How to use a knitting nancy

Posted under Fun basics


“Something from Nothing”:  Knitting Nancy

knitting nancy
Here is a simple way to make your own knitting nancy. Take one 6cm piece of a rough cut branch.  Drill a 1.5cm hole through the centre. Drill four holes (wide enough for dowels) at equal intervals around the circle. Glue the dowels in place. Now, isn’t that just the most eco-friendly toy/craft tool you’ve ever seen? “Something from nothing”. I love this great theme!
Here is how to use it. Firstly, tie a slip knot. Make sure you have at least a 5cm tail of wool. Loop the slip knot around one of the pegs.


Drop this tail through the middle hole and is visible from the bottom end.


Begin wrapping.
To choose your next peg, travel in a clockwise direction. To wrap your wool, travel in an anti-clockwise direction.


Wrap four times, so that you have completed one rotation of pegs. You will find that the next peg you wrap has a wool loop already on it.

This is where the fun starts! Wrap once, then lift the bottom loop over the top loop and drop it towards the middle. (similar to casting off in knitting)





Keep repeating this process, working your way clockwise. Every now and then, pull on the thread that hangs through the centre to tighten the knitting. Soon enough, you’ll see the tip of your knitted rope!

If you want to change colours on your rope, just cut off the wool with a 5cm tail and tie on your next ball of colour. When you are finished and want to cast off, here is what you do.


Choose the next loop you will work on. Lift it off the dowel, and tuck the tail through the loop.


Work anti-clockwise and continue with the next loop until all four are now knotted off. Pull the last knot tight and you can slip your rope free of the knitting nancy.

This is what it will look like.


I always like to tuck my ends into my sewing/knitting for a neat finish. Use a tapestry needle and find a sneaky spot, then cut the threads carefully.


Here is a cute craft you can use this green one for.. come and have a look!

19 Responses to “How to use a knitting nancy”

  1. Fiona

    Love, your photo tutorial for the knitting Nancy! I have shared it on my blog to tie in with my repurposed paper roll Knitting Netty : )

  2. ikan

    Hi! This tutorial is so amazing and easy to understand! Thank you so much and God bless you!

  3. Julie

    Thanks Amber this is exactly what I was after. Bought one for my grandaughter but I couldn’t remember how to use it and the instructions made no sense. You have made it very clear.

  4. Amber Greene

    Oh great stuff, Julie. I’m hoping to film them sometime next year too. Everyone learns so differently, it’s good to have options. Thanks again.

  5. Jean

    Like Julie I also bought one of these for my granddaughter. I used one as a child in the UK, homemade. Recently I bought one and couldn’t figure out how it worked from the written instructions. Thank you so much for this easy tutorial .

  6. Alice

    There are a couple of knitting nancies in my late grandmother’s sewing box. I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to use one. It is 40 or so years since I used one of these actual ones (they are the ones from my childhood). Thanks for the tutorial it all comes back now.

  7. Amber Greene

    Oh yay Alice. It’s such fun to relearn a skill, especially a crafty one. Have fun! Thanks for taking the time to stop in.

  8. shelby

    Thanks, I have a knitting doll because i find it easier than useing a knitting nancy. I think it is the same to use the knitting nancy starter technic. This worked pretty well on the knitting doll so thanks very much Amber

  9. Allison

    In the 1950′s we made them from old wooden cotton reels with 4 small tacks. Cost = nothing.

  10. Rita

    Thanks for the directions bought one for my granddaughter in a store and could not understand the directions that came with it.thanks so much

  11. Janet

    What age is Knitting Nancy suitable for?

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