A string thing: what is it called?

(Falling squarely into the ‘harmless diversions’ category of MPSIMS)

My son was bored today, and so I introduced him to a diversion that I’d been taught a long time ago. I do not know what the tool is called, nor what the resulting string-art thing is called (if it has a name). Can someone help me better identify it?

The tool is constructed as follows:

  1. Take a piece of wood small enough to hold in one hand and drill a hole through it. The shape of the wood doesn’t matter.
  2. Hammer in four (or more) nails, spaced equidistantly around the hole, all the way through so the sharp points poke out at least 1/2 to 3/4 inch on the opposite side.
  3. Turn it over, so the nails point up. You’re done.

You use it by dropping string through the hole, then looping it in turn around each nail. Follow this with another loop in the same direction on the first nail, then use a free nail to ‘pick’ the bottom loop over the top one and over the top of the nail; tug on the protruding end to tighten the knot. Repeat in order over each nail, circling the hole.

After a surprisingly short while, you end up with a tube of woven string dangling from the bottom of the hole. If weaved tight, it makes decent rope, and of course it’s fun for all sorts of decorative stuff.

My boy had some fun with this (he’s still working at it, in fact; he says he wants to make the longest rope in the world), but he came up with a question I couldn’t answer: “Daddy, what’s this called?”

I don’t know what this craft – if indeed it is one – is called. Anyone have a clue?

Sounds like circular knitting. There are round looms for doing this with yarn.

Except that it can’t be knitting, because then it wouldn’t be suitable for a boy.

"Action Figure" is to “Doll” as “???” is to "Knitting"

Hmm. The loom looks like it’d have the same effect, but with no pictures of the output I’m not sure. And, looking up circular knitting on Google has lots of mentions of curved needles, double-pointed needles, etc, that don’t seem to apply.

That’s not to say that it isn’t, mind, it’s just that the term ‘circular knitting’ seems to be a bit more broad than what I was hoping to find. :slight_smile:


Bah. I learned it in Boy Scouts. How much more masculine can it be?

(Don’t answer that. :slight_smile: )

I’ve always heard it called spool knitting

Finger knitting. Sounds like the same result, but one’s fingers are the loom. A good way to keep young hands busy.

French knitting, but it’s such an ancient craft that there are many names for it. It’s a descendant of lucet cordmaking.

If you think ‘knitting’ is a bit un-boy-ish, I’m not sure you’ll want to know that another name for it is Nancy knitting

…so, it sounds like the thing to do is to make up a suitably manly moniker. Let’s call it the Action Weaver, or, hmm… the Worm Holer… maybe not… or a Lanyard Tool… or… hmm…

A Knitting Nellie.

Sorry, that’s what I’ve always heard them called.

I remember doing the same thing way back when in a school art class with my fingers as a loom.

Yes, I did have the longest rope in the class. :smiley:

In my 1970s childhood, we called these “Knitting Machines.” Machine sounds fairly manly, you might have to work on the knitting. I know there are actual knitting machines on which you can knit, well, actual stuff, so the four nails thing was like the kids’ version. You could make them at home with a wooden spool, and they also sold molded plastic ones at craft stores.

Knitting Spool, Knitting Nancy



Whittling, baby. I used to do it constantly, and still do (I got a wood-handled Buck knife the other day…man is that thing badass!)

I had a plastic one when I was young that was called a princess knitter. Obviously unsuitable for boys. At least it wasn’t pink.

Trust the Dope to find the exact thing I was looking for! Now that Swampwolf (and others) have ID’d it, ‘spool knitting’ does indeed ring a bell of sorts.

I submit we call it the Ultra Ropemaker. Catchy, easy to do brand tie-ins with (G.I. Joe Ultra Ropemaker – c’mon, tell me that ain’t cool!), and it’s got ultra built into the title. That’s a sure seller right there!

Hey, every boy needs rope, right? How else are you going to practice tying things up?

Perhaps the George Foreman Ultra Ropemaker

Doll : Action Figure :: Knitting :
Click, Click, Loom!

Ropemaking. :slight_smile:

Priceless, just priceless. Why do I have a feeling a photoshoped photo of Vin Deisel with the “Ultra Ropemaker” is just moments away. . .