Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to learn how to knit. Several times over the years, I went so far as to buy a pair of knitting needles and a skein of yarn. Armed with my supplies, I would clumsily attempt to follow the instructions in one of the several knitting books I had collected. I mastered the cast on stitch, but was always stumped when it came time to knit that first row. Happily, I no longer have to worry about my awkwardness with the more conventional form of knitting, and have permanently retired my knitting needles. I have discovered the art of loom knitting, and there’s no looking back!
Loom knitting has been around for a very long time. It only recently became popular again with the advent of a wonderful product called the Knifty Knitter. These looms, along with a knitting tool, come in a set of four sizes, small , medium, large, and extra large, and are very inexpensive. They’re made of a hard plastic material, and the best way I can describe them is to say they’re like a ring with pegs around the outer edge. Instructions on how to make a hat come with this set, so I think it’s safe to assume that most people create a hat for their first project. But there are so many more items you can knit with these round looms! Scarves, pillows, shawls, socks, afghans, mittens, purses, blankets, hair scrunchies, ponchos, booties, even sweaters can be produced with very little effort. Even children can very quickly catch on to knitting in this fun, easy way.
Knifty Knitter also has a set of long looms, which includes a 10, 14, 18, and 22 inch loom. The pegs on these looms are closer together than the pegs on the round looms, so your finished product has a tighter weave. The long looms also make a larger piece of knitted material.
I learned the basics on these looms, and then I graduated to what is called an Infinity knitting board. I purchased the five foot board, and it is beautiful, shaped like a figure 8 and lovingly hand made out of wood by Decor Accents, Inc. This loom will make a five foot panel of knitted material of an even tighter weave than the long looms, and is perfect for making afghans and blankets, plus many other items. This loom is more expensive due to its construction, but it is absolutely worth every penny I paid for it. I have made several gorgeous afghans with this loom, and have another one in progress.
There are also fine gage looms that can be used for knitting socks that you can actually wear with your shoes, looms especially for knitting baby items, mitten looms, and others. Do a web search on “knitting looms” and you will be amazed at the variety available!
The number of pegs on a loom determines the finished size of the knitted material, so you should keep this in mind when choosing a loom for your first project. It is very simple to teach yourself to knit on a loom. For a tighter stitch, it is recommended to use two strands of yarn. You can either use a strand from each end of a skein of yarn, or buy two skeins and use both. One of the easiest and quickest beginning stitches is called the E-wrap. Each stitch will look like a cursive letter E. To make this stitch, start by wrapping the yarn in a counterclockwise direction around each peg.
First, anchor your yarn by making a slipknot on the peg that is on the side of the loom.Go all the way around the loom, wrapping each peg with two strands of yarn. Don’t wrap the yarn too tight. You want it just snug enough so that it doesn’t slip off the pegs.Repeat once more, wrapping each peg again with two strands of yarn. For a stitch that is just a little tighter, you can use three strands of yarn, and wrap each peg three times instead of two. When you are done, anchor your yarn again so that everything you just wrapped doesn’t unravel. Now, you are ready to knit.
Take the knitting hook tool that came with your loom. Insert the hook into the lower loop of yarn on the first peg to the right of your anchor peg. Pull the stitch over the top loop, and over the top of the peg, until it lies against the peg on the inside of the loom. Continue to knit off this way on each peg, until you have gone all the way around the loom. Now, wasn’t that easy? You have just cast on to your loom! Continue wrapping and pulling over until your knitting is the length you want. The instructions that came with your loom should explain how to finish your project. Each item is finished a bit differently, but basically, all you are doing is securing the end of the yarn in a way so that it will not unravel.
There are many patterns available for free and also for sale on the web. You will never be at a loss for what to give as a gift again, for there is a pattern to suit the tastes of everyone on your list. Try your hand at this wonderful craft, but beware… it’s addicting!