Knitting Nancy or Crochet Part 1

One of the things I enjoy and have done for many years is crochet. Grandmother crocheted beautifully and I remember watching the silver hook flash as she worked on another medallion for a tablecloth. We (sis, bro, and me) started on spools that Daddy had driven four finishing nails into the top. I now know this is called “Spool Knitting” or using a “Knitting Nancy.”

Crafty pod has some illustrated instructions on how to do this

There is a free e book available at Project Gutenberg:

This is a great website. The author is an engineer and brings his willingness to test and evaluate every step of the process. He begins with a detailed history of the various implements and proceeds to reviews of the modern craft and toy tools. A little more than half down the page is a section on using a toilet paper roll, Popsicle sticks, a rubber band and some yarn to make a knitting nancy that is safe to use in school.

If you have some time, check out his other articles. They are fascinating and you can really loose yourself in the analysis. The section on the ultimate super-soaker was memorable…

Back to the main topic. Spool Knitting was fun, and soon we were ready for the next step, actual crochet. The foundation of all crochet is the chain stitch and is very simple to do. We each practiced to become proficient and of course our competitive nature kicked in. Racing to see who could crochet the fastest was our next challenge. I remember sitting there with my eye on the second hand on the clock so I could call time for one of my siblings. Then we started the World’s Longest Chain. Our goal was to crochet a strand of chains long enough to wrap around our house. I remember holding one end and running around the side of the house to see how far we had gotten. It is funny; I remember working on it, and seeing if it went around the house, but not if we ever finished it. The same with racing; I don’t remember who was the fastest. I’ll have to consult Sis, as she seems to remember a lot of these things better than I do.

After we had exhausted these challenges, I was interested in actually making something different. Grandmother taught me single and double crochet. We were using cotton thread so it started tiny. As I progressed I found my tension was loosening and I produced a trapezoid. I used it as a Barbie Doll apron.

I didn’t crochet a lot as a child because I spent as much time as possible reading. I started crocheting again in college and my first project was an afghan for my dorm room bed. It was a lot of fun, and I crocheted one for my sister at Christmas and another for my brother the next year. In the years since then I’ve started a lot of projects and even finished some! Each time I pick up the thread and crochet hook I think of my Grandmother and how she not only taught me a life-time hobby but left a legacy of beautiful crocheted lace tablecloths, bedspreads, and other items she made for family. They are a marvelous and true treasure.


One response to “Knitting Nancy or Crochet Part 1

  1. I was doing my occasional search in Google for knitting nancy and your blog came up…. I have a blog about collecting spool knitters and anything to do with them – you may be interested in taking a look. There are lots of different spool knitters that have been made both old and new. I also have a group of Flickr called ‘spoolknitter’. I would love to hear about your experiences using your spool knitter….I am collecting these little memories and will eventually be displaying them in our future sewing museum (in Australia)…..cheers, Maz

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