Friday, 9 September 2005

French Knitting

Doing a bit of retail therapy this afternoon with Mr Doris, we were buying some lovely tapestry fabric for a project when I noticed a French Knitter. At £2.99 it cost considerably more than our old wooden cotton reels, with nails hammered in, ever cost but it was very pretty and smooth.

Together with some multi-coloured wool at £1.40 I reckoned I could interest our 11 year old son in French Knitting and he took to it with great gusto. I may have had quite a few goes myself but he did it for over an hour this evening. That's an hour he could have been glued to the computer games or doing something more apparently cool but he was well pleased and wondered if it would catch on and plans to tell a few of his friends about it. Oh bless the young generation :-)

We discovered something new about Mr Doris as a result. He knitted a 40 foot length when he was a kid so son aspires to knit the whole ball of wool for starters! I never made one that long and used to be so painfully slow but now am fast. I also remember we had to tie together different coloured threads because we didn't have multi-coloured wool in those days. And then the wool would often snag on the wooden reels or the rough nails. I think we even had different numbers of nails and maybe that's why it always used to take me so long as I had ridiculous numbers of nails to work round.

Original Comments:

Astryngia said...

I don't think I ever created more than an inch or two when I was a child - I'm impressed at the 'lengths' some people go to! ;-) What do people do with it once knitted??? :-)

Saturday, September 10, 2005 12:10:00 AM

jane said...

oh good, astryngia asked too! it's out of ignorance i do ask, what DO people do with it once it's knitted? do you knit bigger things from it or is it big enough to use it as a scarf? braid yards of them together? make mittens? it's sure pretty looking.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 12:18:00 AM

Helen said...

I have just learned to knit and I don't know what french knitting is but this thing sure looks cool to me.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 1:01:00 AM

MrsDoF said...

Great idea for getting the son away from the computer and doing something creative.
I remember there's a certain way to sew the rope into a circle to make potholders or placemats.
Most of mine were to make drawstrings for bags, or to wear like a belt.
I never had a 40 footer though.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 3:43:00 AM

Mama Mouse said...

I do know what this is ... but I've never done it. When I was a child my grandmother only knew how to crochet and that is what I learned to do. As an adult I learned how to do regular knitting and still did not learn this type.

It looks to me like you could braid lengths together to make scarves .... or you could use them for ties for your hair ... or coil them together and with a few stitches of sewing thread have place mats.

But Doris what DO you do with them?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 4:04:00 AM

Universal Soldier said...

Didn't I read somewhere that knitting is cool again and there are even knitting parties ongoing in high class wine bars?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 7:09:00 AM

Le laquet said...

Excellent - always loved French knitting. Made my nana a teapot stand by curling the finished "braid" round and round into a disc when I was a kiddywink. I too did my French knitting with a wooden cotton reel - I don't think you can get them anymore! Can you?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 8:37:00 AM

doris said...

What do people do with it once knitted??? This has been asked several times.... when I was a kid we'd tie them into a wrist band or a belt if it was long enough. Apparently Mr Doris coiled his and sewed it into a hat - but he would! He was the industrious type of kid.

This morning I've come downstairs to find son glued to the Saturday cartoons whilst knttin'. I have to say it is a curious sight :-) The piece is now 1 m 27 cm long and still growing!

As for what we/son will make with the piece once done I haven't broached the subject as I think he needs to just 'do' and enjoy otherwise he does get too ambitious. But it will be interesting when he gets to that stage of talking about what next.

There is a current childhood fad called Scoobies which is made from plastic threads which are woven together. Son loves that too - which is why I thought this French Knitting would work for him. Anyway, those scoobies are made in short lengths and made into wrist bands and keyring holders. I'm pretty sure they were around in the early seventies?

Wooden cotton reels I reckon these would almost be collector items now. Perhaps they are in museums LOL

Saturday, September 10, 2005 9:31:00 AM

anniebee said...

I used to love french knitting too (with a cotton reel and nails). It might be an idea for my 7 year old niece. Do you remember french skipping? Totally different but of the same era. (A large loop of elastic around the ankles of two people with a third jumping on it.) Or cat's cradle? I don't remember scoobies being around before, but I remember macrame and friendship bracelets. You often blog about things that I sort of think 'oh yes!' to. Makes it fun coming here.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 12:16:00 PM

Milt Bogs said...

I could never work out how you start it off. If you tie it on a pin the stuff won't pull down the hole in the middle.Do you just loop it over? In Bogsville it was known as corking.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 12:30:00 PM

kenju said...

Oh, Doris, red-necks absolutely DO exist! But they are present in every country, I think, not just the US. Red-necks are country, un-educated, set in their ways (don't confuse me with facts bcause my mind is made up - kind of people). Don't they exist everywhere?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 3:04:00 PM

utenzi said...

Michele sent me, Doris.

I really like the colors you've chosen for your blog, Doris. It's a very soothing effect.

I've never knitted so much of this post seemed like reading Greek to me.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 3:08:00 PM

sophie said...

Great job getting the 11 year old interested in something that has no screen to look at. I've never been a knitter--but the colors look wonderful!

Here via Michele's.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 3:14:00 PM

zandperl said...

"Scoobies" is apparently a brand-name for what I called "lanyard" when I was a kid in NY, and is now called "gimp" in the North-East (US). More popular at my time though, were friendship bracelets, which is macrame made out of embroidery thread into bracelets and anklets. In the 60's and 70's I think they did macrame out of hemp to make purses and plant hangers.

It's interesting how this stuff evolves. Did anyone else have an origami craze, or did that only happen at high schools with a significant Asian population?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 8:07:00 PM

Cheryl said...

Next post then - how to set up French knitting, with aerial views LOL.
I preferred wooden cotton reels because the alternative was a platic granny whose head hid the pins, but they kept snapping; very shoddy. With them came suggestions - much like tatting or rag plaiting - making this stuff up into anything takes a lot of sewing. I guess you could even make a toilet pedestal mat if you wanted to go nuts.
Scoobies are on a comeback too! They were the next fad, back in the mid seventies.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 8:12:00 PM

Pookie65 said...

It never fails that I learn something new when visiting your blog, Doris. Perhaps when I give up smoking (coming soon I can feel myself getting ready) I'll take up a craft such as this. Something to keep my hands busy and create something beautiful with my newly found time.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 3:05:00 AM

Anji said...

I used to love french knitting, I've never seen anyone do it here though. I used to give it a hard tug everytime to stretch it. Coil it round and round to make a tea pot stand (anyone use a teapot nowadays?)

Over here we can buy colourfull elastics esecially made for French skipping

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:11:00 PM

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