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What is Spool Knitting?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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Spool knitting is done by hand, without needles, on a hollow, cylindrical piece of wood or plastic that has spikes or pegs around the top. Using the fingers, yarn is wrapped onto the top pegs of the spool in a circular motion. As the rounds continue, a tube-like knitted piece is created in the hollow center of the spool. The name for the craft is said to have occurred as people used to use empty thread spools with pins or nails added to the top to create knitting projects. This method is known as finger or French knitting and is considered an easy approach to yarn work.

Basic round spool knitting is so easy that it's a popular children's craft. Spool knitters for children are typically easy to grip and feature slightly curved pegs to keep the yarn from slipping off. These toy knitters may be plastic or wood in bright colors or designs. Worsted weight yarn is the most recommended for spool knitters as it's simple to work with, inexpensive and available in many different colors. Some popular spool knit projects for kids include a scarf for a small doll or teddy bear and a round, coiled hot pot mat that can be stitched together with adult help.

More advanced French or finger knitting projects for adults or older children involve a second stitch to the first round one. The flat stitch uses the yarn stretched across the center hole of the spool knitter rather than being worked around it. Flat spool knitting looks a lot like the kind produced with two needles, except it tends to be a bit looser. A combination of flat and round stitches can create spool knitting projects such as slippers or a small drawstring bag.

A child's spool knitter may have just a few pegs, while one made for adults could have six or more pins or spikes. Every spike does not have to be used when spool knitting. For example, on a spool knitter with six pegs, yarn could be wrapped around every second one. Any peg may be the starting one or ending one, although sometimes it may be necessary to know which is which. To remove the finished knitted piece from the spool, the yarn is cut and placed through loops in the yarns on the pegs.

Sets of various sizes of spool knitters as well as portions of different colored yarns are often sold for both children and adults, depending on the complexity of the patterns included. Popular kids spooling kit crafts include friendship bracelets and finger puppets. Adult spool knitting kits that include both round and flat stitches may include both small and large projects.

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