These little devices go by a lot of names – Knitting Nelly, Knitting Nancy, Knitting Jenny, spool knitters, knitting dolls, and french knitting machines. The idea has been around forever, and it’s actually the easiest thing. You can make nifty yarn products without needles or hooks, with one simple little method.
My nelly is made from a toilet paper tube and popsicle sticks. Making the nelly is super easy – just glue popsicle sticks to a toilet paper tube, and you’re done. You can glue as many as you’d like, or the bare minimum of three. More sticks means tighter stitches and less means a looser weave. I decorated my nelly by painting it to look like a garden because I like pretty things, but you really don’t have to.
To use your nelly, you’ll need some yarn. You start by wrapping it around the popsicle sticks with the cross of the loop on the top. Leave the starting yarn hanging down inside the knitter. It will look like this:
Now, you’ll go around and do the exact same thing a second time so that you have two rows of yarn loops on all of your sticks.
Now we get to knitting. Take the lower loop and lift it up and over the top loop, then let it fall down on the inside.
Continue this all the way around. When you’ve only got one loop on each stick, it’s time to make another row and repeat the lifting and dropping. You’ll keep going until your i-cord (that’s what the thing you’re making is called) is as long as you want it.
To finish, gently slip all the loops off the nelly. Snip the yarn, leaving a long tail.
Thread the tail through each of the loops, then pull the tail taught.
And that’s it! You now have an i-cord that can be coiled, sewn, combined, slipped over things, etc to create tons of fun crafts. I coiled mine to make a trivet!
Here are some other great ideas for using finished i-cords:
3. DIY Key Knot from Best DIY Ideas (the pictures are the entire tutorial, but it looks easy enough to follow!)
6. Christmas Trees from La Calle de la Abuela (the tutorial is in Spanish, but the pictures are easy enough to follow)