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How to Use a Knitting Spool

Updated on September 18, 2016

Spool Knitting for Kids

Here is a throwback to the seventies and even earlier. Using a modified wooden spool, a crochet hook and some yarn, one can enter the world of spool knitting, french knitting or "corking". Just making the knitted rope is so easy that any kids would have fun making their own creations. Pot holders, doll clothes, place mats. even rugs. I made them all. My Mom showed me., using left over wool from her many projects. Let me show you.

Let the video games, the high tech toys the music video channel behind and take a walk down memory lane with me and entertain yourself with some you make with your own two hands.

Image Credit

spool knitting for kids
spool knitting for kids

"Idleness is The Root of Mischief"

or spool knitting for kids

I don't think Mom ever read Chaucer's 'Tale of Melibee', but she believed in the old saying. She raised the four of us kids as best she could. One hyper, one inquisitive, one sickly and one demanding. Everyone different yet she juggled us with an expertize.

One of the best ways she kept us busy was the year she taught us spool knitting. While she was busy knitting mitts for us kids because we were always losing them, she used the scrap bits of wool and taught us spool knitting. Dad just hammered a few brads in the ends of empty spools and Mom showed us how and let us go.

In the beginning, unsure fingers tried the craft. There were mistakes at first but we learned quickly. Well those that wanted to at least. It was a success for a few weeks, but it was enough for me. I loved to see how easily I could make something so complex. That interest sparked ideas and questions. It was when I was 10 that I made the mistake (again) of questioning one too many times.

My mistake turned into a lifetime of learning the joys of string, knots knitting macrame and beyond. My mistake was to tell my Mom one day when she was a bit stressed, that I wanted my mitts to have longer cuffs so my wrists would stay warmer.

Mom, instead of complaining, or yelling or ignoring me, she gave me the set of knitting needles that she was working a new set of mitts for me and began to show me what to do. From that moment she didn't have to knit my mitts for me anymore. I made my own.

It all started with spool knitting. Shall we begin and maybe change another little life?

Spool Knitting Projects

ALEX Toys Craft Cool Spool Knitting Kit
ALEX Toys Craft Cool Spool Knitting Kit

When you grow bored of your own home made wooden knitting spool, you can buy this everything included kit.

spool knitting for kids
spool knitting for kids

How to Make a Knitting Spool

start with the basics and then expand

The first thing you need to find is a spool. I haven't looked recently but it has been a long time since I've seen a wooden spool for thread. The important part is the diameter of the hole in the center and the object have some sort of rim to add hooks for the knitting operation.

Having said that you can use any cylinder with a hole in it. It would have to comfortable to hold and sturdy enough to handle the work required.

The picture shows a wooden spool as this is the easiest way to start and it is why it is called spool knitting. The number of hooks or brads around the rim with determine the thickness of the finished knitted tube. It also allows you to make different patterns.

Once you have a knitting spool you need a crochet hook of the appropriate size to match the wool thickness you are using. It also has to appropriate for the hands who will be using it.

Finally, you need the wool.

Spool Knitting
Spool Knitting

For those that need instructions they can read offline, Here's a perfect book.


Spool Kniting Instructions - - have fun exploring patterns

spool knitting for kids
spool knitting for kids

The first row sets the pattern you follow throughout. Pick your style and continue with the second wrap on top of the first row. Take your crochet hook and grab the bottom loop of the first row and flip it over the top of the pin leaving the second loop alone on the spool.

Continue around the spool wrapping and looping then pulling the results down through the center of the spool. Doing this creates a knitted rope tube that you use to create different things.

Sew the rope together in a spiral round or oval and make a mat or hot pad. Sew the rope back and forth to make a scarf or a belt. Use the tubes as body parts to make puppets and dolls.

Change the size of the spool and number of pins will alter the size of the rope tube you make.

Change the order of pins in the sequence and you change the pattern you make on the rope.

This is a simple craft that has infinite possibilities and it's fun to discover on your own.

Make Your Own Bunny

Make Your Own Bunny
Make Your Own Bunny

Have You Experimented With Spool Knitting?

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    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      4 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I've not tried spool knitting but it's definitely on my creative list! I'd love to show my grandson how to do this when he is a bit older. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

    • Northerntrials profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Cynthia Haltom: And how much fun were they then? Great memories I bet. Thanks.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      5 years ago from Diamondhead

      My dad used to make me homemade ones from old wood spools.

    • Northerntrials profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @LilyBird: Silver chains? Interesting. Thanks for visiting.

    • LilyBird profile image


      5 years ago

      As a kid I spool knitted lots of flowers and pot holders. More recently I've made silver chains. Spool knitting is addictive for both kids and adults! Thanks for the reminder of how much fun spool knitting is!

    • Northerntrials profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Elsie Hagley: Thanks for the visit and comment and attempts. See you soon.

    • Northerntrials profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @WeeCatCreations1: Too true. What projects did they make on their own?

    • Northerntrials profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @kimberlyschimmel: Awesome. I know kids love doing things with their hands if they can see the results quickly. Keep it fun and make the projects quick at first and bigger and bigger each time then give them free rein.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      I have run out of likes today, that's not hard when viewing Rocket squid articles.

      But I liked this one very much, we used to do this in the 1940s, using wooden cotton reels, which you don't have now, we called them, rats tails, used to make pot stands, plus much more out of them.

      I will face book like, just incase i don't get back to you. You must have 5 blessings as I can't even do that.

      Sorry, next time.

    • WeeCatCreations1 profile image

      Susan Caplan McCarthy 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I've taught lots of kids how to use a knitting spool and they've all found it addictive!

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 

      5 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      Yes, I have done it, taught my kids to do it, and even own the "Corking" book. I've even written about it. We have made rugs, belts, and small stuffed animals.


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