What on earth is a dolly bobbin? And more to the point, what’s the point of a dolly bobbin?
I’m not sure I’m going to be able to answer the second question all that well. But I do know that for my sisters and me the dolly bobbin was hours and hours of contentment. At the end of which we had a long tube of wool we had no idea what to do with. There were some failed attempts at turning woollen coils into purses. Sometimes we’d race each other for who could do the longest piece quickest. But mainly, we did it for the pleasure of doing it. That was the point. And after all, what’s the point of computer games?
I still have the same Dolly Bobbin I had as a child – surely a sign of how much she meant to me. You may find that the hardest thing about learning to do Dolly Bobbin is getting hold of one. Amazon and ebay are likely to be the best bets, unless you’re lucky enough to live near a good old-fashioned haberdashery and crafts shop.
You’ll need the Dolly Bobbin and a ball of wool. She (all Dolly Bobbins are girls – feel free to give yours a name) will come with her own stick. For starting with try not to use a wool that has lots of bobbles in it or is quite thick. Both of those will make learning to do this much harder than it actually is. Here goes:
1. Pull out a length of wool and thread it down the hole at the top of your DB and through her middle. You need a length 10cm or so extending out of the base. Hold your DB around her neck with one hand and with the other wind the wool twice around one of the spikes, anti-clockwise. Take the stick she came with – or if not use a crochet hook or big needle – and lift the lower thread over the top of the spike and drop it over into the centre of DB. Twizzle DB anti-clockwise until the next spike is in front of you and repeat. Do this until you’ve been around each empty spike. You’ve now cast on.
3. After each spike has a stitch on it, you’re then only going to loop the wool around once anti-clockwise. Then do the same thing – lift the lower stitch over the top of the spike and drop it. Go around each spike in turn anti-clockwise. A little tug on the length of wool at the base of your DB will draw your knitting down through her body and, eventually, a beautiful tube of wool will emerge.
4. Keep going until you’ve had enough. When you reach that point, cut a length of wool 10cm off your ball of wool. One by one lift each stitch off its spike and thread the wool end through the stitch and pull tight. Then just pull the finished knitting out of DB and try to think what the heck you might do with it.