Thursday, March 27, 2008



Continuing with the dolly bobbins from Part One,
there are yet more puzzling finds regarding
this rather popular spool knitter.
I have come across sets by Philmar
(the brand name shown on the box
is in a yellow scroll similar
to Berwick Toys).
The wooden "bobbin" in the Philmar set below is the
same as the dolly bobbin by Berwick Toys.
This set I would say is from the 1950's.

Above and Below - these two pictures show
the rather ingenious presentation of the
bobbin inside the box. Apart from being an
absolutely huge knitter for the young girl
to work with - the girl's hand is cut away from
the picture so that it looks like she is actually
holding the dolly bobbin.
Also, her right hand finger is cut away to be
able to hold the "loop-lifter tool" (I should
have placed it properly for the photo but
I neglected to do so) - fabulous graphics
in this set!

Below - here are the instructions found with this set -
note the picture of the bobbin in use - it looks
nothing like the bobbin found with the set.

Next, we have another Philmar brand "dolly bobbin
Knitting Set" (note the brand name this time is not
in a yellow scroll, but a black oval)
Judging by the box lid, I would date this set to the 60's.
The red and yellow dolly bobbin is plastic - which is
the one shown in the foreground. There are another
two dolly bobbins placed either side of the box - these
are made of wood and were found as singles.
I had an email from the former childhood friend
of the young girl that is photographed on this box
lid. This girl was born in 1963 and the photo
was taken when she was about six years old
making this set about 1969 - 1970's.

Below - close-up of the plastic dolly bobbin.

Next - Berwick Knit Kit - Complete Knitting Set
with Dolly Bobbin.
This set is as new and thankfully the leaflets
enclosed state that it is dated 1972.
The side of the box reads - Another Berwick
Toy ~ contains Knitting needles, Crochet Hook,
Dolly Bobbin, Knitting yarns and instructions
in colour for Knitting, Crochet and French Knitting.
There are also sewing needles, threads, thimble,
and tape measure.

Below - close-up - note that the plain red
plastic dolly bobbin has gold features.

Below - two plain red plastic dolly bobbins, the one
on the right is a slightly different shape and
also has gold features and yellow "prongs".
Both of these knitters are missing a "prong" which
is due to the cheaper quality hard plastic.
The one on the left was found in the box below.
(Added March 2009 - the bobbin with the
yellow prongs/pegs could possibly be a
"Bobbin Craft" toy by Ingham Day toys of

Clearly here, the quality of these Dolly
Bobbins has dropped dramatically.
This rather dilapidated Berwick Dolly
Bobbin set has not survived well.
On the box it reads - Berwick Dolly Bobbin
Traditional French Knitting Set and
on the bottom of the box is Made in
England Ref. Number 250 Part
Contents Foreign.
Another Berwick Toy.
There is no leaflet for instructions
with this set but instead the instructions are
printed on the back of the box.

Now for something else to add to the puzzle!
Little Maid's Knitting Set -
Interesting and Instructive
Made in England
No date but I love the
graphics on this box with its
teddies, golliwogs, dolls and
toy puppies on the side
of the box. I would say approx. 1940's.
Obviously there appears to be some
pieces missing from this set, we only
have a wooden dolly bobbin and wool.
And sadly, the facial features have faded
on the bobbin.

Below - this group of bobbins show their sizes
from 11 cms to 13 cms.


Friday, March 21, 2008


Okay, call me crazy!
I got a particular idea in my head
and I just had to go with it.
Drop everything else - no
matter how long anything else had
been waiting for finishing touches.
I wanted to see if this would work.
The reel/spool still needs its nails of course.
It only measures 2 1/2 inches in
height but I was determined to
try this out. I know it is
impossible to get perfect detail
of the willow pattern - it is only a
suggestion of the pattern.
If you hold it away far enough
it looks good (to me)!
The reel/spool was turned on
a rough example of wood and
because of that, the surface is
not very smooth no matter how much
sanding you do.

What do you think?

Next time, I will be continuing with
"Bobbin Along - Part Two".

Monday, March 17, 2008



Berwick Toys (England) made many sewing kits
one of which can be seen on "crazyhaberdasher"
- my blog about vintage sewing.
The two sets that follow - Needlecraft
Embroidery Set and Needlecraft for the
Junior Miss, contain sewing requirements
plus knitting requirements including a
"Dolly Bobbin" with instruction leaflet.

These sets are "as found" and you can see
that both have had some use. The "Dolly Bobbins"
are painted wood with four small nails
for holding the loops.
Above - this model's face is painted differently
to the model - Below....which has big blue
eyes and pink circle cheeks.

Above - 'Dolly-Bobbin' Knitting Set with the box
top showing a rather large size model in comparison
to the two children. The model on the box top showing
a painted colour face while the model inside the box
has the simple black outline features.
Also comparing this with the model in the Needlecraft
set, you will notice the difference in the painting of
the body with the black added at the chest
and the base.

Below - here are a few 'Dolly-Bobbin' Knitting Sets
again, as found.

The above last two boxes have plastic models.
It is such a pity that the production costs forced the quality
of these 'Dolly Bobbins' to be reduced so much that
they now look so cheap and would break easily.
Even the faces now only have a simple stick-on
printed face.
(And it isn't just this company, it is the case with so
many of the toy companies.)

Above - more of the same plastic type model.
Curiously, I also found a leaflet in it
by Spear's Games - is it an addition?

Dating any of these would purely be guesswork as a lot
of these sets are found without any dates. All we have
to go by are the graphics.

So if any of you had these as a child, I would love to
hear from you so that we could get some approx.
time-line for these sets. Thankyou!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Not Another One!?

I hope you don't mind another look at
another new Knitting Nancy (Spear's
style), but this one is a little different,
believe me.
You know that I can never have enough
of this style spool knitter, and I made
a special request to my very special
woodturner friend to make a "Nancy" of
a different size - 20cms.
The original vintage "Nancies" are
10cms in height.
As I started with this painting project, I
thought that you might like to see the
work in stages.
So, here is the blank 20cms, very nicely
turned by my talented friend.

Below - the painting has started.

Legs, head, and other details

And here she is complete with
arms and knitting. I have yet
to give her a protective acrylic
coating to make her all shiny.

Here she is - comparing her size
with the other most recent newbies of the group.

Now I will sneak yet another one in here, this
one is my dear husband's first attempt at turning
a Knitting Nancy (Spear's style). Of course,
painted by me - I call this one a Lego Knitting Nancy!
It still needs the nails and hollowed centre
for it to be a working model.
It is around 14cms in height.

Again, the group photo showing the different

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Spool Knitters Unite!

If anyone would like to see more spool knitters, then
you are welcome to visit the Spool Knitter Group
in Flickr.
The link is in the right hand column of my blog.
Anyone who would love to collect, or already collects
Spool Knitters is welcome to join in the fun.
It is interesting to see the many varied types and
different characters of spool knitters that
are around - vintage, new or handmade.
There are many of our members' spool
knitters to see.
Apart from myself, there is another
spool knitter artist, who is creating many fabulous
one-of-kind painted spool knitters.
Noreen of Crone-Findlay is the very talented
artist of whom I am talking
about and you will also find the website - Crone-Findlay -
in the right hand column of my blog.
Noreen is also a member of the Spool Knitter
If you are another artist, I would love to hear
from you and would also love to see your work.
Also, if you would care to join in any discussions or
make any comments, then please do.
I am aiming to find out as much as I can about
these charming figures and any information
you are able to contribute would be
greatly appreciated.

(Above and below - would you believe,
spool knitter shaped key holders!)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Birds and Bees ......and Bugs?!!

Here is a little look at the birds and the bees and the bugs!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


I am back to plastic again for this post.
Below - one that I am sure is familiar to a
lot of you. Being of very recent manufacture,
is this very solid plastic French Knitting Bee from
"Classic Knit" and Made in China which comes
complete with dual size
pom pom maker and awl (to use
with the knitting bee).

Next, we have a cheaper knitting toy "Jeannette" by
Jean Hoefler & Co. of West Germany.
The spool knitter is of a firm plastic but with
hard play I would say it would easily break.

Now for something a little different is this child's
"first cool knitting machine".
These are available worldwide under other brand
names. This one is by Moose Enterprise Pty Ltd
Melbourne, Australia - and it is Made in China.

This one is called Carly Cow. The
base is turned to operate the mechanism just
like the other hand held knitting machines
that are currently available.

Some other characters available are - Doris Duck,
Penny Pig, and Fran Frog (and I have seen others as well).