What's a crankie?

A crankie is an old storytelling art form, popular in the 19th century.   Start with a long illustrated scroll that is wound onto two spools. The spools are loaded into a box which has a viewing screen. Then the scroll is hand-cranked while the story is told, or a tune is played or a song is sung. 

Podorythmie has been performing crankies since 2011 and has a repertoire of over 20 stories.  To learn more about crankies, visit Sue's website The Crankie Factory.

We have been performing crankies since 2011 and have about 20 crankie scrolls.  Here are a few of our stories!


Valse des Sucres

Felt and wool plaid hand-stiched to a felt scroll.

Valse des Sucres, also known as the Good Neighbor Waltz was composed by John Arcand. The images are of maple sugaring season in Quebec: gathering the maple sap, sugar shacks going night and day followed by celebrations of music, dance and of course, enjoying maple syrup!


This crankie scroll took Sue over 9 months to complete. It contains over 1,000 handcut and maching cut Tyvek images, glued to a Tyvek scroll.

1909 is the year the first trainfull of French speaking lumber workers and their families traveled from Quebec and other eastern provinces to work in the Fraser Lumber Mill. They brought their music, dance, recipes, religion and language and built a new life in Maillardville, BC.

Waves of the St. Lawrence

This scroll was made from deconstructed lace and felt, hand-stitched to a felt scroll.

Waves of the St. Lawrence was inspired by the tune of the same name. It's the story of 19th century immigrants making a new home in on the St. Lawrence and how their music, song, dance (and sometimes drink!) remained an important part of their life.

We incorporated automatons and limberjacks into this story.

Barn Quilt Trail

There are now Barn Quilt Trails in 48 US states and 3 Canadian provinces. Take a journey through the backroad and see how many quilt blocks you can spot: Wild Goose Chase, Bear Paw, Beans and Corn, Pine Tree, Ohio Star and more.

The Lace Maker

THE LACEMAKER  tells the story of a young women who has a magical gift. She can tell a person's fortune by looking into a piece lace held up to the fire. She helps many people in her village solve mysteries such as where did their cow wander off and will the fisherman survive the huge storm while out at sea...

Valse des Poele

Lace, felt and wool plaid, hand-stitched to a felt scroll.

Valse des Poeles or Waltz of the Stoves is a beautiful waltz was composed by Simon Riopel of Quebec. This crankie is a celebration of winter activities: sledding, ice skating, snowball fights and gathering around the wood burning stove drinking hot chocolate!

There is lots of shadow puppetry in this story.

Daytime Quilt Crankie

19th century patterns: School House, Pine Tree, Bear Paw, Maple Leaf, Mariner's Compass, Trouble, Sail Boat and Ocean Waves. Felt and wool hand-stitched to a felt scroll.

The Daytime Quilt Crankie tells about the importance of quilts in the 19th century.  They were much more than a covering for a bed. Quilts provided a creative outlet for women.  They brought comfort to those in need and they brought communities of families together through quilting parties (as they were called in the 19th century). We weave in fiddle tunes and stepdancing to go along with the quilt patterns.

Heart & Hand

Some fiddle tunes share the same name as quilt patterns.  In the 19th century, more people lived on the farm than in the cities. They named tunes and patterns after the things around them such as "Cluck Ol Hen," "Black Eyed Susie," and "Dusty Miller." Heart & Hand matches up the tunes with the pattern and a little bit of quilt history thrown in.