Here’s a project from my book, Knit, Hook, & Spin. These little gadgets have been around since before people began knitting with needles (called “pins” –now you see why). You can buy them in craft stores, but it’s a simple project to put together in a few minutes and can keep kids busy for hours (maybe days? — I’m an optimist). The knitted yarn drops down through the spool in the form of a cord. Use it as a hair tie, necklace, or even shoe lace. Or, make a lot of it and sew it into a coil for a hot pad or even a rug.
I’ve got a rainy day here on the coast, and lots of leftover yarn in the stash, so let’s put one together and get started.
- 4 nails, each about 3 inches long
- Cardboard bathroom tissue tube
- Duct tape
Build the loom by securing four nails to one end of the tube. Position them equally apart from each other on the outside of the tube, with about 1-inch sticking out past the end of the tube. Tape them in place securely with duct tape. Then begin wrapping the entire tube with tape to make it stiff.
Wrap more tape around the nails, pressing it tight to hold them in place. When the tube is solid and sturdy, you’re ready to begin. Work loosely, so you can lift the loops easily. Begin by dropping the end of the working yarn down through the nail end of the tube. Pull the tail through the other end of the tube and hold it against the tube with your thumb while you work the first row, so it won’t come undone.
Drop the end of the yarn through the tube. Hold the end in place with your thumb to get started.
Wrap the working yarn clockwise around each nail, moving counterclockwise around the tube until all four nails are looped. You won’t wrap loops around the nails from here on. Instead, lay the yarn across the front of the next nail, just above the loop that’s on the nail. Then pick up the loop that’s on the nail and pull it up and over the new yarn and off the nail. Leave the new yarn on the nail as a new loop. Do the same to the rest of the nails, continuing counter-clockwise round after round. The stitches that you pull off and drop into the center become cord, and it will begin to emerge from the bottom of the tube.
Once you get going, you can make miles of lovely cord. You will want to bind off when the cord is as long as you want it, so here’s how to do that without unraveling your work: Take the last loop you made off its nail and put it on the next nail, above the loop on the nail. Pull that loop up and over the new one. Keep moving loops around, until you have only one left. Use scissors to cut the working yarn, leaving a tail about 3-inches long. Pull the end of the yarn tail through the last loop. Pull it up tight to knot it securely.
Use the cord you made for ties, or loop it and stitch to make flowers. To make a headband, slip a plastic headband inside the center of the cod, then stitch or knot the ends securely to keep it in place.