Corkwork: Revisiting French knitting, Spool Knitting

I just finished a batch of spool knitters in cherry for a customer.  They are so pretty that I need to keep one for myself.  These are probably the most elegant spool knitters I have ever seen.  Solid. Beautiful. Cherry. Wood. Tantalizing grain. Gleaming.  Satin finish.  Oooh. I want one.  And in case you want one, I have put a few in my Etsy store.

I’ve always known these spools as what you did “Corkwork” with.  But you know, this is not a word you find online as a synonym for a “Knitting Nancy” or “French knitting” or “Spool knitting.”  Sometimes people look at you  like you’ve said a bad word when you say “Corkwork”.

cherryspools2A few months ago, I was visiting my aunt and it didn’t take but a few words to describe these spools and she knew the word I knew them by, “Corkwork.”

My father knew the word too.  Corkwork.  All I had to say was, “do you remember those little spools where you could kind of knit with them”? He said, without missing a beat, “Yea, Corkwork.”

But in the United States, you probably know the word as French knitting or spool knitting. I have written about spool knitters previously.  Once upon a time I tried to stop making spool knitters — having made more than a 100 now in my lifetime. But they come back into my life in various ways.

And so, here are the most elegant spoolknitters ever made — from wonderful cherry wood!

My one caveat about knitting with spools — or Corkworking — is that you need to have the right tool to do Corkwork.  This is the tool that makes the difference between easy and frustrating.

I discovered this pink thing-a-ma-jig. Sometimes you find it called a “loom hook.” It has a soft rubber-like handle that doesn’t slip in your hand like plastic or wood.  And the angle of the hook is just perfect for corkwork.  Wish I had this when I was a kid.

When I first started making these spools, I could find these loom hooks in craft stores like Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s for $1.  Not so now —  you’ll find them but sometimes they are $6 or $7 — each!  I had tried making a few of my own with wood handles, but it’s just not the same.  And I couldn’t compete with $1.

For those of you who may enjoy Corkwork, I have a  page of  instructions. You are welcome to download it.  Enjoy.   corkwork-instructions.pdf

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One comment

  1. These are my cherry corkers. Thank you Judy for an amazing job. I put them in kits with the pink tool and hand dyed Alpaca yarn. I have a farm store at Chalet Alpacas in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. We also own a Bed and Breakfast at our farm and the guest love to browse in our little farm store and buy unique gifts for special people and occasions. Thanks again Judy for your time and talents. Look forward to working with you on some other special projects.


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