Posts tagged: knitting mushroom

Metal – Tin Can Knitter (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , May 25, 2008 8:09 pm

Above you can see the product of this week’s Unplugged Project theme of metal: a knitted hamster.

I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute, the theme was metal, why is she showing us a knitted hamster?” Well, my point here is to prove just how flexible the Unplugged Project can be.

This is not just any old knitted hamster, it is a hamster that was knitted on a homemade tin can knitter. A tin can is made of metal. Voil√†! There is the connection! Our finished product was made of yarn, but it was made by using something metal, so it “counts.”

This type of knitting apparatus is known as a French Knitter, a Corker, a Spool Knitter, a Mushroom Knitter, a Knitting Nancy, a Knitting Knobby, and a few other names too I believe. My daughter has a commercially produced wooden one like this with four prongs that produces long, narrow, “snakes.” But you can easily make these knitters yourself (see links at the end of this post).

For even more fun, you can make big ones with various sizes of tin can which will produce different sizes of knitted tube. Ours is made from a 15 ounce can.

I found the instructions for the knitter and the hamster in the wonderful book Corking (Kids Can Easy Crafts) by Judy Sadler and Linda Hendry. There are also some instructions online here.


Here is how we made it:

You will need a clean tin can, some finishing nails (small heads) that are about 1.5″ long, and some sturdy tape. Small nail heads are important because the knitting process involves slipping loops of yarn up over the top of the nails, so you don’t want the yarn to get stuck on the nail heads. The book calls for cloth tape, but all I could find was colorful duct tape and that worked fine despite being a bit annoying to cut (I recommend slicing it with a box cutter instead of using scissors, which tend to stick):

First we removed the bottom of the can. You can usually do it with a can opener, but sometimes the bottom edge is rounded and must be removed with a dremel tool, or small saw. My advice: make sure you use a can whose bottom rim is narrow enough to be removed with a can opener.

Beware of sharp edges. I had a sharp shard that was sticking out on my can, so I squashed it down with some pliers, and then wrapped both raw edges with the tape.

Next apply a strip of tape just under the lip of the can sticky side out. Stick a pair of nails side by side (they should be touching) to the tape. Make sure to have about half an inch of the nail sticking up above the can edge and the other inch below. In order to knit, the nails must be stable so you’ll want a lot of the nail to be attached to the can:

Put another pair of nails on opposite the first. Continue putting on sets of nails around the can. It doesn’t have to be scientifically precise, but try and space them about 5/8th” (1.5cm) apart. After all the nails are stuck to the can, wrap a few strips of tape all the way around the diameter of the can to hold the nails in place.

Press the tape down between each pair of nails. Next cut short strips of tape and apply them to the can between the pairs of nails like this:

Wrap more tape around the diameter of the can. I did two layers of tape, and finished off with more little strips between the nails for added stability and to cover up any raw sticky edges. You can either leave your can like that, or decorate it with glued on paper, fabric , or ribbon. We glued some fabric on and this is what we ended up with:

You can experiment with different sized cans which will produce different sized knitted tubes. If you use a jumbo, restaurant-sized can, you can even make an infant hat!

This was so much fun that after my daughter finishes her own hamster (which is well underway), I think I will steal the knitter back and make some nice, cozy socks for my two year-old. The tube that comes off this sized can looks to be just about the right size for her feet!

So that is it for the metal part of our post. If you want to know how to make the hamster, then you should buy Corking, or borrow it from the library.


Make a Sculpey Clay Spool Knitter

Make a Spool knitter out of a wooden thread spool

Spool Knitting (instructions on how to make a knitter, and how to knit)


What did your family make for the theme metal? If you did a metal Unplugged Project this week, then please leave your link in Mr. Linky (and a comment in case Mr. Linky malfunctions and I have to remove him).

If you didn’t join us, then feel free to explore everyone’s projects to get inspired, and please consider joining us next week. You don’t have to do anything fancy or complicated! For more information on the Unplugged Project as well as instructions about how to participate even if you don’t have a blog, read more here.


Next week’s Unplugged Project theme will be:


So far we’ve done quite a few Unplugged Projects that used paint, but I don’t think that it has ever been the theme before.¬† Hope to see you here next week!



String/Yarn – French Knitting (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , December 16, 2007 10:31 pm

This week has been crazy for us with a school play, some gifts to make, my 7 year-old daughter’s book project (in addition to other homework), trying to peddle a few Christmas ornaments for Heifer International, etc., etc., etc. So our Unplugged Project fell a bit by the wayside, as did many of yours in this busy season I am sure!

So as to not appear totally lame (after all, the Weekly Unplugged Project is my idea so I can’t very well opt out can I?), I will post a String/Yarn themed project that my daughter has been continuously working on.

My 7 year-old daughter received a wooden “knitting mushroom” from Santa last year and really enjoys it. In case you are wondering about age-appropriateness, my daughter could manage all the knitting herself at age 6, although she needed my help to cast-on and off.

I recently reviewed a very nice one from Haba. The “knitting mushroom” creates a very simple, tubular, snake-like knitted strand that can be crafted into various objects, or simply knitted for the pleasure of knitting as ours have been so far, despite owning the inspirational book in the photo: Corking (Kids Can Easy Crafts). Ah well, we’ll get to it eventually.

My thoughts for this week had been: gluing yarn to construction paper to make designs or pictures with my 5 year-old, or trying finger knitting with my oldest. That will all have to be for another time however.

Next week I will be out of the country and most likely computer-less (AAAGHHHH!!! HELP!!!!!), so the following Unplugged Project will be due two-weeks from now – Monday, December 31st (New Year’s Eve? Time sure does go by fast!).


New Year’s Unplugged Project:


Perhaps a collage of fun things remembered from the past year?

Or things that would be fun for the coming year?

Or, for children old enough to understand the concept of “New Year’s Resolutions,” a collage of pictures relating to their resolutions.

Or…a white collage for little ones…white like the winter snow of January.

Or…anything you want to do!

Have fun! I hope anyone who reads this and is interested, will join in and meet back here on Monday, December 31st to share posts. Happy Holidays!

Haba Knitting Mushroom

By , December 14, 2007 12:29 pm

I had one of these as a child and just loved it. Even my mother had one as a child! My daughter has had one since the age of six and enjoys hers too.

This easy-to-use knitting contraption lets children simply knit long “snakes” that can be coiled and sewn together to make any number of projects.

There is something so calming and zen-like about knitting and this is a great way to introduce this calming activity to your children. Plus you the parent can also experience peace of mind because, although there are less-expensive plastic versions of this out there, this one is made of wood in Germany by well-respected European toy-maker .

I have also found that it makes a wonderful travel activity since it is very small, light, and easily packable in a carry-on toy/activity bag. It would fit in a Christmas stocking too!

Are the “snakes” piling up with no purpose? Then here is also a link to a great book that has lots of fun and easy craft ideas for using all these little “snakes.”

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