Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Childhood Memories - "Corking"

As the crowds of customers started to thin out during Saturday's Dickens of a Christmas (see previous post), we noticed a teenage girl following her mother through the quilt shop while working on a yarn-craft project. Ann was busy chatting with them about her craft and asked me if I knew what it was. My childhood memories came flooding back to me as I looked over and saw the familiar wooden spool in her hand. "That's CORKING!!!" They all looked at me like I had two heads, but no one knew what else it might be called, so they didn't argue. But then, I grew up in Canada and I've gotten used to being teased for using different words than the locals, so it's no big deal, eh???

I remember spending many hours as a young girl making these tubes of knitted yarn, and although the point was to coil and sew the finished corking into things like hotpads, I don't seem to remember any finished projects... (hmmm, sounds too familiar...)

So anyway, I just had to look it up on the internet and I found this website that backs up the name, and lists some others as well (I thought Knitting Nancy was particularly cute!), and also shows how to make the tool yourself. And here's a YouTube video that shows the process very clearly. (sorry - haven't figured out how to embed a video yet, so hope this link works ok).

My grand-daughter is only 10 months old, but now I know what to do with those old wooden thread spools that were passed down to me from my great-grandmother and you can bet that Rory will surely get a "corking" lesson when she gets a little older. Did you ever try "corking" when you were young? What did you call it?


  1. Oh my gawd YES...corking! As a Canadian, that's the ONLY name I knew it as ...when I was a kid.
    Gee, my sister and I did miles of it. Unfortunately, our mother thought it was junk and threw it out...EVERY YEAR!! Even if we tried to hide it. So, naturally when my girls were little I bought them corking kits. I have a spool with nails....sigh

  2. I remember doing that! We didn't call it corking--I'm not sure we called it anything other than tube knitting or something like that and I am not sure where I learned it. I grew up in Kentucky and Iowa, but I get the feeling I learned it from my mother who was from New Jersey with strong Irish roots.

  3. OMG, this took me back! I corked for HOURS and HOURS!!! I made umpteen corked rugs for dollhouses and who knows what else I did with all that corking. I used up my mom's yarn scraps from all her knitting projects. I wish she'd taught me how to knit - all I ever mastered was knitting, purling and dropping stitches. But corking - well let's just say I was a bit of an expert.


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