Thursday, 6 October 2016

French Knittin' In the USA, French Knittin' in the USA-hey!

Last week the archive staff had one of our legendary nights out. We chugged cups of tea, slammed  some veggie burgers and nailed a bunch of  homebakes before staggering home way, way, way, past nine o'clock. Say, tennish?

We talked shop, we talked Bake Off, we set the world of carrot cakes to rights (walnuts or no? Discuss...) until, as it invariably does when one is 'partying hard', the conversation ended up at the topic of French knitting.

It turned out every one of us had spent vast swathes of our youth bent over a wooden doll with a tube through her middle and four pins in her head, tongues firmly between our teeth as we 'knitted' great big worms of wool which protruded from the dolly's nether regions and coiled down to the floor. For what and for why we asked ourselves? What was the purpose of this bizarre pursuit? Who needs boxes of woollen worms and what could anyone ever do with such things?

The Orcadian (as usual) came to the rescue:

Taken from a 1926 copy of the Orcadian. Ten years of looking through these things and the casual use of a word like 'cripple' is still really jarring.

The next week's issue offered readers the opportunity to make a fabric version of a cat who's just remembered that he's not done something really, really important:


  1. Cool! I'm sorry I missed this when it was first posted. I was in Michigan visiting family. My husband and son were there, too, attempting to cheer our alma mater's football (American-style) team on to victory. Alas, it was not to be.

    This is an interesting article. I agree, "cripple" is jarring--and yet, it's truthful. Still, our PC mentalities find it hard to cope with such words today. But what a nice idea! I've seen the cord made into mittens, flowers, edgings on sweaters and blankets and other articles of clothing or accessories...but mostly, I think, this kind of knitting was a good way to keep bored kids quiet near the fire on bleak windy snowy winter days.

    The cat pattern hasn't changed much--you could easily make one of them today. And there are little children who would love to have such a companion to cuddle. ^_^


  2. Sorry about the football game Sue! Hope you had a nice trip anyway...

  3. It was a good trip, aside from the game. The weather was great, and everyone was healthy. We had fun!


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