning any spool knitter.

These trademarks (and more) are from
"Games We Play" A History of J.W. Spear & Sons
by Helmut Schwarz and Marion Faber

Above was first used in 1923, registered trademark
in 1924, discontinued in 1982

Above is the trademark for German games,
1967 - 1979

Above is the trademark since 1983

If you are lucky to have the boxes with their "Knitting
Nancies", then these should give you a better
time line. Now if we can work out exactly
when each new "Knitting Nancy" was
actually released then that would
complete the picture!

If you would like to purchase the book
"Games We Play" go here
for the website.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


There are a number plastic spool knitters currently
available, such as -
Susan Bates Knitting Knobby
Clover Wonder Knitter, etc.

The quality of the plastic varies greatly
from very soft plastic that moves
like a sponge when
you push your finger into it, to a
very hard plastic of which some will
easily break when pressure is applied.

Above is a thin soft plastic spool knitter "Horse Reins
Knitting Spool", a very cheaply made toy with five
nails and is Made in Japan. (no date)

I apologize for the poor photo here - it is hard to get a
good picture when the items are in a plastic packet.
Left - Never removed from the packet is "Knitting
Spool with wool". This is an even softer plastic than
the previous spool knitter with five plastic "nails" to
work on. This would be extremely difficult to use.
The "loop lifter" is also plastic.
This is Made in Hong Kong. (no date)

Above - Strick-Prinzessin is Made in Germany by
Richard Simm & Sohne. (no date)
It has a "crown" of plastic nails which again,
is easily breakable.

These spool knitters are of a firm plastic
and were purchased from France but
are Made in China. (no date)
Above - this is a set, with ready made wool flowers,
wool embroidery charts, scissors,
spool knitter, tool, and wool.

Above - they come in a variety of colours.

Above - showing the back.

I will be showing more plastic spool knitters
in a future post.


Friday, February 1, 2008


Recently, a dear friend turned some
shapes of spool knitters
that I designed. He is so clever to work out exactly what
I wanted from my rough sketches.
Below is just one of the sketches that he
worked from.
I wanted a fun shape that was easy to hold and
I decided to try an egg-shape.
I thought that making it a "Humpty" character
would be something entirely different to
other spool knitters.

So, we go from the above to this, below.

.....and, Hello!

Here I am!

A Humpty Dumpty Spool Knitter!