Saturday, March 22, 2014

Knitting sausage

When I was eight years old, my family moved from a suburb of Sydney to a small town in the country. To begin with, we lived on a farm, but when this went down the gurgler, we moved into the town. From 1956 until 1960, I went to the local primary school. For me, it was very much a culture shock.

School was not the be-all and end-all of life for the kids from these parts. It was something to be done with as soon as possible. Sport, however, was totally different. Unbeknownst to me, I had a hole-in-the-heart, so I had no endurance to run, could not breathe and swim at the same time. And I did not have the winning "smarts" necessary to play netball. Nor the height.
So, I veered toward more sedentary pursuits. I was quickly the helper-librarian. And, I quickly took up knitting. This form of knitting. Knitting we called "French Knitting". I have no idea why we called it that. We certainly did not call it "spool" knitting.

However, we did use cotton reels. Non of this fancy commercialised product that I have had to resort to. It is nigh impossible to hammer four nails into today's cotton reels, being plastic, and mostly full of holes. Although, I noticed that there are wooden cotton reels available on eBay.
I want to do some sort of craft with wool with my grand-daughters. However, this I think will be beyond Alannah for a couple of years yet. Gives me time to get better at it.

I have found some knitting books for using the product of French Knitting. I thought it was only good to wind around for a beanie. But nope! The first photo shows the model of knitter that I purchased from Lincraft in York Street, the other day. The little pins, although stylish, are not as good as those small nails, with their little head, at keeping the stitch on.
I was reading something that said varying the number of "pins" and varying the width of the hole through the centre of the reel, will both alter the size, and compactness of the "sausage" produced. I had no idea about the mechanics of this style of knitting. So ... I am now going on to eBay to see if I can find some cotton reels, wooden, of course, to start doing some variations upon a theme.

I believe it is called "modelling". The girls will see me doing it, and will ask a million questions, and BINGO! Or something like that.


Joan Elizabeth said...

We called it French Knitting too but interestingly it was something mostly done by boys. We used the cotton reel version ... I've probably got some of those wooden cotton reels from my old home in the drawer somewhere.

I don't remember us doing anything with the output. It was just an occupation, not to create anything useful.

We used to make a type of sausage with platted plastic too, again for no useful purpose other than to make it.

Did both of them in Grade 1 so age 5.

diane b said...

I can remember doing that. I still have some wooden reels if you need any. Have fun relearning and teaching the little ones.

Margaret said...

Oh my goodness that does bring back memories, we used to make reins for playing horses, with 3 younger brothers I had quite an output.
It would be a good idea to carefully drill out the hole in the wood to a bigger size if you use thicker wool or add more nails.
I think the only other things we did with the "sausages" was round pot holders,teapot mats,and trinket baskets of varying sizes, I don't see why you couldn't make a floor mat that spirals from the centre, like the rag rugs from old fabric strips......have fun.

Julie said...

It is amazing how things have changed since the '60s. Not amazing at all, really! I have googled FN images, and the array is astonishing. I have ideas for looms, and homemade reels using toilet rolls and paddle-pop sticks. I will work on something with Alannah on our 'together' Friday, and see what we come up with.