Unleash Your Inner Six Year Old With Spool Knitting

The other night someone on Facebook posted some pictures of yarn bombing. For some reason this immediately reminded me of when I was a little kid, and I had spool knitting to keep me occupied on long trips. What the hell is spool knitting you ask? Spool knitting aka French knitting is basically knitting done in a constant spiral instead of in rows. It’s typically used to make sleeves and socks, but a small spool, like the kind I used as a kid, produces what’s basically a long rope, or an i-cord. Since I’m apparently a highly suggestible person I of course wanted to start a spool knitting project RIGHT NAO!! though because it was 1am I couldn’t go to the craft store to get a knitting spool.

Well clever me, I figured out how to make one, and you can do it too. I used a toilet paper roll. I cut into the top of it so that I had four “prongs”, similar to if you were using this to make a little cardboard castle tower, and reinforced the prongs with toothpicks and painter’s tape like a splint, since that’s what I had lying around. You could also tape four Popsicle sticks to your roll, and many people stick nails into an actual wooden spool. But as long as you have a little tube with prongs around the top, you’re good.

Ta-Da. Ava Strange in a new episode of McGuyver, coming soon to a day dream near you.

Ta-Da. Ava Strange in a new episode of McGuyver, coming soon to a day dream near you.

To start your rope, make a slipknot in some yarn and put this on one of the prongs, with the tail hanging inside. Loop the yarn around the other prongs. Then you’re going to wrap the yarn around and around, always lifting the yarn from the last pass up and over the new yarn and prong. Eugh, this is easier to do than to explain. Here’s a video that I didn’t make.

If you don’t have a knitting needle like in the video, you can use another toothpick, and if you have stiletto nails like me you won’t need anything!


This is what it looks like coming out of the spool. You can also easily change colors by tying the old color to the new one and tucking the knot inside the rope as you continue to knit. From the top it will look like this…



Switching colors.

So besides keeping six year olds occupied on road trips, what’s the point of this? There is of course killing time and making yourself appear more talented than you really are; there are a TON of different projects you can do, from necklaces and scarves to purses and super unnecessary pen cozies. But the simplest thing to make is a great big circle by sewing your rope around and around. Depending on how long it takes you to get bored you could end up with anything from a pot holder to a rug. Mine just passing dog/cat bed territory right now and will hopefully grow up to be a rug. And it better, because there is a lot of fighting for space on the thing right now. You could also make two of these circles, sew them together, and stuff them to make a pillow. And if you’re Hugh Hefner and you have a round bed, this is the dorkiest/most awesome way to get a new blanket.

Or perhaps a new shield for your grandson, Captain America.

Or perhaps a new shield for your grandson, Captain America.

That’s pretty damn good for some yarn and an old toilet paper roll eh?


I’m his hero right now. I think I’ll call myself Captain Canada.