I dont know how common is the "Strickliesel" in other countrys but here in Germany it used to be very common... well at least when I was a kid. We knitted endless strings and made all kind of things out of it. I still use Strickliesel every now and then for making strings
My "Strickliesel" - owned for a looooong time
I needed the string for a bag I´ve sewed a couple of days ago.