Guest post by Meghan Murphy I love to craft with yarn—and my kind of yarn crafts are super-fun and super-easy. Though knitting and crocheting might be the most common handicrafts, I don’t know how to do either. There are stitches to learn, patterns to follow, and it can get pretty complicated. So I say, why knit and crochet when you can cork? Corking is sometimes referred to as spool knitting or French knitting. Using a spool, a hollow cylindrical tool with four nails or pegs secured to the top in a square shape, you knit around the spool to produce long corked braids, which come out of the centre of the spool. These braids become the foundation for any number of homemade soft goods. I started corking many years ago when I was a kid. The summer camp I went to in Mississauga had knitting hour once or twice a week. A group of older ladies would come in and teach us crafts like corking. I loved it from the very beginning and I’m still corking today. It’s a unique, refreshingly simple craft, and the act of corking is so low-key you can do it almost anywhere. I like to cork while I’m watching TV—it’s relaxing and comforting. All you need to cork is a ball of yarn, the spool and a crochet needle. Craft stores like Michaels and even Wal-Mart also sell corking kits that include everything you need for a corking craft. Here’s how to cork in seven simple steps: Step 1: Tie the end of your yarn into a slipknot so that you have a loop. Step 2: Take the loop and place it on one of the four pegs. The end of your yarn, where the knot is, should be pushed through the center of the spool. Step 3: Take the yarn and wrap it around each peg to form a square shape. There will now be two loops around every peg. Step 4: Once you’ve made the square, “knit” the yarn around the pegs to create your first cork stitch. This is accomplished by using the crochet hook to manipulate the yarn, taking the lower loop and folding it over the upper loop to the back of the peg. Step 5: Continue knitting around the spool until your corked braid is long enough—braid length depends on the final craft you’re making. The more you cork, the longer your braid will get. If you’d like to add more yarn to your project, just tie the end of one ball of yarn to the beginning of a new ball and keep corking as usual. Use yarns of similar weight to make your braid even, and have fun choosing colours! Step 6: To finish a corked braid, take the yarn from the peg you just stitched and move it to the next peg waiting to be stitched. Step 7: Knit a regular stitch, and repeat step 6 until you’ve reached the last peg and you have only one loop left. The beginning and ending of your braid should now look similar. Take that last loop, make it a little larger so you can fit the end of the yarn through and make a knot. You’ve successfully made a cork braid! There are lots of creative crafts you can make out of your cork braid such as bracelets, necklaces, place mats, coasters and scarfs, just to name a few. When you sew your braids together with a needle and thread, you can make just about anything. Have fun and get corking! And if you want to lean how to knit, Canadian Living has some popular knitting patterns for beginners!