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Knitting Nancy for Kids

Updated on May 5, 2012

French Knitting

If you're ever looking for something to keep a child busy on a rainy afternoon, this could be just the thing. The Knitting Nancy, or French Knitter as it's sometimes called, is a very simple device for creating a rounded knitted cord in any length that you choose.French knitting is very old craft that dates back centuries and it's both relaxing and a lot of fun.

Kids love it because it's so easy to learn and apart from being fun in itself, they can use the knitted chord to create bracelets, knecklaces, plaits and many other things, limited only by imagination. The chords can be easily sewn together to make hats, mats and even soft toys.

Knitting Nancy
Knitting Nancy

Knitting Nancy Art

Some people make their own knitting Nancys from cotton reels and nails but wooden spools are becoming increasingly harder to find and the bought ones are fairly cheap anyway, plus they are well shaped to turn easily in a child's hand.

Knitting Nancys are a versatile and portable little tool that can be used with different textiles, such as wool, cotton, silk or synthetic thread to create different effects and blending colours together is another option.


  • pull the wool through the hole in the middle os the Knitting Nancy until you have a long tail ( about 5 or 6 inches) coming out of the bottom.
  • wrap wool clockwise around each of the pegs, moving counterclockwise
  • push loops down.
  • wrap wool clockwise around pegs again
  • knit by placing bottom loop over peg and repeat all around
  • repeat steps 3, 4, 5 until the desired length

For a visual guide, go here:

How to French Knit

Lyre shaped modern lucet. Photo from Wikipedia
Lyre shaped modern lucet. Photo from Wikipedia

Medieval Lucet

Knititing Nancy's probably owe their origin to the medieveal lucet, which was a two-pronged fork designed to make braids which could then used on clothing or uitilized for hanging things off a belt.

Earliest references to a lucet type tool date back to the twelth century.

French knitted abstract by Peter Coombe
French knitted abstract by Peter Coombe

Knitting Nancy Creations

You can make loads of great things with a Knitting Nancy...bracelets, headbands - even abstract artworks, as you see at right with the fantastic work done by artist, Peter Coombe. The turtles below, also by Combes, are another an imaginative use of french knitting .

Using two yarns of a different colour creates a thicker cord and can work well for certain projects. Another reason why Knitting Nancy's are so great for kids is that it stimulates imagination by encouraging them to think up projects for their knitting - perhaps they could come up with an idea that hasn't been done before.

French knitted tutles by Peter Coombe
French knitted tutles by Peter Coombe


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