My Grandfather has big, strong, beautiful hands. Hands that have created in order to beautify and improve his home. A carpenter by trade and by heart he has instilled a love of wood, in all its possibilities and beauties, in his children and grandchildren. Perhaps the best legacy passed down, however, is the time taken to make little things with those big powerful hands to please his children. Throughout my mothers childhood he made Knitting Knobbys for her out of the emptied wooden spools from my Nana’s sewing supplies. They were special to her and were used constantly to make miles and miles and miles of cord. So simple and easy for him, but such a lasting joy created because of it.
These Knitting Knobbys are inspired by the ones my Grandfather made for my mother, and she made for me. Wooden thread spools are a thing of the past unfortunately, but a slice of natural wood is always available…and so good to hold!
Log ~2” in diameter
4 finishing nails (1” +)
1 large finishing nail (2 ½” +)
Worsted weight yarn
3/8” drill bit
Step 1: Cut a length from the log that is approximately 2” tall.
Step 2: Clamp the length into a vice or onto a table. It is very important to clamp the wood securely for your safety during the next steps.
Step 3: Insert the 3/8” drill bit securely into your drill.
Step 4: Mark the center of your wood.
Step 5: Holding the drill carefully with both hands drill straight through to the other side. (DO NOT hold the wood with one hand and drill with the other…please don’t!)
Step 6: Wrap sandpaper tightly around your pencil. Insert through the drilled hole and twist to sand the hole lightly.
Step 7: Nail four nails evenly around the hole. ~ ¼” from the hole. Leave ~ ½” nail exposed. Take care to choose nails that do not have any jags on the head as they will snag the yarn.
Step 8: With your yarn and large nail (or small crochet hook) in hand you are ready to wind your yarn and begin knitting.
Knitting with your Knitting Knobby
(*This sounds much harder than it is…go with it…you will get the rhythm very quickly!)
1.Begin by threading the end of the yarn down through the top of the dolly, so that approximately 4 inches hands out the bottom.
2. Wind the yarn twice, counter-clockwise around one of the spikes. Remember not to pull the yarn too tight otherwise it will be very difficult to knit.
3. Using your nail (or small crochet hook) hook the bottom loop over the top loop and drop it over the nail into the center of the Knitting Knobby.
4. Turn the Knitting Knobby counter-clockwise so that an empty nail is towards you. Wind the yarn twice around this nail.
5. Using your nail lift the bottom loop over the top loop, into the center of the Knobby.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until each nail has been used.
7. Wind the yarn once around each nail counter-clockwise in sucession moving in the same order around the Knobby.
8. Lift the bottom loop over the top loop on each nail moving around the Knobby in a counter-clockwise direction.
9. Pull the end of the yarn that hangs out of the bottom of the dolly to tighten your work.
10. Repeat steps 7-9, winding and lifting the loops over, again and again, around and around!!!
Hannah Robinson is the mother of two very spirited children, and the wife of a very sensible man, living a very simple life in Western NY. She has a degree in art education and uses it daily as the artist in residence, and personal tutor for her kidlings. She is the author of the popular blog A Handmade Childhood where she chronicles the adventures of a family life centered on a quest for homemade, creative, tied-to-the earth goodness.