Winter Craft: Make A French Knitting Machine

Did you have a Knitting Nancy or a French knitting machine when you were a kid? Now you can make your own and teach your children how to French knit using a home-crafted device.

What you need:

  • 1 empty cardboard toilet roll
  • 4 iceblock sticks
  • masking tape
  • a ball of wool


  • some coloured contact or patterned paper to make your Knitting Nancy look fancy

Make a French knitting machine

Watch the video below to find out how to make a French knitting machine.

Mark each iceblock stick 2.5cm from the top.

Now tape each iceblock stick to the toilet roll at equal intervals with 2.5cm sticking up at the top.

Secure the iceblock sticks with tape.

You are ready to French knit.


Cover the body of your knitting machine with coloured contact or patterned paper.

How to French knit

Thread the end of the ball of wool down through the cardboard tube, so that about 5cm is sticking out at the bottom. This will be your ‘leader’.

Now loop the wool around each stick, making sure the wool goes to the inside of the French knitting machine each time (see video).

Continue to wind the wool around the top of the spool until you have two loops on each paddlepop stick.

Pass the bottom loop over the top loop on each stick. Pull down on your leader to tighten the knitting.

Continue looping the wool around each stick until there are two loops on each stick. Pass the top loop over the bottom loop.

It won’t take long for you to start getting a nice tail of knitting out of the bottom of your Knitting Nancy/French knitting machine.

  • Thanks to our sister company Kidspot Australia for creating the instructional video.

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