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Handmade for the Holidays: Loom Knitting

I’ve been a knitting fool lately! I’ve determined that this year I am making as many of my gifts as I possibly can, and so I’ve been very busy with different projects. My favorite projects so far have been my yarn projects. I am by no means coordinated or talented with knitting needles, but I love the idea of making my own scarves, hats and more. I’ve known how to knit and crochet since I was a teenager, but I was never able to finish a project. My hands would cramp up, I’d drop stitches, or I’d get bored before a project was done.  Telling me to “purl” was like speaking a foreign language. Then one day I saw my mom using the knifty knitter loom and I was hooked–literally! Not only is it really, really simple, to do, but loom projects knit up quickly. As in, I do it while watching television every night and within a week I’ve got a finished scarf. Overall it probably takes me 6-8 hours total to knit up an extra long scarf. If I keep my yarns thick and my stitches basic, I can get that down to three or four hours. In other words: it’s not too late to make knitted gifts for Christmas!

Now, before you tell me you can’t knit, let me tell you that this is WAY simpler than crochet or using two knitting needles. Remember making potholders on looms? Or making small decorative rugs with a hook? This is that simple–butlooks just like traditional knitting. Really. LittleMissSunshine regularly uses looms to pop out socks, hats and scarves for her American Girl doll. My eight year old is better at this than I am. And trust me when I say that I am NOT coordinated in any way. If I can loom knit, anyone can!

There are many great tutorials out there on how to use a loom, so I’m not going to go into that right now. (My favorites are at LoomKnitting.com.) I did want to go over some of the basics, and share some tips I’ve learned along the way.

Types of looms

There are two basic types of looms: a straight loom or a circular loom. Both are very useful, depending on what it is you want to make most. I’m a huge fan of the straight loom, because I like to make scarves, wraps and washcloths. The straight looms are also great for anything you want to be double knit, like thick, fluffy scarves. I have spent most of my time knitting on the straight loom, but I am beginning to learn to use the circular looms. Circular looms are great for hats, socks, slippers, leg warmers and boot socks, amongst other things. I made my first pair of boot socks last week–took me about four hours to make the pair. I am currently using a round loom to make a ribbed cowl scarf, in a flat panel. (Meaning I knit around the loom but don’t join it at the ends.) You can see both the straight loom and the circular loom in the photo at the top of the post. Both projects in the photo are infiniti scarves or cowls. The purple scarf on the round loom is a rib knit, an intermediate level stitch. The straight loom is a double knit, in a braid stitch. You can buy the looms separately for about $12-15 each, or order the whole set of Knifty Knitter looms for $21 on Amazon. Most craft stores also carry them for the same price.

How to loom knit

Loom knitting is very simple. There are more complex stitches, but for the basic stitch, it is very simple: wrap the yarn around the pegs, one after the other. This is called “casting on.” (The looms come with good instructions.) Do this all the way around the loom once. Now, go around again, and when you’re done, pull the bottom loop up over the top loop, and off the peg, leaving the top loop on the peg. This is the most basic stitch, called an e-wrap. Here’s what it looks like:

This is all you do. I wrap each peg in the row, then hook it and pull it one by one over the peg. Then repeat for the next row. It is really simple! You simply keep going until your project is finished. This is known as the stockingette stitch. As you get comfortable with this stitch, check YouTube for tutorials on how to create rib knit and other more advanced stitches.

Yarns

This is where I get into trouble–big trouble. I walk into a store and see all the gorgeous, soft yarns and have trouble making up my mind! I always end up buying more yarns than I should. Standing in front of those rows of beautiful yarns my creative juices start flowing, and I want to knit all day long!

With loom knitting you’re most likely going to want to use a chunkier yarn. Thin yarns work okay, but they have gaps between the wide-set pegs, and so it comes out looking a bit lacey. Thick and chunky yarns knit up tightly, and quickly. If you want to use a thinner yarn, try doubling up the strands. That works about the same as a thicker yarn.  That said, some looms have thinner pegs that are closer set together, designed for the thinner yarns. These are excellent for more delicate work, like for socks or baby clothing. These are often called Knitting Boards.

Moving Beyond the Basics

There’s a lot more you can knit than just hats and scarves! Using the larger looms in your sets you can knit blankets, shawls, wraps, sweaters and so much more!  I learned a while back how to make purses, cases and bags with my straight loom. Earlier this year I used the same technique to knit up a case for my Kindle. Over the summer I used the loom to quickly knit up some mesh-type produce bags for when I go to the farmer’s market. If you search the internet you’ll find thousands of patterns and tutorials for lots of great projects.

Do you loom knit? Do you have a favorite project? Share it with us in the comments below. Or, if you’re new to loom knitting and have questions, let me know! I would love to help you learn, if I can.

UPDATE: So many of you asked for a tutorial on the pink scarf knit, and I finally got around to getting one posted. Check out my braid knit post for a step by step photo tutorial.

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Comments

  1. I love loom knit so much
    i really dont know how to knit or crochate but i did amazing job when its come
    to loom knitting xD i did alot of scarf already and hats .
    and now im learning new stitsh but i really love you knitting in
    the photo could you tell me what is it?! i would love to try it ^^
    Thank you

    • Sure! The purple one is a rib knit. Basically knit two, purl two. You can find tutorials on purling online. The second one–the pink one–is a bit harder to describe. I kinda made it up. I can take a photo and show it easier than to describe it. But basically it is a loop across, then loop next, then loop across, loop next peg, loop across, and so on. Instead of going all in a row or criss-crossing I do a combination and it makes the twisty knit that you see. If you alternate the pattern every few rows, you get a cable type of pattern. I’ll see if I can get photos and explain better in a post.

      • I too would love a pattern for the pink scarf.

        I have a Martha Stewart loom for Christmas, and would love to attempt this pattern.

        I have subscribed to your RSS feed so i’ll get your updates.

    • Hey guys! I just posted a tutorial on that pink scarf pattern. Hope it helps!

      http://www.ingodseconomy.com/loom-knitting-braid-knit-stitch/

  2. What size loom does your little use for her AG doll? round or long? I want to pick up a couple looms for my uber-crafty 10 yr old, and want to be sure she gets ones that will work. Thanks for any info!

    • She uses the small round blue loom for hats for her doll. Then only a few pegs of it for scarves. The looms usually come as a set, so you shouldn’t have a problem. Enjoy!

  3. HELP! I love the invinity scarf you have shown on the pink long loom you have pictured. Below you mentioned the BRAID stitch. I am not able to find these instructions for this stitch. Please direct me on the where to find these instructions. This pattern would be wonderful for a bulky yarn that was given to me and I would like to make this for my grandaughter. I will be waiting to here from you. Thanks!

    • Diane, I kind of made it up one day. I’ve never done a tutorial, but let me see if I can describe it. I start at peg one and cast on all pegs until I’m back to peg one. From peg one I go across to the other side and loop, then to the next peg on that side and loop, then back across the loom and loop. Next peg, loop, then across the loom and loop. Next peg, etc. I do it the same pattern for a set number of rows, like two or three, then switch and wrap the opposite direction. From the opposite side of the loom across, then next peg, then across, then next peg, etc. I repeat this and it creates the faux braid type stitch. Does that make sense?

    • Diane, I’m sorry it took me so long, but I just posted a tutorial on how to make the braid stitch.

      http://www.ingodseconomy.com/loom-knitting-braid-knit-stitch/

  4. Sweetseeker says:

    Oh my goodness! You have yourself what I call “A Happy Accident” 😉

    Now, I have only loomed for a bit, but I have seen countless designs/techniques, but that pink loomed one in the pic is by far the prettiest I have EVER seen! Please do include me on your list when you get that tutorial going. I just can’t wait to give it a try.

    Thank you for such a wonderful contribution to looming!

  5. I would love to see a more detailed explanation of that pink faux braid stitch scarf too. I am loom knitting obsessed, and have designed many stitches, but have never seen that one before. It is lovely. Could you please, o pretty please, write a row-by-row explanaition?

    • Okay, you convinced me! I will sit down this week and try to write it out row by row and take photographs or video of each step so you can see what I mean. It will be my first time, so go easy on me! 🙂

  6. If I want to loom a throw, do I have to buy the largest loom I can find in stores?

    • Kathi, I’m sorry. I have never made one so I can’t tell you. I do have the really long loom, and I’m guessing you could use it for that if you use the pegs on the outside instead of wrapping across the loom on the inside.

  7. love both projects. thank you so much for posting them!