Craft Challenge Week 3: How to knit using the French Bobbin style.
As many of you, I grew up with a wiz-kid knitter Granny. She mastered crotchet, cardigans, embarrassing bauble hats which I had to wear, and hundreds of dolls and characters for fun hugging goodness and therefore like most of you, knitting is hardly an unknown craft time for me. However although I stumbled through the basic stitch and pearl, casting on and off and getting the rows to remain even was always a mystery to me!
When I was a kid I remember my Granny buying me a little wooden soldier bobbin who you feed with wool and he delighted you with a woven scarf for very little people!!! I forget about this as I grew until one day I found an article in the paper about making necklaces with bobbins (wikipedia definition: A bobbin is a spindle or cylinder, with or without flanges, on which wire, yarn, thread or film is wound.)
They showed brightly coloured wool “Tiny scarves” little I used to make but with beads pressed down their middle to make invented and bright jewellery and my bobbin love resumed!!
I started with some simple monotone wool and then moved on to all sorts of fancy wool an created some lovely necklace lengths which I then hung pendants on but it’s been so long since I made these I wanted to try again.
The picture is of typical wooden bobbins that I bought off eBay.
I will attempt to remember how to do this and post a step by step guide – I even made a very raw, amateur video to show you roughly how it’s done – ignore all the mistakes and weird angles, it’s been years since I last attempted this!
Let’s get Started!
What you need:
ball of wool
(easy pezy and cheap as pie!)
1.) Thread the end of your wool through the centre of the bobbin so that it’s hanging out the bottom.
2.) Your bobbin has four prongs, holding onto the hanging length of thread out the bottom wrap the wool around each prong, forming one anticlockwise loop, (you can probably do this in either direction – this just works best for me!). Move around the prongs in a circle so that the wool between prongs forms a three sided square shape, don’t go diagonally.
3.) Now your bobbin should look like: the wool coming out of the centre and wrapping round prong 1, pulled to prong 2 and wrapped around, then to prong 3 and 4 so each prong now has one strand of wool wrapped around it.
4.) Do the same again wrapping a second thread of wool around prong one above the first one.
5.) Take your knitting needle and thread it into the bottom loop around prong 1.
6.) Pull that loop over the top of the prong and over your second loop back into the centre. Pull on the loose start of your wool that’s hanging below the bobbin to tighten the stitch. Bobbin knitted is literally pulling one loop over the next over and over again forming stitches.
7.) Do steps 4-6 again with prongs 2, 3 and 4 and keep going. It may not look like much at first but as you keep knitting the pattern is pulled down through the bobbin and starts to come out neatly weaved on the other side.
8.) Now if I remember correctly (please don’t shoot me if I don’t!) to finish, once you have your desired length of knitted cord you unravel maybe 20cm of wool, cut it and thread the end through your four final loops remaining on the bobbin and pull tight.
I hope that made sense? Watch the video if it helps or just ask me.
The Picture shows the finished ends of a knitted cord in ordinary green wool and one done more complicated wool.
If you want to add beads then just leave the final end open and push them down the middle before you close it off.
To turn this into a necklace I used crimps with the eye hole in the end, a jump ring and a clasp.
See now you can knit too!!! And again this doesn’t take much concentration; it’s repetitive and great to fiddle with while you’re chilling on the sofa in front of your favourite film.
Bobbin Knitting Without a Bobbin
If you want to get started straight away and don’t have a bobbin or are waiting to get out to the “Bobbin shop” a cool alternative is finger knitting and it works on the same basic principles but is rawer and bulkier so good for narrow scarves as opposed to jewellery as the result is less tight. Basic steps for “How to” will guide you through.
1.) To begin, tie a loose knot around your thumb. Then with your left palm facing you (or right if you’re left handed) place a strand of yarn in between your thumb and index finger. Leave about three inches on the palm side and the ball of yarn on the other.
2.) To ‘cast on’ (the only time I will be casting on as I can’t knit, knit!), wrap the yarn once around your index finger, then around your middle finger, then around your ring finger, then finally around your pinkie. The top of the loops should be on the palm of your hand and the overlap crossings on the back side of your hand.
3.) Wrap the yarn across your fingers from your pinkie to your index finger and let it go so it lies across your fingers above the loops.
4.) Starting with your pinkie, pick up the loop at the bottom and lift it up over the strand and off your finger.
5.) Repeat for your ring finger, middle finger, and index finger completing one row. The yarn will now be hanging off your index finger.
6.) Wrap the yarn across the back of your hand, around the outside of your pinkie, and across the palm, just above the stitches you just made. Or I also just lay it back across my palm left to right and work in that direction but I think the former is the proper way! When it’s about 2 inches long undo it from your thumb.
7.) Pick up the stitches and pull up and over strand on each finger from pinkie to index finger as you did in steps 4 & 5.
8.) Repeat steps 6 & 7 until the knitting extended down the back of your hand is the desired length. To finish, cut the yarn, take the loops off your fingers, put the cut end of the yarn through the loops and tie in a knot.
The Results of this Week’s Challenge!
Well folks, it’s another manic Monday so I’m calling all you crafters from my bed to check in and check out the new challenge – it will be posted at http://www.squidoo.com/week4crafts but this lens will include weeks 4 to 6!
Now have you rediscovered French bobbins or finger knitted ’til you’re sore?
I found that with most things whenever I’d finally managed to train my brain to the basic technique that knitting came as automatic, the downside being I spend hours watching new dramas online while I fiddled away with wool!
If anyone had any problems do let me know!
The picture shows a bobbin knitted cord with black beads down the middle to form a bracelet, though I haven’t finished off the findings and crimps and clasps yet!
While finger knitting I was asked what was it’s practical application as it’s too thin for a scarf and too loose for a necklace well here’s the secret – use 4 or five yarns of wool at the same time, just line them up and treat them as one and you’ll have a narrow but good size scarf.
Also I had a brain wave while finger knitting that the nice loose weaves using one thread could make a lovely necklace if you first thread on some intermittent beads – I’m going to give this a go – haven’t had a chance to go shopping yet but will post my results when I do!
Well that didn’t work, the beads just caused the wool to tangle and I couldn’t pull out the stitched design as they got in the way. It might be doable with more patience so I’ll probably never get there!
Ok – oops! Photo will be updated later as the bracelet has fallen into the paws of the Bermuda cat triangle!