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Sep 21, 2015

Loom FAQs: Which Loom For What?

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When it comes to loom knitting, the most important thing is the loom itself.  And everyone has their opinion of which loom brand is the best.  My favorite looms are made by KB.  I have liked their looms long before I came to work with the company.  I use their looms for the patterns that I write because the looms are my favorite, not because KB wants me to use them.

But no matter which looms are bought by the beginner loom knitter, the questions are all the same.  What can I make on this loom?  If I want to make a certain item, which loom is best?  What yarn can use with this loom?  Do I need to 2 strands or just one?  How can you make a round hat on a loom that is not a circle?  Can I use super bulky weight yarn on a small gauge loom?  These types are questions are endless.  But they all pertain to the same subject.

So let’s discuss looms.  I think most will surprised at what you can make on and what yarn you can use with some of these looms.  And before we get started, I would like to say that all these looms are made by KB.  It is the KB blog after all…

Single Knitting vs Double Knitting:  What is the difference?

Single knitting is done on a loom with 1 row of pegs.  These looms come in various shapes.  Circles, rectangles, ovals, and straight rails.  Single knitting can be worked in the round like hats and tubes and also as flat panels like scarves and blankets.

Double knitting is done on long looms where you work the stitches across both sides at once.  These looms are called boards or rakes.  Flat panels are worked on these looms.  The resulting fabric is thicker and most stitch patterns are the same on both sides.  Stockinette will not curl when double knit since both sides are the same .

What is the difference between a loom and a knitting board?

All knitting boards or rakes are knitting looms.  Not all knitting looms are knitting boards.  Still confused?  They are all looms.  Some are just for single knit and some are for double knit.  And then there are some that you can do both.

Why do some have metal pins and some have nylon pegs?

The metal pins are on the knitting boards only.  These are only for double knitting.  Some may say you can still single knit on one side of these knitting board with metal pins.  But I will say that it is very difficult to single knit with these pins.  But if you want the challenge, go for it!

The looms with the nylon pegs are for single knitting as well as double knitting.  They have a nice little groove down the side of the peg that the tip of the loom pick can slide in to catch the loop.

Other loom manufacturers use different types of pegs.  Some are easier to work with than others.  I like the pegs that have a little knob or bump at the top so that the stitches do not come off too easily.  I don’t like the knob at the top to be too big because then it is hard to get the stitch over the top of the peg.  I also like pegs with grooves in them.  Makes it easier to pick up the loop with the loom pick.

What is Loom Gauge?

I will discuss the different peg spacing on each loom.  Loom gauge is determined by the space from the center of the peg to the center of the next peg.  I go into more detail on loom gauge and swatch/stitch gauge in the article Loom FAQs:  What Is Gauge?

*Note:  I have provided links throughout the article that will take you to the product page on the KB website of the item I am discussing.  The extras that I mention like the extra sliders, peg extenders, and connectors are not in stores and can only be purchased directly from KB.  I am not trying to sell you looms although I can see where this may come across as a sales pitch.  Most likely you already have some of these looms already.  Nobody asked me to write this particular article although I have had several ask me why I love the All-n-One loom so much.  Now let’s talk looms!

Sock Looms

KB makes 4 sock looms.  We will discuss the 3 that are adjustable.  The fourth sock loom is the Sock Loom 52 Peg which has metal pegs and the same gauge as the Sock Loom Original and is not adjustable.

What I like so much about sock looms is that they are for more than just socks.  Please do not assume you must make socks on a sock loom.  They are perfect for small projects.  And since they are adjustable, they are perfect for knitting amigurumi or stuffed animals.

sockloomefgSock Loom EFG

Love this little loom.  It has an extra fine gauge which is perfect for fingering and sock weight yarns.  Socks work up beautifully on it as well as any other pattern.  It is made with high grade plastic with elastic bands on each end instead of the bolts and screws that the other sock looms have.  Don’t let the word “plastic” or the elastic bands deceive you.  It’s a very study loom.

I can get a 17″ flat panel in stockinette using all the pegs.  How can you use all the pegs if the slider doesn’t go all the way to the end of the loom?  Well, you will need to take the end piece out and put the slider in it’s place.  Yes it can be done.

How do I replace the end piece with the slider?

First you place the slider at the middle or other end of the loom.  Then you use your fingers at the end to pull apart the loom enough that you can grab the elastic band.  You may need to use a sturdy loom pick, knitting needle, or crochet hook to grab the band.  Then you let the loom go back together and pull the band off.  Remove the end piece and replace it with the slider.  Make sure the slider is placed with the grooves in the pegs facing outward.  Replace the band.  Now you can work all the pegs in a flat panel or in the round.  Perfect size for a baby/toddler hat.

Won’t the elastic band stretch out if it’s replaced often?

Good question.  Not sure.  Good excuse to buy 2.  That is my plan.  One to use as a fixed loom with the slider at the end and the other to use as as an adjustable loom for socks and stuffed animals.  Cannot have too many looms…

What can be made?

Anything you want.  Obviously socks.  But even if you want to make something wider than approximately 17″, you can seam panels together.  Lace scarves, stuffed animals, hats, gloves, shawls…  The list goes on and on.

Peg spacing:  3/16″ extra fine gauge

Stitch gauge:  8 – 9 = 1″

Appropriate yarn weight:  fingering, sock

Peg count:  adjustable with a total of 112

sockloomSock Loom Original

This fine gauge loom still has metal pegs, not metal pins like the knitting boards.  Not sure if they will start making them with the nylon pegs.  But this is a very sturdy little loom with the wood base.  It’s KB’s first sock loom which is also the first single knit loom they sold.  It is adjustable so you can make socks in any size.  But don’t think that is the only thing you can make on this loom.  Just like the Sock Loom EFG, you can also work flat panels as well as working in the round.  You can seam panels together to make larger pieces.  Do not let the number of pegs limit the size of your project.

What can be made?

Anything you want.  Obviously socks.  But even if you want to make something larger than the peg count allows, you can seam panels together.  Lace scarves, stuffed animals, hats, gloves, shawls…  The list goes on and on.

Peg spacing:  5/16″ fine gauge

Stitch gauge:  7 stitches = 1″

Appropriate yarn weight:  sock, fingering, lace

Peg count:  adjustable with 60 pegs maximum

Sock Loom 2Sock Loom 2

This little loom I use quite a lot.  I use it to make small items with worsted weight yarn.  It has the same gauge as the All-n-One loom and is adjustable.  Wonderful to work with and easy to carry with you.  It has nylon pegs and a wood base.

Some people have taken this one apart and made a small knitting board.  No need to do that anymore once you see the new and improved 10″ Knitting Board.  Look for details next…

What can be made?

Anything you want.  Obviously socks.  Using worsted weight yarn makes wonderful slipper socks.  So comfy!  Making on some right now with this loom.  But even if you want to make something larger than the peg count allows, you can seam panels together.  Scarves, dish clothes, coasters, stuffed animals, hats, gloves, shawls…  The list goes on and on.

Peg spacing:   3/8″ small gauge  *Note:  KB lists it as regular gauge on this loom’s page but lists this gauge as small gauge everywhere else.*

Stitch gauge:  5 stitches = 1″

Appropriate yarn weight:  dk, sport, worsted

Peg count:  adjustable with 54 pegs maximum

10″ Knitting Board10" Knitting Board

Now that this knitting board has the nylon pegs and same peg spacing as the All-n-One loom, it is perfect!  It is still sold as a knitting board without 5 peg sliders or 20 peg extenders.  Those 2 things can be purchased from KB to turn this knitting board into a wonderful gem of a loom!  I already have extra sliders and the 20 pegs extenders for my All-n-One loom so I am ready to go with the new and improved 10″ knitting board.  This knitting board is not just for double knitting anymore.  You can single knit flat panels and in the round as well.  It’s fully adjustable with the extras.

Since this version is still new, the older ones with the metal pins can still be found in stores.  The sliders and peg extenders will not work on the metal pin version of this loom.

What can be made?

Anything you want.  Seeing a theme here?  You can double knit and single knit.  It’s small and portable.  Great size for double knit scarves.  Or small items.  All the things you can do on the Sock Loom 2 since they are the same gauge but so much more.

Peg spacing:  3/8″ small gauge

Board spacers:   The spacer turns to 3 settings, 1cm, 2cm and 3cm, adjusting the space between the board rails. *Note: With the 2cm spacer setting, the gauge will be the same as the 10″ Knitting Board with metal pins.*

Stitch gauge for single knit:  5 stitches = 1″ with worsted weight

Stitch gauge for double knit:  varies with spacer and yarn weight used

Appropriate yarn weight:

  • single knitting:  worsted, dk, sport
  • double knitting:  depends on the spacer setting so anything from lace to super bulky

Peg count:  24 pegs on each board for double knitting

Maximum peg count with extras:  fully adjustable up to 88 pegs with the peg extenders

Extras:   5 peg sliders and 20 peg extenders

18″ All-n-One Loom

Let’s save this loom for last…  My all time favorite loom.  Ever.  Need I say more?  Yes, I will later…

28″ Knitting Board with Peg Extenders28" Knitting Board with Peg Extenders

First of all, this is NOT a 28″ All-n-One loom.  The All-n-One is 18″ long.  The 2 should not be confused although I will say that if you buy the sliders for the 28″ loom it will do all that the All-n-One can but with 28 inches in a slightly larger gauge.

The first 28″ Knitting Board that was made came with metal pins and was for double knitting only.  The 6 peg sliders and peg extender will not work with that loom.  Now that the pegs are nylon, you can single knit on it as well, and the peg extenders make it very nice to make large projects in the round.  It has bolt holes so that the peg extenders can be placed for 4 different sizes for projects made in the round.  The sliders from the All-n-One should not be used with this loom as they are 2 different gauges.

What can be made?

Anything you want with less seaming.  Double knit or single knit, the possibilities are endless.  Great for shawls, afghans, cowls, infinity scarves, sweaters, etc.  Weaving is also an option on this loom.

Peg spacing:  7/16″ regular gauge

Board spacers:  3 adjustments for double knitting, 1cm, 2cm and 3cm   *Note: The new 28″ Knitting Board with spacer set at 2cm, has same gauge as original 28″ Knitting Board with 1/2″ spacing.*

Stitch gauge for single knit:  4 stitches = 1″ with worsted weight

Stitch gauge for double knit:  varies with spacer and yarn weight used

Appropriate yarn weight:

  • single knitting:  worsted, dk, sport, bulky (tight, thick stitches)
  • double knitting:  depends on the spacer setting so anything from lace to super bulky

Peg count:  64 on each board for double knitting with a maximum of 168 pegs for single knitting

Extras:  6 peg sliders to turn it into a fully adjustable loom

38″ Knitting Board38" Knitting Board

One of only 2 knitting boards that has not been redesigned with the nylon pegs is the 38″ knitting board.  This board is for double knitting only.

What can be made?

Afghans, shawls, sweaters, rugs, etc.  And anything else you want to make….

Pin spacing/distance between boards:  5/16″ between the pins and 1/2″, 1″, and 1-1/4″ spacer sizes

Appropriate yarn weight:  varies with spacer setting so anything from lace to super bulky

Pin count:  112 on each board totaling 224

Tadpole Knitting BoardTadpole Knitting Board

This is a great little fixed gauge knitting board that is perfect for scarves.  It has the metal pins instead of pegs.  The perfect size for your project bag so you can work on projects on the go.

What can be made?

Scarves, hot pads, dish cloths, bags, and anything else you heart desires if you are willing to seam it together.

Pin spacing:  5/16″

Appropriate yarn weight:  worsted

Pin count:  16 pins on each side totaling 32

32 Peg Loom included in Basics Kit and Skarf Kit32 Peg Loom

Love, love, LOVE this little loom!  A very nice loom to make all kinds of great projects on.  You can double knit on it and single knit flat panels and in the round.

What can be made?

The possibilities are endless as well on this little loom as well.  Scarves, bags, hats, headbands, dish cloths, mitts, small socks, etc.

Peg spacing:  7/16″ regular gauge

Stitch gauge for single knit:  4 stitches = 1″ with worsted weight

Appropriate yarn weight:  worsted and bulky

Peg count:  32

Hat LoomHat Loom

A great loom that can be configured in 4 sizes.  If you buy the extra connectors, then you can connect all the pieces in the kit to make an extra large oval so actually more than 4 sizes…  All the pieces snap together so no loose pegs or connections.  It’s so well put together that sometimes I have trouble getting it back apart!  Nothing loose or wobbly.  Those pegs snap down in there and hang on for dear life.

Just take care when assembling for small gauge.  You have to make sure that the connectors are put in the correct way.  The fixed pegs are grooved on both sides on the connectors.  For large gauge, that isn’t a problem.  But for small gauge, I recommend putting in the extra peg first then connect it to the other pieces making sure that the grooves on all the pegs are facing outward.  Otherwise you cannot get that extra peg in that hole with the groove facing outward.  Even the so-called experts had trouble with that when they first set up the loom.  I won’t name names but we know who we are….

Along with the multiple sizes, you have the option of 2 gauges which is very handy.

What can be made?

Hats of all sizes but don’t stop there!  Scarves, cowls, anything with flat panels.  Did I mention whatever you like?  Yes?  Good.  Didn’t want you to forget.

Peg spacing:  3/8″ small gauge and 3/4″ large gauge

Appropriate yarn weight:  dk, sport, worsted, bulky, and super bulky

Peg count:  ex-sm: 28/56  small: 34/68  medium: 40/80  large: 42/84

Maximum peg count with extras:  60/120

Extras:  Hat Loom Connectors

Afghan LoomAfghan Loom

This infinity afghan loom can make a flat panel up to 60″.  Some people have problems with the curves, but I can say from personal experience that the gap between the curve and the other pegs is larger than other infinity looms.  This loom is designed for single knitting although you can find information online on how to set it up so you can double knit.

What can be made?

Afghans, blankets, bedrunners, quilts, wait….  Anything large.  Also anything small.  And also anything in between.

Peg spacing:  7/16″ regular gauge

Stitch gauge:  4 stitches = 1″ with worsted weight

Appropriate yarn weight:  worsted and bulky

Peg count:  198

ZippyZippy Loom

Chunky knits are all the rage and so is instant gratification.  Another great loom for beginners and experts alike.  Everything works up very quickly with this extra large gauge loom.  Only 4 pegs??  Yes!  Each peg is larger than my thumb with a diameter of 3/4″.  Each loom is over 5″ long.  And they connect together so the number of pegs are unlimited as long as it will fit in your house.  Or just knit outside.  Just make sure it’s ok with your neighbors if you want a loom that is bigger than your yard and it sticks out into theirs…

What can be made?

Guess what?  I will say it again.  ANYTHING YOUR HEART DESIRES.  Grab some jumbo yarn and make some magic.

Peg spacing:  1.5″ extra large gauge

Stitch gauge:  1 stitch = .75″ – 1″

Appropriate yarn weight:  super bulky and jumbo, don’t forget you can use multiple strands of worsted and bulky

Peg count:  4

Maximum peg count with extras:  As long as you keep buying more Zippy looms, you can keep adding 4 pegs to your loom.  It goes on and on and on and on….

All-n-One Loom:  All the details and why I personally think this is the best loom on the marketAll-n-One Loom

Without a doubt, my absolutely favorite loom EVER is the All-n-One loom, which is often abbreviated as AIO.  When people buy one and ask What can I make on this?, my response is ANYTHING YOU WANT.

You can single knit or set it up as a board with the spacers and double knit.

It is fully adjustable so you can set it at any peg count over 14.  You can increase and decrease items that are worked in the round.  Don’t like the extra bulk at the top of a hat?  Decrease the crown!  You can adjust the size as you decrease.  I have made a hat off a needle knit pattern where I decreased down to 4 stitches.  It was tight at the end but it worked.  You want the brim to be smaller than body of hat for a baggy slouchy?  Increase after the brim.

What can be made?

You think I was being too pushy with the “you can make anything you want” with all the other looms?  Brace yourself.   With this loom, you can not only make anything you want, but you can also do all those increases and decreases while working in the round that is impossible on other looms.  Stuffed animals can be made since you can shape heads, legs and arms.  Odd sized hats are possible on this loom.  Mitts and leg warmers of all sizes can be achieved with ease.  But wait!  There’s more!  Buy an extra set of sliders, and you can make 2 socks at the same time!  Ok….  Now I am beginning to sound like an infomercial.  Seriously.  ANYTHING YOU WANT OR NEED CAN BE KNIT ON THIS LOOM.  Not big enough?  Seam those panels and pieces together.

Peg spacing:  3/8″ small gauge

Board spacers:  3 adjustments for double knitting, 1cm, 2cm and 3cm

Stitch gauge for single knit:  5 stitches = 1″ with worsted weight

Stitch gauge for double knit:  varies with spacer and yarn weight used

Appropriate yarn weight:

  • single knitting:  worsted, dk, sport
  • double knitting:  depends on the spacer setting so anything from lace to super bulky

Peg count:  48 on each board for double knitting with a total of 106 when using the 5 peg sliders for single knitting

Maximum peg count with extras:  136

Extras:  5 peg sliders and 20 peg extenders

But wait again….  I am not finished.  You can also use bulky and super bulky yarn with the AIO as well.  And achieve different gauges by just changing how you use the pegs.   You can also use these techniques on the other looms to change your gauge.  Just remember that the following numbers may be different depending on the loom.

3/4″ gauge on the AIO?

You can just skip every other peg on the AIO to achieve a large gauge of 3/4″ so you can use bulky and super bulky yarns.  Want an adult size hat using super bulky yarn?  Set the loom to 80 pegs and only use every other peg for 40 stitches.

5/8″ gauge on the AIO?  Say it’s not so!!

Yes, it’s true!  You can use 2 pegs as 1 on the AIO loom and get the same gauge as the coveted Knifty Knitter 48 peg hat loom which is 5/8″.  Just set your AIO to 96 pegs and treat 2 pegs as one so that you have cast on 48 stitches.  Or any other stitch count by doubling your peg count on the set up.

What else?

Go ahead and get saucy by using every 3rd peg for a gauge of 1-1/8″.  Or get out your inner rebel and use every 4th peg for a gauge of 1-1/2″.  Grab some jumbo yarn and have some fun.

And in conclusion….

What do you want to make?  Please don’t ask “what can I make on this loom”.  Just decide what you want to make.  You can make ANYTHING YOU WANT on ANY LOOM YOU CHOOSE.  You just need to pick the gauge of loom that best suits the item you want to make or the yarn you want to use.

While seaming panels and pieces together may be a lot of work, it opens up a whole new world for each and every loom.  Large looms are not necessary to create large pieces.  Do not let a limited number of pegs limit you and keep you from making whatever you want.

Confused about yarn weights and how many strands will achieve a heavier weight?  Check out my article Loom FAQs: What Is WPI and Yarn Weights?

Hope you are no longer confused on what can be made on each loom.  I hope I haven’t forgotten anything that gets me excited about any of these looms.  Still have another loom by a different company as your favorite?  That’s ok!  I don’t expect you to agree with me on what’s the best loom.  But for now, the All-n-One is my favorite.  Now if I had a  loom like the AIO in extra fine gauge…  Oh yes.  That’s right.  I can use the Sock Loom EFG and seam some panels…

Now go grab a loom and knit anything you want!  Happy knitting!

3 Comments

  • I have a knitting board, didn’t buy the sock loom, also have a knifty knitter loom. I have made many scarves and stocking caps on them. I haven’t tried the knitting board yet but you are inspiring me to do so. It is getting towards fall and winter so will try it then. Thanks for all your information. Love the Blog.

  • What’s up, I check your blogs daily. Your humoristic style is witty,
    keep up the good work!

  • Every time I think of some question, someone answers it. I was just having a conversation about the looms and their uses and here you are writing an article about them. I feel exactly the same way about my AIO too! Knit picks brava yarn comes in bulky (5) and I use it all the time. It’s not any thicker than any worsted weight (4).

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Aug 17, 2015

Loom FAQs: What is Copyright? Trademark?

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There are a couple of topics in all yarn arts that people fail to understand, get confused, or just flat refuse to follow.  Copyright and trademark.  Some people avoid the topics altogether.  Or have misinformation.  Exactly what is copyright?  What is a trademark?  What are the differences?  How does either affect patterns that are being written?  How does either affect translating or converting needle knit patterns to loom knit?  How does either affect sharing patterns?  What can be shared or how?  Why are there so many questions regarding this topic??  Let’s start with the definitions of each.  Then discuss how each affect loom knitting.

Copyright as defined by Dictionary.com

noun
1.  the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.
adjective
2.  of or relating to copyrights.
3.   Also, copyrighted. protected by copyright.
verb (used with object)
4.  to secure a copyright on.
Trademark as defined by Dictionary.com
noun
1.   any name, symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant in order to designate his or her goods and to distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others. A trademark is a proprietary term that is usually registered with the Patent and Trademark Office to assure its exclusive use by its owner.
2.   a distinctive mark or feature particularly characteristic of or identified with a person or thing.
verb (used with object)
3.   to stamp or otherwise place a trademark designation upon.
—–
What makes them different?
Copyright covers the written pattern, the design itself.  This doesn’t cover a basic design like the shape of a hat, sweater, scarf, etc.  It covers the design elements and the written pattern even if it’s in video form.  Everything that makes one pattern different from another.  The meaning is really in the compound word.  Copy and right.  There is no such thing as copywrite.  That is just a misspelled word.
Trademark covers names, images, logos, characters, etc.   Cartoon character hats and scarves fall under trademark for the image of the character, not copyright.

And neither copyright nor trademark is a patent.  A patent is a completely different critter altogether.  You cannot get a patent on a written pattern.

Can I share patterns?

When someone asks if they can share a pattern, my first thought is What is their definition of “share”?   Social media has made the world a much smaller place.  We are connected in ways our parents never dreamed could be possible.  We have groups on these sites that bring like-minded people together to discuss, share, ask for help, etc., on various topics.  As for loom knitting and other fiber related endeavors, we want to show off and share our creations.  And people will inevitably ask for a pattern.  Some quite rudely, unfortunately.

So can we share the pattern we used?  Depends on the method of sharing.  You can always share the link to the pattern if it is online.  Share the name of the book or magazine it came from.  You cannot share the written pattern itself.  Even if it’s free.  The other person must get that pattern in the same manner you did.

But the pattern is free so it’s ok to give and share the written copy, right?

No.  Free patterns are also covered by copyright in the same manner as paid.  Free patterns can always become paid patterns.  It is still the intellectual property of the designer or publisher that obtained the copyright.

Can I copy patterns?

You are allowed to make copies of a pattern from a book or magazine that you own or off the internet for your own personal use.  If copies are made to give away or sell, it is a violation of copyright unless you have permission from the designer/publisher.  Even when giving a class on loom knitting, you cannot give out printed patterns unless you have permission.  Or it’s your pattern.

You are not allowed to make copies from a book or magazine from the library.  These types of books and magazine are not considered resource materials.  Resource materials are the only thing you can make copies from in a library.  Resource materials include encyclopedias and other books that cannot be checked out that are located in the resource section.  If in doubt, ask the librarian.  I have seen several people on social media tell others to just go to the library and make copies out of the pattern books.  This is wrong and takes money out of the designers pockets.

Can I translate or convert patterns to loom knit and can I share them when I do?

Everyone is looking for new and more loom knitting patterns.  More and more are learning to convert needle knit patterns to loom knit.  And want to share the finished pattern with others.  But….  Unless you have permission from the designer of the original pattern, it is still a copyright violation.  Even if it’s free.  It doesn’t become your pattern just because you converted it.  But the pattern is changed more than 10% by changing every other row so it can be considered a new pattern, can’t it?   Yes it’s changed by 50 % BUT it’s still the same exact pattern.  Besides, if you are designing and writing loom knit patterns, would you want someone to convert it needles and claim it as their own?  Try putting yourself into their shoes.  It really comes down to common courtesy which actually isn’t all that common…

10% Change?

I hear a lot about the 10% or more change makes it a different pattern.  As far as I can find, that clarification is not in the actual copyright laws.  It’s just a general guideline to go by.  Usually if it’s a 10% change, it’s not close enough to be considered a copyright violation.

But this opens the door for people to take a new technique by another designer, change the stitch pattern from stockinette to rib, change the cast on and bind off, then claim it as a new design.  In my mind, it’s still WRONG.  But what’s a girl/guy to do?  Not much.  Always makes it worse when yours is a paid pattern and theirs is free.

But different countries have different laws?

Some will try to justify that they live in a different country and/or speak a different language so the copyright in another country doesn’t apply to them.  Well that isn’t true either.  Most countries honor other countries copyright laws.  And the internet in global so it isn’t like the original designer cannot find it.  If your country has copyright laws, then most likely your country honor the copyright laws of other countries, and therefore you should honor them too.

Can I make a video or ask someone else to a make a video on another person’s pattern?

I see on social media A LOT people who are asking for a video or for another person to make a video on a pattern that isn’t theirs.  I realize that a lot of people consider themselves “visual learners”.  Well here’s something to think on….  Almost ALL people are visual learners.  Very few people can just learn a new thing by reading words.  Almost all need to see how it’s done first.  Which is why there are so many pictures in how-to books…  Once the techniques are learned, that is when a person is able to read the written patterns to make items.

But what about making videos?  Same as writing out the pattern.  It cannot be done without violating copyright if the designer/publisher’s permission has not been given.  A video is just a different medium of sharing a pattern.

There are several designers that allow another person to make videos.  These people will and should acknowledge the permission given that allows them to make these videos.

What is the difference between a pattern and a stitch pattern?

A stitch pattern is the actual stitch itself, like garter, seed, and rib, just to name some common ones.  A stitch pattern does not include instructions for a finished item.  These are not protected by copyright and may be used in any pattern written.  If it’s a new stitch pattern that someone has created, it is common courtesy to acknowledge them in your pattern.  If they have made a pattern with the stitch pattern, then you cannot write a pattern that is exactly like theirs since that would fall under copyright.

A pattern is the instructions that include the stitch pattern, cast on, bind off, and all other information to actually make an item like a hat, scarf, shawl, etc.

A person is allowed to convert and share a stitch pattern without violating copyright.

But really isn’t it true nothing new is created?

I hear that a lot.  Nothing new.  Ever.  Well in a sense that is correct.  The shape of a hat.  The fact that a sweater has a neck opening and arms.  That all blankets are either a square, rectangle, or round.

But we are not limited in our imagination that prevents us from mixing different combinations of stitch patterns or techniques to create a hat, scarf, etc. that is completely different from anything that has been seen before.  New stitch patterns and techniques are thought up all the time.  This is why we keep moving forward in the creative world.

Other patterns inspire us to create something new.  Nothing wrong with taking inspiration from someone else’s pattern as long as you are not stealing their exact ideas.

And nothing keeps 2 people from independently creating the exactly same item.  The invention of the radio is a prime example.  But before you publish, make sure someone hasn’t beaten you to it by a few days or weeks.  And if you have created something but haven’t published it then someone else does the same type of item/idea, please don’t talk about how you did it first but never released it.  That just sounds petty and like sour grapes.  If you want your pattern out there before someone else does, then just do it.  Don’t use an excuse for your lack of doing something.

Can I write patterns for trademarked characters?

There are a lot of character items that are being made and sold due to the popularity of the character due to a movie or show.  While any pattern that is written would be yours, you do not have the right to use the image of a trademarked character unless you have permission from the trademark owner.  Most times they will not grant permission because it would be money they are losing on merchandising.  Large companies have been known to go after people for selling items that they make using trademarked images.  This is why a lot of people who do write patterns so not sell the patterns and claim the items made are for personal use and not be sold.  They also use the word “inspired” a lot as well so they can claim it isn’t that character.  Or just use a name that is completely unrelated to the character.

To answer this question?  No.  Technically you are not allowed to write patterns for trademarked characters or logos.  It happens a lot though….

But I have yet to see you actually site your references…

For those of you who like references, you can and should always double check what I have said or what anyone else says by going to the following websites for the official information from the government.

Copyright:  www.copyright.gov

Trademark:  www.uspto.gov/trademark/laws-regulations

Any questions?  While I sit here giggling like a loon at myself over that last question, I wish you all creative thoughts and the proper knowledge of sharing your new ideas and creations.  Happy loom knitting!!

5 Comments

  • Is there wing nut covers for the all in one loom?
    Thank You, Judy

  • Great article and thank you for writing it. I was wondering how “fan art” fits into this, I have done a few articles of clothing with trademark characters as gifts and always received the “you should sell these” comment. An example that many would recognize would be the “Jayne” style ear flap hat. I have tried to research the “fan art” for sale concept and have found very little on it other than it is a hit and miss on who does and does not allow their trademark to be sold as “fan art” or “inspired”. An example of this is this website https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2010/05/13/the-messy-world-of-fan-art-and-copyright/.

    Any further thoughts on this?

    Thanks
    H. R

  • Heather, that is a great question. Fan art does fall under trademark. If an image is trademarked, it cannot be sold in any form by an unlicensed individual. Licenses can be obtained but I am unfamiliar with the process.

    I know that Fox owns the trademark for the Jayne Hat and gets very defensive about it. Which is ironic considering how Fox felt about the Firefly show to begin with and that hat was only in 1 episode. But Fox cannot keep someone from making and selling ugly orange and yellow ear flap hats. It really is the name in that example. There is nothing “special” about the style or color of the hat. This is why so many people use the word “inspired”. But even that can get the attention of the trademark owner because they are using the trademarked name as well along with “inspired”.

    Another interesting thing is all the trademarks that are owned by the BBC that are Doctor Who related. All but the blue phone box… While the name of the TARDIS is under trademark, the BBC cannot trademark the police phone box image since it’s not their original idea. It’s free game as far as fan art goes since it is not under trademark.

    Therefore you would need to check and see if an image is trademarked. Not all of them are that would seem obvious.

    I hope this helps a bit.

    Renita

  • Hi Judy,
    They are for all the knitting looms that have the little wing nuts at the end, so yes.

  • Beautiful. Can’t wait to make this project. Please continue your monthly blog I enjoy it so much.

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Jul 20, 2015

Loom FAQs: Why Not Knots?

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I really do not like weaving in the ends or tails after my work is complete.  But.  The one thing I detest even more that in knitting is knots. Despise them. Only time I do use a knot is to secure a gathered bindoff. And it’s a square knot all the way. But even then, I leave long enough tail to weave in. I don’t use knots to join a new ball of yarn or to change colors.   I don’t even place the slip knot on the first peg. I always cut out the knots in balls of yarn and treat the ends like joining a new ball. I always weave in my ends. Or as they say in the UK, I sew them in.

But every time I say this, I get the questions: Won’t the ends come out if not knotted? How do you secure the ends by weaving them in? Why do you not use other methods of joining yarn like the Russian join?

Let’s answer some of those and other questions about how to weave in those ends.

Why?

First let me answer that most pressing of questions: Why? Well, it is a very simple answer. Knots come undone. And when the yarn ends have been clipped too close to that knot, the work unravels. I have had more than one person that said that they have never had a knot come untied. Well I am not that lucky. Learned the hard way. And with more research as I developed my craft, I learned that the professionals do not use knots either.  Another “why” is I can always feel the knot in the work.  Drives me crazy.

Why not use the slip knot on the first peg?

Won’t the cast on row unravel if the slip knot is not placed on the first peg? No,  once the work is started, it will unravel.  Then that end is woven in as well.

Then how do you start without a slip knot?  I do use a slip knot but use an anchor peg. Usually I place my slip knot on 2 pegs from my starting peg so that I will not accidently work it as the cast on when I work the first row. Then I work the cast on like normal. I take the slip knot off the peg after working the first row. If I am working in the round and have cast on that peg, then I only work the cast on stitch on my first round and remove the slip knot by carefully lifting off the top loop and replacing it after the slip knot is removed.

Why not use other methods of joining like the Russian join?

When you use a Russian join, there is a section on each side of the join that is twice as thick as the rest of the yarn that will show on the work.  I have also found that the Russian join will not work on certain yarns.

Other methods of joining that are utilized by some all have some sort of drawback as well depending on fiber, thickness, etc.

Won’t the tails come out if they are only woven in?

If the ends or tails are woven or sewn in properly, the strand is locked into place and it won’t come undone.

How do I properly weave in ends?

Different people have different methods of weaving in the ends.  But it all comes down to the same concept:  the tail is woven in on a diagonal zig zag, or in the case of the garter stitch, replicating the stitch itself.

Zig zag?

Yes, when I weave in the ends on stockinette, I weave them in on the wrong side of the work.  In order for it not to show on the right side, the end must be woven in on a diagonal.  I will demonstrate this one on the end tail.  Same method is used when joining a new ball or changing colors.  Just make sure that with the color change that the end is woven in on the same color.

So the first pass will look like this:

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Just carefully catch the purl side stitches with the tapestry needle on a diagonal.

Then you will come back down on the same diagonal along side the first pass.

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After a couple more passes, you have woven in the end.

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Now the end may be clipped.

Duplicate stitch?

This one I like to use on garter stitch.  The end is woven in duplicating the garter stitch.  I will show this one with both ends in the middle of the work where a new ball is joined.  Same method is worked for the end tails.

When joined in the middle of the row, there is a hole.

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So the ends must be crossed to close up the hole when weaving in the ends.

First cross the first end across the other and bring the tapestry needle up through the next stitch.

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Then back down following the original stitch.

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After a few stitches, start back the other direction on the row below or above.  Then repeat a couple of times.

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Then you will do the same with the other end going in the other direction.

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You can go down through 2 stitch to the next row down.

Once enough passes are done, the strand is locked into the stitches and will not come out and the rest of the tail may be cut off.

I always look to see if I can see the tapestry needle on the other side of the work when weaving in the ends.  If it can be seen, then the tail can be seen as well.  If it can’t, then the tail won’t be seen either in the stitch pattern.

I am not an expert at weaving in ends.  There are other sites that give a more detailed or various methods.  These are the ways that I weave in my ends.  Which I don’t like doing…  But hate knots even more…

Keep asking those questions!  Happy loom knitting!

 

1 Comment

  • Thanks you! This is the best & clearest explanation I’ve ever read about weaving in the ends. I also love the advise on how to start a cast on without leaving the slip knot at the edge of the fabric. That always bothered me & now I know how to remove it :)

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Jun 15, 2015

Loom FAQs: How Big? How Wide? How Long?

Loom FAQs
 

To call these next questions frequent would be an understatement.  How long do I make a scarf or shawl?  How wide is a shawl?  How long is a hat?  How wide should a brim be on a hat?  How big is a blanket?  But for beginners, these are some of the most important questions.  Let’s break it down into types of items.

 

Hats

Hats are usually the first item a person knits.  More times than not, the very first hat will be too short.  And sometimes the second will be as well.  So exactly how long should a hat be?  Does that include the brim?  How wide should the brim be?

As you have probably already guessed, the length will depend on the age of the person it is intended.  These lengths are from the bottom of the brim to the top of the head.  The brims are included in the length.

Preemie (depending on birth size):  2″ – 4.5″

Newborn:  4.5″ – 5″

Baby (up to 1 year):   5.5″ – 6.5″

Toddler (1 – 3 years):  7″

Child (3 – 10 years):  7.5″

Pre-teen:  8″

Teen:  8.5″

Adult Woman:  9″

Adult Man:  10″

Add 2″ – 3″ to create a slouchy hat.

Brim widths vary depending on personal preference.  Most are about 1″ – 2″.  If you are working a brim where you turn up the cast on edge and place it back on the loom, then you need to work the brim twice as long as you want the brim to be.  If you want to just turn up the brim, then make the hat the length for the size then add the extra for the brim.

And the question always arises as well, how many pegs?  The Hat Loom is quite easy since you only have 4 sizes to chose from.  The All-n-One is more versatile with peg counts since you can set it to any peg count.  You can find the handy peg count chart for the All-n-One by clicking here.  And always remember that your peg count will always depend on your tension, fiber type, and knit stitch of choice.

 

Scarves

Scarves should be as long as a person is tall.  But that is not always easy to do if you are making them to sell or don’t know exactly how tall someone is.  The most common length for scarves are as follows.  Please note that it is not safe for a baby, toddler, or small child to wear scarves due to strangulation hazards.

Older Child:  4′

Pre-teen/teen:  5′

Adult:  5.5′ – 6′

Width of scarves is usually a personal preference.  But the most common widths of scarves are 4″ to 6″.

 

Shawls

Length of shawls are the same as length of scarves.  In other words, as long as a person is tall.  Most people don’t like the ends of a shawl to be longer than their fingers.  Fun fact:  The length from fingertip to fingertip with your arms held out sideways is about the same as your height.

How wide should a shawl be?  That is personal preference as well.  Depends on if you want it to completely cover the back or not.  The average width of shawls is about 2′.

 

Blankets

Baby blankets are the most popular blankets to make, but knowing how big is still a frequently asked question.  Here are the standard blanket sizes.

Cuddle:  24″ square

Baby:  30″ x 36

Lapghan:  36″ x 48″

Twin:  48″ x 72″

Full:  60″ x 84″

Queen:  72″ x 92″

King:  84″ x 92″

The bed sizes are larger than actual mattress sizes so there is plenty of room to cover the person and the entire bed.

 

Now that you know what size to make things, you are most likely asking how many pegs do I cast on?  Well never fear.  I have already worked that out for you as well in my previous article What is Gauge?  Everything you need to know about calculating peg counts is in the second half of the article.  Just click here, work that swatch, and plug your numbers into the equations.  Ok.  Maybe still fear.  There will be math involved…

As always, I hope you find this helpful.  Happy loom knitting!

2 Comments

  • How do I make potholders and what type of yarn should I use?

  • Is there any way a ruffle scarf can be made using the zippy loom? I’ve attempted making it on a rectangular loom but can’t imagine how it would be done on the Zippy Loom. Since the pegs are so large with this type of loom I think it would be helpful with some of the larger fishnet skeins like Starbella.

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May 18, 2015

Loom FAQs: How much yarn?

Loom-FAQs1Another question I see often is How much yarn do I need to complete a blanket of a certain size?  Or…  I have 2 balls of yarn and will it be enough to make a scarf?  But mainly what triggered this topic is the question I asked myself after not writing down the amount of yarn I used when writing a pattern:  How much did I use??  Discovered this past week that I did that with 3 patterns I am working on.  THREE!!  Sigh…  So in the interest of helping myself, I will try to help you calculate yardage needed.  Or used…

Before we start, here is the cheat sheet to what is written in the equations.

  • When you see a lower case x in the equation, it means to multiply.
  • When you see a forward slash /, it means to divide.
  • Grab a calculator and solve!

If you use the metric system, all you need to do is just replace yards with meters, and you are good to go!

How do I calculate how much yarn BEFORE I start a project?

In order to calculate the yardage needed before you start, you will need to work a swatch.  Before starting the swatch, measure 5 yards of yarn or use a little device that measures yarn as you go and cut.  If you don’t want to cut it, place a pin or something else at the 5 yard spot.  You will then work your swatch with the stitch you are going to use in your project until you have used all of the 5 yards.  Count your stitches.  You can calculate the total by counting how many worked across and multiply that by how many rows you worked.  The equation will look like this:

(number of stitches) x (number of rows) = total number of stitches

Now you know how many stitches you worked with 5 yards of yarn.  Now you divide that by 5 to get how many stitches are in a yard.

(total number of stitches in 5 yard) / 5 yards = number of stitches in 1 yard of yarn

You can work the swatch with just 1 yard.  It will be tiny though.  Remember that you will also need to measure for gauge as well.

Now you measure how wide and tall it is just like you do when measuring gauge.  When you know how many stitches are in an inch, you can calculate the total number of stitches needed to create the size you want.  Which will also give you the number of pegs to cast on when you do start your project.

First, you will multiply the number of stitches in an inch by the total inches for the width.

(number of stitches in an inch) x (total number of inches wide) = total number of stitches across

Second, you will multiply the number of rows by the total inches in the length desired.

(number of rows in an inch) x (total number of inches long) = total number of rows long

Third, multiply the 2 previous answers together to get the total number of stitches in your finished item.

(total number of stitches wide) x (total number of rows) = total number of stitches in the project

You will now divide the total number of stitches by the number of stitches in a yard to get how many yards you will need to work this item.

(total number of stitches) / (number of stitches per yard) = total yards of yarn

If you need help with gauge in general, you can reference my previous article on gauge by clicking here.

How do I calculate how much yarn I used AFTER I completed a project?

If you have the item on hand, you will just need to weight the item and do some simple calculations.

I use a postal scale to weight my items.  You can also use a food scale or other scales that weight small amounts.

First you need to know how much your yarn weights per yard.  The amount is usually so small that you cannot just weight a yard of yarn.  You will either need to weight 5 yards and then divide by 5 or you can just get a rough calculation from the skein of yarn itself.

If you still have the band or label from the yarn, there are 2 key pieces of information that will help you in this.  The weight of the skein or ball and the yardage in that skein or ball.  All you will do is this:

(Weight in grams or ounces) / (amount in yards) = how much a yard weighs in grams or ounces

Now that you know how much a yard of the yarn you used weighs, you then weight your completed item and divide the total weight of the item by how much a yard of the yarn weighs.  Which is this:

(Weight of item) / (weight of a yard of yarn) = how many yards you used

If you don’t have the item but needing the yardage because you are writing a pattern and forgot to write it down before shipping it off because your name is Renita and you are forgetful, you will need to use the same method as calculating before starting a project.

Or you can just calculate how much yarn you have left over using the method of weighing the yarn left over and subtract it from the total number of yard in the skein.  If you used more than one skein or ball, just add the total used before the partial skein by adding the total yards in each skein based off of the yards listed on the label then add the yards used in the partial skein to get the total yards.

Well that was deep and about as clear as mud.  If we are lucky, all the math has been covered now.  Maybe…

Questions lead to answers which is knowledge.  Knowledge is power.  So be powerful!  Keep asking questions and keep on loom knitting!

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Apr 24, 2015

A Fledgling Knitter: Assumptions, Thoughts, and Lessons

In the month since my last post, I have done a lot of different things with loom knitting. I have learned to match my needle gauge with my loom gauge, I have written a pattern, and I have been humbled by busting through a few of my assumptions about the projects that are possible on the loom.

First off, I have played around a little bit with the different gauges I can create when knitting on the loom. Step one, back to basics: I needed to learn the difference between a true knit stitch and simply a loop over stitch. I thought I knew all about that (plays into the assumptions I need to learn not to have), and was simply hooking my bottom loops over the yarn on the pegs. I think this is because I used to do spool knitting when I was a child and that’s kind of what I remembered about how it worked… well, apparently I didn’t remember as much as I thought. I was not picking up the loop underneath with the tool and then removing the previous loop to replace it with my new loop. This meant that I was having some really painfully tight swatches that were disheartening and frustrating. Well, if I had just read the directions I would have realized I wasn’t doing a true knit stitch. I didn’t take a photo of this stage because I was so frustrated that I just ripped the whole thing out! After switching to real knit stitches (insert hook under the bottom loop, pick up the top loop and remove both from the peg, replacing the new loop on the peg), what a difference! It still looked tight to me on the loom, but I think that was because I was expecting it to look the same as it does on needles, which it wouldn’t until it’s removed from the loom.

Adrian 1

This little mistake/learning opportunity led to my second lesson of the month. After this realization, I took the time to do some comparison gauge swatches to calibrate my own opinion about the capabilities of the loom. I am so glad I did this. I will admit: I originally assumed that the only projects that were possible on the loom were large bulky projects. I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that this simply isn’t true. For those of you that don’t needle knit, this part might be boring, but for others… I learned that I have a whole new range of projects that I can expect to be able to work on the loom! With a little effort I can convert lots of needle-knitting patterns to loom patterns!

To try and match my needle gauge to my loom gauge, I did two swatches to match the loom to the needles. For this I was working on the 18” All-in-One loom with dk weight, single-ply yarn. Since this creates a standard gauge, I needed to do the loom swatch first and then find a needle size to match. Each yarn and each pattern act a little differently, but since I had no real idea what gauge the loom is spitting out and I still think in terms of needle sizes, I wanted a comparison. One great thing I noticed is the even quality and neat stitches that are possible with the loom. (Note: these swatches have not been blocked, so they look a little sad) Because you are only working from the knit side doing the stockinette stitch, this keeps the stitches very even. When working on the needles, because I was working back and forth in stockinette, the rows that I was purling have stitches ever so slightly looser, creating a less even fabric. I’m confident this would even out with blocking, but it’s a good comparison of the types of stitches that are possible on the loom. (The photo on the left, from the loom, has e-wrap stitches at the bottom before the knit stitches start.)

Adrian 2

Finally for this month, I decided to jump in with both feet and write a loom knitting pattern. My dear friend Isela helped teach me how to convert a pattern into loom knitting terms. Although increases and decreases are not as easy to do on a loom; that certainly doesn’t mean you have to avoid shaped items! The chubby bunny was born last month and I think he came out quite cute. I tried to avoid all increases and decreases as much as possible and instead used sewing methods and cinching methods to turn simple straightforward panels into a round, plump, loving bunny! I would love to hear your feedback on my first pattern. ? This can be found under the free patterns tab.

Once again, I found all sorts of new lessons while adventuring into loom knitting. Thanks for reading! I am now starting my first fully loom knitted item with a purpose, so I will hopefully have that finished for you next month. I’ll keep it a secret until it’s done. Stay tuned!

1 Comment

  • I loved reading your article! I too had the same assumptions. Thanks for clarifying those assumptions. Now I have a newfound excitement for trying out some other loom projects!

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Apr 20, 2015

Loom FAQs: To Slip or Not To Slip? That is the Frequently Asked Question.

Loom-FAQs1

 

Edges.  That topic seems to be recurring.  How do I get a nice edge all the way around?  Why does the edge on one side look different than the other side?  How do I get my cast on, bind off, and side edges all the same?  What does it mean to slip the stitch?  Why do some patterns say skip instead of slip?  Why is it all so confusing??  Well that last one goes with every topic…  Let’s try to take the confusion out of the topic of edges on flat panels.

Whether you are making a blanket, a dishcloth, a hand towel, a scarf, or any other flat panel in single knit, you will have 4 edges.  Well, unless you are working a triangle…  Or a circle…  Or a pentagon…  Or any other geometric shape…  Moving on.  The first edge is the cast on edge.  The last edge is the bind off edge.  Matching those 2 edges are hard enough.  But then there are those 2 other pesky side edges.

Some people do not care if they don’t match.  I am not one of those people.  And I know I am not alone in this.  I like all 4 edges to have a nice crochet chain look to it.  And that is very easy to accomplish without knowing how to crochet.  It is all in the techniques you use.

How do I match my cast on and bind off?

A lot of people have trouble with this so there is no need to feel like the only one.  Not only do you need to find a cast on and bind off that matches, it also takes patience and learning to control your tension.

I like using the chain cast on and the basic bind off.  They both give a nice crochet chain along the edge.  The crochet bind off will also give you a chain edge but is harder to control your tension.

What is a provisional cast on?

Sometimes you will come across a pattern that will use a provisional cast on to provide matching ends.  This is a cast on that uses waste yarn.  Then after casting on with waste yarn and working a couple of rows, you change to the yarn specified for the project.  After the bind off, you then pull out the waste yarn and put the project back on the loom and bind off that edge.

Basically you are binding off ends so that they match exactly the same.  This is one way of getting around matching your cast on and bind off.  It does create extra work.  I prefer to just use the chain cast on and basic bind off since I have learned how to control my tension for both.

How do I use my tension to make them match?

When casting on, I have learned that I need to pull on the working yarn with the chain cast on to get it tight enough.  While most people I hear talk about their knitting, their knitting is too tight but their cast on is usually too loose.

When casting on, pull the working yarn so that each chain is tight.  It will make that first row harder to knit off but will make the cast on look nicer and not loopy.

11160294_10205888530067491_797192069_n

You can see how I work the chain cast on by clicking here.    I also demonstrate the crochet cast on and compare the two.  I discuss first learning the chain cast on and how it was called the crochet cast on so that is what I called it for years before realizing that the method I was using is most commonly called the chain cast on.  Hopefully I can clear up some questions regarding that as well.

 

Now for the bind off.  Most people bind off too tightly causing the bind off edge to draw in more than the work itself.  And if the cast on is too loose, then you have an odd looking square.  This is why I like the basic bind off better than the crochet bind off.  The end effect is the same, but it is easier to control your tension with the basic bind off.

Keeping your tension loose when binding off can be tricky, but it’s not that hard.  When you bind off using the basic bind off, you will need to work each stitch so that the loops are larger than normal to the point you will think it is too loose and will not look nice.  Just knit each stitch and pull the loop larger than usual when you move the loop over the previous stitch to bind it off.  Then place that larger loop back on the empty peg next to the next live stitch and continue.

You can see how I work the basic bind off by clicking here.    I also demonstrate the crochet bind off as well and compare the two.

With patience and practice, you will be matching your cast on and bind off in no time.  Now let’s talk sides….

 

 

Why do I need to slip a stitch?

You can just work each row with the written stitch all the way to the end of the row from the beginning.

Your edge will look like this for stockinette.

 

 

 

 

11127668_10205888528947463_1802493741_n

And this for garter

 

 

 

 

But if you are wanting that nice chain edge to match your cast on and bind off, then you will need to slip that first stitch.

11156987_10205888529907487_1347446952_nWhen you slip the first stitch, you create a chain on the edge because that stitch or loop that was skipped will be carried up the edge of the work.  Each chain covers the edge of 2 rows.  You can count your rows easily by counting the chains on the edge then multiplying by 2 to get the number of rows you have worked.

 

 

What is slipping a stitch?

To slip a stitch is simply to skip it.  This is why some loom knit designers just say skip instead of slip.

Slip is a needle knit term and is more applicable when done on needles since you literally slip that stitch from the first needle over to the other needle without working it.

On a loom, you don’t slip it over to anywhere since each peg on the loom holds a stitch.  You just skip it.

To keep consistency with needle terms, several loom knit designers use slip instead of skip.

How do I slip a stitch?

Just skip that peg altogether.  If it’s in the middle of the work, you will bring the working yarn behind that peg and just work the next stitch unless the pattern indicates to carry the working yarn to the front of the peg.  For the edge, you will just start on peg 2 instead of working peg 1.  Make sure the working yarn does not come in front of peg 1 unless the pattern specifies to do that.

Why does one side edge look different than the other?

Sometimes the side edges do not match.  Especially when working the garter stitch.  There is a simple reason and fix to this problem.

When working any stitch pattern that involves a purl stitch at the end of the row, the edge will not match the edge that has a row ending in a knit.  Any time you are working a flat panel and are slipping the first stitch of each row to create the chain edge, you will need to always knit the last stitch of every row.  Since garter stitch is the most commonly used flat panel stitch that involves purls, I will use it to explain.

11158105_10205888529547478_22388986_n

 

This is the side where the knit row ends and the purl row begins after slipping the first stitch.

 

 

 

11158143_10205888529387474_841447213_n

This is the side where the purl row ends and the knit row begins when you slip the stitch after purling the last stitch.

 

 

Garter stitch for a flat panel with any number of stitches is as follows:

Row 1:  Knit all

Row 2:  Purl all

Repeat rows 1 – 2

Now let’s make them match.

11156987_10205888529907487_1347446952_n

This is the side where the purl row ends and the knit row begins when you slip the stitch after knitting the last stitch of the purl row.

 

 

 

11158105_10205888529547478_22388986_n

 

And again, this is the side where the knit row ends and the purl row begins after slipping the first stitch.

 

 

 

Since you want to slip the first stitch of every row, you will need to knit the last stich of every row as well, even on the purl rows.  Therefore, the garter stitch for any number of stitches will now read like this:

Row 1:  Slip 1, Knit all

Row 2:  Slip 1, Purl all except last stitch, Knit last stitch

Repeat rows 1 – 2

By knitting the last stitch on every row, both side edges will be almost the same and will match the chain cast on and basic bind off.  

So why do they still not match exactly?  This is due to the twist you have when you slip the first stitch then purl the second.

11156987_10205888529907487_1347446952_nYou can knit the second stitch on the purl row so it will look like this on both sides.   This will make all 4 sides match exactly.

 

 

 

11158105_10205888529547478_22388986_nOr you can e-wrap knit the last stitch on the purl row before slipping the first stitch on the knit row for the edge to look like this.  Then each side has a twisted chain edge that is just a little different than the cast on and bind off edges.

 

 

 

As I said previously, it takes patience and practice controlling the tension to get a matching cast on and bind off.  But it is worth the effort.  And when combined with slipping that first stitch, you will get a lovely chain edge on all four sides of your flat panel project.

I hope this helps take the confusion out of matching the edges.  Happy loom knitting!

 

 

 

8 Comments

  • That makes so much sense when you explain it! Lol I am soooo happy I found this site. I look here before I even have my morning coffee everday ! Lollol

  • Very well explained, Renita! :)

  • This is most helpful and very well explained. Thank you!

  • Excellent! Don’t forget to adjust pattern by 2 stitches when you start each row with a slip or so I have found. Probably an easier way but still learning. Thank you I forget the knit at the beginning of the pearl.

  • I had a question on the slipped side edge of let’s say a scarf for example. If the written patten for row 1 reads: k2, p2 to slip the first stitch it would be worked as: sl1, k1, p2? Also if the pattern reads cast on 16, would I cast on 17 to allow for the slipped first stitch? Thank you for answering my question.

  • Thanks. That is the most concise and understandable explanations I have read.

  • I’ve bean searching for this information for years ! Well explain and thank you

  • CindyB, Sorry about just seeing your question now. But yes it is how you wrote but if you are adding stitches, you will need to add 2, not 1, one for each side. You will just add the s1 to the beginning of the row and k1 at the end of the row. It’s not necessary to add the stitches in most cases.

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Mar 20, 2015

A Fledgling Knitter: Loom Knitting 101

Hello everyone! My name is Adrian. My dear friend Isela recently introduced me to loom knitting, and we thought it could be useful, educational, and probably pretty entertaining for me to document and share my learning curve along the way. Over the next few months you will be hearing from me about the hiccups, the troubles, the funny stories, and the lessons (life or knitting) that crop up. I’ll try to keep the inspirational quotes to a minimum, but when the mood strikes…!

I’ll give you a tiny introduction before I tell you about my first day on a knitting loom. I have been crafting of some sort since I was a child. I grew up in a very crafty environment in a family of people whose hands were always busy. My father’s family are long-standing “mountain people” who are never idle while we sit and “visit.” So, it was extremely common to always have something in my hands to work on or play with while talking, riding in the car, watching tv, or just intentionally sitting and crafting together on a rainy afternoon. I learned to crochet from my Aunt Jane when very young, and did loads and loads of cross-stitch over the years. My mother is a phenomenally talented and world-renowned hand weaver and seamstress with a lovely home studio where I was lucky enough to receive all sorts of “lessons”. Needless to say, there has been fiber and yarn around me my entire life. It was always easy to find some sort of project around to keep me busy. However, despite all of this, I have never tried my hand at loom knitting, so here we are!

Step 1: open loom. I picked the 10” Knitting board to play with first. It’s small enough to take with me places, or just hold in my lap while watching tv. Rather than immediately jump into a specific project, I just thought I would play around with a loom to see what it felt like and get comfortable with all the pieces. I’ll be really honest with you guys here… My ego got knocked down a peg right away. Not because this is an overly complicated process, but because I was a bit too arrogant and thought I knew what I was doing without really, fully reading the directions. Well that wasn’t the best choice. Just because I’ve done other crafts doesn’t exempt me from reading the very straight-forward, helpful instructions, haha! I know, we all learn that in kindergarten, but sometimes we all need a reminder. So, lesson #1… don’t forget the anchor yarn. This is what happens when you think you don’t need it:

Loopy mess

Loops everywhere! No way to straighten it out! Eep! The anchor yarn is really important to be able to pull the knitting down through the center and even out all the stitches. So I pulled it out to start again.

After casting on again, with an anchor yarn this time, and tugging gently down on the anchor yarn between rows, everything looks much better! Yes, I know this is basic… but really… sometimes those are the easiest things to screw up.

Doing better

I continued knitting in plain stockinette all the way around for a few more rounds. I started to see as my knitting got long enough to extend below the loom that something wasn’t right! My bottom edge was longer and looser on one side than the other.

 

Uhoh

Luckily, with this situation I found an answer on the frequently asked questions from Kblooms.com: “This happens when the end stitches are larger at one end from the other. This is very easy to correct. When you hook your stitches over, be sure to work from one end towards the center of the knitting, and then change to the other end and knit towards the center. Be sure to loop over all the stitches. Do the same thing to the other board. Be sure to vary the spot that you change direction so that you do not create loose stitches in center. The center does not need to be exact so vary it with each new row.”

After reading that, I kept going with another dozen or so rows, changing each time where I started moving my loops and everything sorted out quite nicely. After changing my method for the next rows, I now can’t even tell which side was too long. I decided that after this initial “testing” of loom knitting, I want to now get cracking on a project that I will want to keep… but that will be the next post.

All around, I’m pretty pleased with my first foray into loom knitting! The first row or two were hard for me, but I very quickly picked up a rhythm for my hand, and comfort with the board, and a better understanding of how knitting itself works, particularly knitting double layer fabric like I was here. On to bigger and better adventures/projects/lessons in the next post!

3 Comments

  • Welcome! I’m bookmarking this post of yours so I can give it to a few people :) Thank you for sharing your experiences, and happy looming!

  • welcome to club,

  • Hi Adrian,
    Welcome to the wonderful world of looming. Lucky you to have such a good friend to help you along. I remember my first experiences over 9 years ago and can laugh about them now. All I had was a board my husband made and few instructions. The figure 8 was all I knew! Can’t wait to read more of your learning experiences. Thanks for sharing with all us.
    Sue

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Mar 16, 2015

Loom FAQS: What is WPI and Yarn Weights?

Loom-FAQs1

 

The one thing all yarn arts have in common is the yarn itself.  And what a variety of yarn there is!  All the different weights or thicknesses of yarn can be overwhelming.  It can be confusing as to what can be made with certain weight yarns if you have never used it before.  Questions always abound when it comes to yarn weights.  What is yarn weight?  Which weight yarn do I use?  How many strands do I use to equal a heavier weight?  Is 4ply and worsted the same?  What in the world is WPI???

Let’s start at the beginning.

What is yarn weight?

Well first of all, yarn weight has nothing to do with the net weight of the hank, skein, or ball of yarn.  It has nothing to do with the yardage either.  When yarn weight is discussed, it is referring to the thickness or diameter of the yarn.

Here in the USA, yarn is labeled by a number system to differentiate between the different thicknesses of yarn although there are other terms or common names associated with those weights as well.  The yarn weight can be found on the label of the yarn.  It is a symbol of a yarn skein or ball with a number on the label like this one.

images

Not all yarns will have this since it depends on where the company is actually located.

Yarn weight is actually determined by the wraps per inch or WPI instead of the actual diameter of the yarn.

What is WPI?

WPI stands for Wraps Per Inch.  You can easily determine the weight of “mystery” yarn you have in your stash that has lost its label, handspun yarn you either spun yourself or bought, or mill ends by counting how many wraps are in an inch.  There are different ways you can do this.  You can buy a WPI tool or just use a pencil and use a ruler to measure.  Or you can just use the ruler to wrap the yarn and measure at the same time.

The WPI tool is a very neat tool that has the inches marked on the round stem with a notch at the end to hold the yarn so you can wrap the stem.  It usually comes with a card that has the instructions on one side and the yarn weights with WPI on the other.  Very handy but not necessary.

You can use a pencil or pen to do the same thing.  Then measure and count the wraps in an inch by using a ruler.  In the picture below, I wrapped more than an inch and started counting from the second wrap until I reached the 1″ mark.  There are 9 wraps in an inch.

11074301_10205632486226555_2094561041_n

You can also just use a ruler to wrap the yarn around.  The problem with this method is the possibility of twisting the yarn while wrapping which will stretch it so care is needed when using just a ruler.  I would recommend starting at the 1″ mark and wrapping to the 2″ mark on the ruler instead of starting at the end of the ruler.  If you start at the end, it is harder to keep the end wraps from falling off the ruler.  As you can see below, it is harder to read the marks on the ruler when the yarn is wrapped on it instead of a pencil.  There are 6 wraps in an inch.

WPI on Ruler

When you wrap the pencil or ruler, you need to make sure the yarn is not pulled tight or pushed together.  It needs to be relaxed.  You just roll the pencil or turn the ruler to wind the yarn on whichever you are using.  Rolling instead of just wrapping will keep the yarn from being twisted which will cause the yarn to pull tighter and be thinner than it actually is.  Do not pull on the yarn at all.  Tension will stretch the yarn and cause it to be thinner than it is.  Let each wrap rest next to the previous wrap without being pushed together.  If the yarn has a halo, like mohair, you will need to give the yarn more room between wraps for the “fuzzy” hairs to expand.  This is why mohair yarn always has a heavier weight than it would appear to be.  It is not measured by just the diameter of the yarn but also how far the halo extends as well.

Count the number of times the yarn is wrapped around for 1 inch.  Some instructions will say to wrap 2 inches, count the wraps, and divide by 2.  This is not necessary unless you are measuring yarn with “character” like a thick and thin yarn.  Then you would need to wrap 3 inches and divide by 3 to get a good count.

The number counted in 1 inch is the WPI.  Then compare that number to the chart below to find your yarn weight.

 

What are the different weights of yarn available?

Since the new weight classification has been added, there are now 8 different categories in the USA yarn weight system.  Some of the common names overlap depending on location and how it was taught.  Please note that some people will include aran as a bulky weight yarn.  While it is thicker than worsted, aran is still included in the medium weight category due to it’s WPI.  Also, Caron Simply Soft and Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable are considered medium weight as well even though both are thinner which can make the entire medium weight category confusing for some people.

Weight #                          Common Name                                       WPI

0 – lace                           Cobweb/Thread/Lace/Sock                  23 and greater

1 – super fine                  Lace/Sock/Fingering                              19 – 22

2 – fine                            Baby/Sport/Lace                                    15 – 18

3 – light                           Sport/DK/Baby                                        12 – 14

4 – medium.                    Worsted/Aran                                           9 – 11

5 – bulky                          Bulky                                                        7 – 8

6 – super bulky.               Super Bulky                                              5 – 6

7 – jumbo                         Jumbo                                                      4 and less

 

Why are the weights different other places?

Not all countries use the same names for yarn weights.  It can sometimes get confusing since the internet makes the world smaller.  There are pattern writers all over the world that use the yarn classifications of their country.  I have bought yarn from the UK on several occasions.  You will need to know what the names of the yarn weights are so you can buy the correct yarn.  For example, 4 ply is NOT 4 weight yarn.  It is a lot thinner.  Yarn weight is not determined by the number of plies.  And that leads us to our next question…

 

What are the yarn weight equivalents between the USA and UK?

USA Weight                  UK Term

0 – lace                            1 – 3 ply

1 – super fine                  4 ply

2 – fine                             5 ply

3 -light                             DK/8 ply

4 – medium                     Aran/10 ply

5 – bulky                          Chunky/12 ply

6 – super bulky              Super Chunky

7 – jumbo                        unknown

 

What weight yarn do I use with certain looms?

A lot of times, the weight of yarn you use with certain looms will depend on the stitch pattern or the way you want the finished project to look.  Each person has their own idea of what is too tight or too loose.  Tension is a factor as well since each person’s tension is different.  It is sometimes hard to say what weight yarn is best for each gauge loom, but it can be helpful to have a starting place until you learn which is best for you.  If you are unsure what gauge loom you have, you can learn more about gauge here.

Extra fine gauge – lace/super fine

Fine gauge – super fine/fine/light

Small gauge – light/medium

Regular gauge – light/medium/bulky

Large gauge – bulky/super bulky/jumbo

Extra large gauge – super bulky/jumbo

 

How many strands will equal a heavier weight?

Needing a heavier weight yarn than you have in your stash?  All you need to do is use more than 1 strand.  But how many strands will equal what you need?

If you use 2 strands of yarn, it will be equivalent to the next heavier weight.  So if you have a 4 weight yarn and need a 5 weight yarn, use 2 strands together as 1.

Here is an easy way to see what you need:

2 strands of 1 weight = 1 strand of 2 weight

2 strands of 2 weight = 1 strand of 3 weight

2 strands of 3 weight = 1 strand of 4 weight

2 strands of 4 weight = 1 strand of 5 weight

2 strands of 5 weight = 1 strand of 6 weight

2 strands of 6 weight = 1 strand of 7 weight

But what if I only have 4 weight and need a 6 weight?  Since 2 strands of 4 weight equals 1 strand of 5 weight and 2 strands of 5 weight equals 1 strand of 6 weight, then 4 strands of 4 weight will equal 1 strand of 6.  3 strands of 4 weight will be a heavier 5 or a lighter 6 weight yarn.

Hopefully this will help in trying to decide which yarn weights are best for which looms and for finding out what weight that mystery yarn is that keeps getting pushed aside.

Keep asking questions!  Questions lead to answers, and answers lead to knowledge.

5 Comments

  • Even after reading this I’m still very confused I use number 4 all the time unless the materials are given to me and for the gauge how to tell I still don’t understand

  • I’m doing the Mystic Shawl out of the Knitting Board Basics book. Its done in open braid stitch. On the back piece the last 8 rows has to be decreased. It says to maintain open braid pattern as you decrease. How do you do that? Thanks in advance!

  • I am not understanding your question, Tracey. Are you needing to find the gauge of your loom? I wrote an article about loom gauge and swatch gauge earlier. I put a link in this article that will take you to that one. You can just use more than 1 strand of 4 weight yarn on the plastic large gauge looms.

  • Two of the headbands call for cdd after you have moved the yarn to different pegs
    What is cdd. If I read it right, you do something on one peg that has 2 loops?
    Thank you for your help

  • It stands for central double decrease. Move loop from peg 1 to 2. Knit peg 2. Move loop from peg 3 to 2, lift bottom loop over.

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Feb 16, 2015

Loom FAQs: How do I convert?

Loom-FAQs1When looking through all the questions regarding loom knitting, there are always several different questions pertaining to patterns that are not loom knit.  Can I use knit patterns for needles on the loom?  How do I convert a needle pattern to the loom?  How can this crochet pattern be made on a loom?  And usually a lot of begging and pleading for someone to PLEASE convert this for good of loomers everywhere…

How do I convert this crochet pattern to the loom?

That one is easy because crochet cannot be converted (sometimes called translated) to knit.  At all.  While there is a site that tells you how many rows of knit equal the height of crochet stitches, you cannot convert crochet to knit.  They are 2 completely different methods.

A person can always create a pattern replicating a crochet design, but it will look different due to the different and unique natures of each art.  With knitting, you have same number of live stitches as the project is wide.  So if a project is 30 stitches wide, you will have 30 live stitches or loops.  In traditional crochet, no matter how wide the project, you will only have 1 live stitch.  This changes how the projects in each are worked making them completely different.  Also the stitches are completely different as well.

Now that that FAQ is out of the way, let’s move on to needle knit patterns…

Can all needle patterns be converted to loom knit?

Theoretically all needles knit patterns can be worked on looms.  But some of the more complicated stitches are extremely difficult to work on looms due to the restriction caused by the distance between pegs.  In other words, when required to move stitches around when working larger cables for instance, the stitches just cannot reach that far.

Also loom size and gauges of looms may restrict us in what we can make from needle knit patterns.  Some looms may not have enough pegs, or the looms do not come in the proper gauge for certain patterns.

How do I convert needle knit patterns?

Other than the obvious (which is the tool used to knit), the main difference between needle knitting and loom knitting is the side of the work that is facing us when working a flat panel.

When knitting with needles, the person only works in one direction.  So a right handed person will usually work from right to left.  The work is then turned at the end of the row, and the next row is worked from right to left again.  So every other row has the wrong side facing the knitter.

With loom knitting, the right side of the work is always facing us.  The work is never turned like in needle knitting.  We work in both directions on flat panels and not just in one direction each time.

Patterns are written 2 ways: in the round (circular) and flat panels.  Hats are an example of circular knitting, and scarves are an example of flat panels.  First thing you need to do is determine which type of pattern it is.

Flat panel patterns

When converting a flat panel pattern or stitch pattern to loom knit, you will first need to know which rows are the wrong side.  Most times, it will be the even rows.  Most patterns will tell you which is the wrong side rows.  Those are the rows that will need to be changed.  You will leave the right side rows exactly like they are written.

You will then change the stitch to the opposite stitch on the wrong side rows.  So knits will become purls and purl will become knits.

You will also need to achieve gauge which I will talk about in a bit.

Circular or in the round patterns

One thing to look for to determine if a pattern is written in the round is the type of needles used.  If circular or double point needles are used, then it is most likely a circular pattern.  Next read the cast on row.  If it says to join the cast on without twisting the stitches, then it is definitely a circular pattern.

The wonderful thing about these patterns is that you do not need to convert them at all.  Since they are circular or in the round, they are worked just like we work items on the loom.  The right side is always facing us.  The work is never turned.   Therefore, the only thing you need to do is achieve gauge.  If gauge is achieved, then just work as written.  More on that later.

What is a stitch pattern?

A stitch pattern is just for the stitch itself.  Each pattern uses a certain stitch.  The stitch pattern is just the instructions for that stitch.  While there are a lot of stitch patterns that have been converted or translated for the loom, there are still lots more out there for us to convert from needles to loom.  Bethany Dailey has been sharing some wonderful stitch patterns with us in her Stitchology segments.  Be sure and check those out if you haven’t been reading her articles already.

Stitch patterns are written to cast on a certain number of stitches as a multiple of the stitch + an extra number.  For instance, double ribbing for a flat panel would listed as multiple of 4 + 2.  In other words, (knit 2, purl 2) is 4.  You would then multiple that by however many repeats you need to get the width desired.  Then add 2 for the 2 extra knits at the other end.

To convert a stitch pattern, just follow the same instruction for a flat panel.

If you want to use the stitch pattern in the round, you will leave off the added stitches after the +.  In the example of double ribbing, it will just be a multiple of 4.

Achieving Gauge

Make a swatch on the loom that has the number of pegs for the number of stitches and see if the gauge is the same that is required for the pattern.

If it matches, then just work it as you have converted for flat panels or as written for circular.

If not, then you will need to make adjustments for the number of stitches you will need to cast on.  You can refer to my previous article on gauge and how to calculate peg count, just click here.

You will need to keep in mind that if there are increases or decreases while working in the round, you will need a loom that will adjust to the stitch count you will need for that round, like the All-n-One loom.

Needle gauge equivalents to loom gauge

Here is a rough idea of what gauge knitting needles are equivalent to loom gauges.  So when a pattern calls for certain size or gauge needles, you will know what gauge loom to try.  This information was kindly provided to me by Isela Phelps a few years ago.  Please remember this is a rough equivalent.

Needle size (mm size)       Loom gauge (center to center peg spacing)

2 – 3 (2 3/4 – 3 1/4)                    extra fine (3/16″)

4 – 5  (3 1/2 – 3 3/4)                   fine (1/4”, 5/16”)

6 – 7  (4 – 4 1/2)                          small (3/8″)

8 – 9 (5 – 5 1/2)                           regular (7/16”, 1/2”, 9/16”)

10 – 11 (6 – 8 )                              large ( 5/8”, 11/16”, 3/4)

13 (9)                                            extra large (13/16″, 1″)

If you need instruction on measuring the center to center peg spacing on looms, please refer to my article on gauge by clicking here.

I hope this helps answer your questions on converting or translating needle knit patterns to loom knit.  Happy loom knitting!

3 Comments

  • thanks Renita! This information is really useful. I especially like the needle / peg comparison.

  • Hi Sue & everyone,

    I hope I have the right blog to post this time. I’m trying again. Please clarify:

    # of stitches on Loom – I’m using AIO Loom to make Socks

    Foot Circus = 12.5 , gauge =7 , 12.5 x 7 = 87.5 87.5(0.85) = 74.3 I rounded off to 74 pegs

    Heel & Toe = 37 pegs. Are these # of pegs correct?

    Thanx,
    Deana

  • Another great source of patterns would be machine knit patterns. Any stitch that can be done on a knitting machine can be done on a knitting loom. The basics between the two are really the same. There are thousands of knitting machine patterns available. ????

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Jan 19, 2015

Loom FAQs: What is Felting?

Loom-FAQs1

Here’s another Frequently Asked Question that I see over and over.  What is felting?  Or How do I felt my project?  Or even Why would I need to felt?  So let’s just start at the very beginning with the “what” then go on to the “how”.  We will even cover the “why”.

What is felting?

Felting is a method of shrinking the fibers in the yarn after a project is finished so that the stitches sort of melt together and make a nice solid, thick, dense fabric.  Ever had a helpful spouse or child put a wool or, heaven forbid!, a cashmere sweater in the washer by accident and have it come out 3 sizes too small?  They successfully (if unintentionally) felted your sweater.  And probably felted your wrath as well…

You may see some people refer to this process as fulling or being fulled.  It is the same thing.  At one time, fulling was the process that produced the felted material.  But these days, the words have merged, and felting has become the dominate term.

Why would I want to felt a project?

Felting makes sturdy bags, warm hats, wonderful mittens, and comfy slippers.  Also felted diaper covers have a wonderful waterproof, yet still breathable, property that mothers using cloth diapers prefer.

What fibers can I felt?

Animal fibers are the only fibers that will felt.  No cotton, silk, linen, acrylic, etc.  And there are a variety of animal fibers to choose from.  But please note that if the label says it is superwash, then it will not felt.  Superwash wool has been treated so it can be machine washed.  Therefore it will not felt.

Wool from sheep is the most commonly used animal fiber for felting.  Other animals fibers that felt well are cashmere, alpaca, llama, camel, mohair, yak, bison, and angora.  I will say that angora will shed something fierce due to the guard hairs.  The different fibers will felt a little differently so you may want to test the fiber by felting a swatch first before using it in a project.

The preferable percentage of animal fiber is 100% .  While some will say you can felt 80% or above, any other addition that is not animal fiber, like acrylic or nylon, will keep the wool from felting as well as needed.  And any blend of the animal fibers I mentioned will felt as long as they are not mixed with non-animal fibers like acrylic or silk.

What causes animal fiber to felt?

The fiber has microscopic scales on the surface.  Ever seen a picture of hair under a microscope?  It looks like is has cracks in it.  That is scaling.  Different animals or breeds will have different size scales.  The combination of temperature change and friction will cause the scales to stand up and interlock with neighboring scales causing the shrinking and thickening of the fabric.

How much does felting cause a project to shrink?

The percentage of shrinkage will depend on the fiber and how long you leave it in the washer.  The longer you run it, the more it will felt.

Can I felt any finished project?

No.  You will need to make sure you have used the right fiber for felting, have made it larger than you want the finished item to be, and have worked the stitches loose enough.  Always plan for felting before working your project.  It shouldn’t be an afterthought.

Can I use my washing machine to felt or do I have to felt by hand?

While you can felt by hand, it is very hot and tedious work.  I prefer using my washing machine.  On that note, when using a washing machine, it is much easier to use a top loading washer since you will be stopping and checking the item on a regular basis.  It can be done in a front loading washer, but you would need to drain the tub each and every time you check.  So if you have a front load washing machine, you might want to find a friend with a top loading washer who is kind of enough to let you use his or hers or go to a nearby Laundromat.

Why does the white wool not felt as well?

White, cream, and other shades of white may not felt as well as darker colors.  This is because the chemicals used to bleach out any color has damaged the fiber.  It will still felt.  Just not as much.

How do I felt my project?

First you need to gather the items you will need.

You will need something to put the item in like a zippered pillowcase or lingerie bag.  This will protect your project from catching on anything.

You will also need a helper for the agitation.  You need that extra friction.  Old jeans that are no longer worn work great.  You will need 2 pair.  You can always buy a couple of pairs from a thrift shop.  I would not suggest towels due to the fuzz they leave on the item.

You will also need wool wash or baby shampoo.  This will help open up the scales and aid in the felting.  Also helps with the wet animal smell.  You will only use 1 – 2 tablespoons.

Rubber gloves are nice to have as well since you will be dealing with very hot water.

A top loading washing machine is preferable as previously mentioned.

And last but not least, the project to be felted.

Set your washer to small load and hot water.  Start your washer.  If your washer is by a sink, I would suggest running the hot water in your sink to get it flowing so less cold water will go into the tub when filling.

Put your item in the zipper bag and place in washer with the 2 pair jeans.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of wool wash or baby shampoo.

Run the wash cycle for about 5 minutes.  Stop the machine.  Wait for it to stop then get the bag out.  You will want to wear your rubber gloves for this since the water is hot.  Unzip the bag and take the item out.  If you can still see the stitches or it’s still too big then it’s not ready.  Put it back in the bag, zip it, and put back in the washer.  Run for another 3 minutes and check again.  Repeat until you get the size you need or until the stitches seem to disappear.

Be very careful when felting hats, mittens, slippers, or anything where size matters.  You do not want to over felt the items and make them too small.  I have done that before with a hat.  Now my daughter has it…

DO NOT run the spin cycle.  This will cause your work to have creases and be misshapen.

When you take the bag out after you have it fully felted, you can then run the rest of the wash, rinse, and spin cycle for the jeans.

Take the item out of the bag.  Rinse the item if you used baby shampoo and squeeze all the excess water out without wringing it.  You will not need to rinse it if you use wool wash.  You can then put the item between 2 towels, roll it up, and squeeze as much water out as you can.  I like to put it item between the towels on the floor and stand on it.  Nothing like gravity and my weight to finish squeezing out the excess water…

Now you will want to shape you item.  Use a plastic covered box the right size or just stuff the item full of plastic grocery bags.  Pull it into shape.  You do not want it to dry until it is in the correct shape.  Once you have it in the shape needed, let it dry for about 2 days out of direct sunlight.

DO NOT put it in the dryer to dry.  This will cause your item to dry out shape and felt it further than you need.

Here is a bag I recently made and felted.

This is before I felted the bag…

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And after…

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You can see the difference in the size.  I used KnitPicks Wool of the Andes for this bag.  Wonderful wool for felting and lovely to work with as well.

Well I hope this has answered your frequently asked questions regarding felting.  Good luck with all your felted projects.  Happy loom knitting!

5 Comments

  • very helpful. I was just starting a felting project and this has really helped.

  • Awesome article, Renita! :) I absolutely love your felted bag, too! So much fuzzy fun!

  • Dear Bethany Dailey,

    Could you please do a video of the Candy Cane Stitch Pattern on the components that are in row 5:

    Row 5: p2, k2, [s1, k1, psso, yo], k1, [yo, ssk], *k3, [s1, k1, psso, yo], k1, [yo, ssk], repeat from * to last 4 stitches, k2, p2.

    I have tried these again again … but fail even trying to follow the guides on the pattern page…. Yes, I am new to knitting …. thanks very much for doing a video …. If you Can !

  • I bought a all in one loom. but I cant find out how to make a triangular shawl. I found a shawl that uses along loom with 62 pegs but it is rounded not pointed like a triangle. It uses a knit stitch and increases by one peg every other row. I also bought the extended pegs but haven’t been able to figure how to convert that in to a shawl pattern.
    Any suggestions . I would appreciate
    thanks
    Al Alexander

  • I’m still very confused. This doesn’t seem to be answering my question about gauges. I have a hat pattern I want to do. Here is the link: http://blog.knittingboard.com/archives/2442 and here is the pattern’s gauge:

    Gauge: 8 sts x 17 rows= 2 inches in stitch pattern.
    Size: 9 inches x 9.5 inches when laid flat. Model’s head size is 23-1/4 inches.
    Set knitting loom to small gauge at 80 pegs.

    My husband’s head is 25″ so there is a difference already. I did a swatch and my gauge came to 8 stitches, 22 rows in a 2 inch area. I will be using the All in One Loom.

    How in the world can I take that information and translate it into how many pegs to use and if I should change anything else about the pattern?

    Thank you.

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Dec 15, 2014

Loom FAQs: What Is Gauge?

Loom-FAQs1

I see a lot of questions about gauge.  What is gauge?  Why is gauge important?   Mostly I see How many pegs do I cast on?   Followed with the size for a specific item.  I have been personally asked a number of times to calculate a peg count.  So maybe it’s time to discuss gauge, making swatches, and calculating peg counts.

 

What is gauge?

The term is used for 2 different things:  loom gauge and swatch gauge.  Let’s start with loom gauge.

 

What is loom gauge?

In needle knitting and crochet, the gauge of the needles and hooks is the diameter measured in millimeters.  Sometimes letter or numbers are then used to represent the gauge.  In loom knitting, looms are measured and sized differently.   When people talk about the single knit gauge of the loom it is either described as extra large, large, regular, small, fine, and extra fine.  Those sizes are determined from the center to center peg spacing.  Some will abbreviate it to c2c peg spacing.  Why is it center to center of the peg?  Gauge is actually determined how far the yarn travels for a stitch.  So we need an easy way to measure that.  The easiest way to determine that is by measuring from the center of the peg to the center of the next peg.

Peg size can also affect gauge.  The bigger the peg, the further the yarn must travel to make the stitch.  So that is something to keep in mind as well since some looms have the same center to center peg spacing but have different size pegs.

But for simplicity sake, we will talk about the peg spacing only.

Here is the center to center peg spacing in relationship to gauge size for knitting looms:

Extra Large:  13/16” and larger

Large:  5/8”, 11/16”, 3/4″

Regular:  7/16”, 1/2”, 9/16”

Small:  3/8”

Fine:  1/4”, 5/16”

Extra Fine:  3/16”

 

How do I measure my pegs to know the gauge?

You will take a ruler or tape measure that has the inch divided in 16ths and measure from the center of the peg to the center the peg next to it.

10846721_10204817453211239_553075619_n

Double knit gauge is determined not only by how far apart the pegs are but also by how far apart the rails are on the rake.  The farther apart the rails, the larger the gauge.

961479_10204817453411244_1736901706_n

 

What is swatch gauge?

When you are making something where size is important, you will need to make a swatch to determine your gauge.  This is also referred to as your tension which is how tight or how loose you work your stitches.

You will need to know your tension for almost everything you make.  More than just sweaters need gauge achieved.  Socks, hats, headbands, mittens, even blankets will need to be a certain size.  Therefore you need to know if your tension will match that of the pattern in order for the item to fit.  The stitch used and also the yarn used will affect your gauge.  Different fibers work up differently.  And so do different stitches.  So if you use a different yarn with a different fiber content than the one recommended for the pattern, it may not turn out the same.  Same if you substitute different stitches than the ones called for in the pattern.

 

How do I swatch?

Different people will swatch differently.  This is the way I make a swatch.

Patterns will call for gauge using either a 4” or 2” square.

For large gauge, I will measure how many pegs are in 5”.  For small gauge, I will measure how many pegs are in 3”.  Then I work my swatch in the required stitch over that many pegs.  Then I work the number of rows to get 4-5” on large gauge or 2-3” on small gauge.

Then I measure my work with a ruler.  You will count the number of stitches in the 2” or 4” across a row

10818920_10204835414620263_228282242_n

and how many rows are in 2” or 4” depending on your gauge loom.

10850399_10204835415180277_259526400_n

If your swatch matches the gauge on the pattern, then you are ready to get started.

If you have more stitches and rows than is listed for the gauge, your tension is too tight, and you will need to work with a looser tension.

If you have less stitches and rows than is listed, your tension is too loose, and you will need to work with a tighter tension.

Both of those can be achieved by how much you pull on the yarn while working your stitches.  So do not pull as much to make it looser or pull a little bit more to make it tighter.  When you pull on the yarn, it stretches.  And stitches worked while the yarn is stretched will be tighter once the tension is released and the yarn returns to it’s original shape.

 

How do I know how many pegs to cast on?

Now comes the “fun” part of knitting.  Math.  Unlike most people, I LOVE math.  Numbers never lie…  But I do realize that most people have a hard time with math and would rather avoid it.   So let’s discuss how to calculate peg count.

Here is the cheat sheet to what is written in the equations.

  • When you see a lower case x in the equation, it means to multiply.
  • When you see a forward slash /, it means to divide.
  • When you see part of it in parenthesis ( ), you will work the part in the parenthesis first then calculate the rest equation.
  • Just get a piece of paper and write your numbers down.  Then substitute the numbers for the letters in the equation.  Grab a calculator and solve!
  • I realize I have lost about 90% of you right here…

You are wanting to make a blanket of a certain size using e-wrap.  How do you know how many pegs to cast on?  Well first you will need to make a swatch and count how many stitches and rows you have in an inch.  Make your swatch following the directions above and measure.

Say you have 4 stitches in an inch, and you want your blanket to be 5 feet wide.  You will need to change your unit of measurement first to the smallest unit.  Therefore you will need to change the feet into inches.  So you will multiple 5 feet by 12 inches per foot or

5 x 12 = 60 inches

Now, for the stitch count, you will multiple 60 inches by 4 stitches per inch or

60 x 4 = 240 stitches

So you will cast on 240 pegs.

You will do the same for the number of rows when calculating how many rows to work.  Just replace how many rows in an inch for the number of stitches.  But you can always just measure your work if you are going by inches instead of counting rows.

Here is the equation to plug your numbers into once you have all of your measurements:

  • Number of inches desired to work:  A
  • Number of stitches or rows in an inch from your swatch:  B
  • Number of pegs to cast on or number of rows to work (the answer):  C

A x B = C

 

What if I want to use a different gauge loom than the one required in the pattern?

If you are wanting to use a loom with a different gauge than the one used in the pattern but want the same size, first thing you need to realize is that a different gauge will change the size even when the measurement of the pegs is the same.  But here is how you will calculate the peg number.  Just remember it may not turn out the same size.

I warn you.  There is a lot more math involved here…

Say you want to make a hat on the All-n-One loom that is written for the 41 peg round Knifty Knitter loom because you only want to use 1 strand of worsted weight yarn and get smaller stitches instead of using 2 strands of worsted or 1 strand of bulky or super bulky.

From now on when I refer to peg spacing, I am referring to the center to center peg spacing.

First you will need to know the gauge of the looms.  In this case, the 41 peg round Knifty Knitter loom has a peg spacing of 13/16”, and the All-n-One loom has a peg spacing of 3/8”.  Then you will need to calculate the circumference of the center of the pegs on the 41 peg loom.  To do that you will multiple the number of pegs by the peg spacing.  For this loom, you will multiple 41 pegs by 13, then divide by 16.

41 x 13 / 16 = 33.3”

So you will want a peg circumference of 33.3” on the All-n-One loom, and you know that the peg spacing on this loom is 3/8”.  So you will multiply 33.3 by 8, then divide by 3.

33.3 x 8 / 3 = 88.8 pegs

Now you can either use 88 pegs or 89 pegs.  On the AIO loom, it can be tricky to use an odd number so you may want to use either 88 or 90 pegs.

Here are the equations to plug in your numbers.

  • Number of pegs on original loom:  A
  • Top number of fraction of peg spacing on original loom:  B
  • Bottom number of fraction of peg spacing on original loom:  C
  • Circumference of original loom:  D
  • Top number of fraction of peg spacing on new loom:  E
  • Bottom number of fraction of peg spacing on new loom:  F
  • Number of pegs on new loom:  P

 

Equation for calculating the circumference on the original loom:

A x B / C = D

Now calculating the new loom peg count:

D x F / E = P

 

Now there is a way to calculate that all together.  Here is the equation that you will plug your numbers in to get your answer.

(A x B x F) / (C x E) = P

 

Whew!  If you made it this far, you deserve a gold star!  That was deep.  Should have warned you to wear hip boots…  Now go calculate your peg count for some stylish boot cuffs for those hip boots you need to wear to wade through all that math!

I hope this helps answer some of those questions that are frequently asked in regards to gauge.

Happy knitting!

 

3 Comments

  • PHEW !!!! thanks for this…..math was never my strong subject ….English was so I will re- read this until my brain says okay! Thank you for posting all this helpful info…..

  • Not a lover of math, but you helped to make it a lot easier. Thanks for the article! Good work!

  • Terrific post, Renita! :)

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Nov 17, 2014

Loom FAQS: Which Knit Stitch??

Loom-FAQs1

Two questions I see often and seem to cause drama are What knit stitch do I use if the pattern doesn’t specify? and What is the difference between the different knit stitches?  But my favorite is Why are there so many knit stitches in loom knitting?  While it does seem like there are a lot of knit stitches, there are still only two.  Knit and e-wrap knit.  The confusion occurs because there are 3 ways to make a knit stitch.  And all 3 have different tensions.  So let’s discuss each one and then compare all 4 so we can put that drama to rest.

E-wrap Knit Stitch

I will start with the e-wrap knit since it is usually the first stitch a person learns when he or she picks up a loom for the first time.  E-wrap knit is the loosest knit stitch.  It is taller and uses more yarn than a true knit or purl stitch.  It is a twisted stitch so the stitch looks like a y instead of the classic v of the knit stitch.  When worked in a flat panel, the e-wrap knit gives a great texture to the project since the stitches slant in the opposite way on each row.

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When worked in the round, the stitches will slant in the direction that you work.

ewrap round

You make an e-wrap knit by bringing the working yarn behind the peg, around to the front of the peg,

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and then on around to the back the peg like a cursive e.

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After the peg is wrapped, the working yarn is behind the peg again.

Then you knit over by bringing the bottom loop up and over the new loop you just made.

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Knit Stitch

The knit stitch can be produced 3 different ways, and the size of the stitch varies with one.

  • True Knit Stitch

Let’s look at the true knit stitch first.  It is also called the traditional knit stitch.  Some people call it a reverse purl even though it’s actually more accurate to call a purl a reverse knit.  It is the same height and width of a purl stitch and is best to use when working alongside purls in the rib, garter, seed, and moss stitches.

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You make a true knit stitch by bringing the working yarn above the existing loop.

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You bring your pick up through the existing loop and catch the working yarn.

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Then pull it down through the loop to create a new loop.

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You then take the old loop off the peg.

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Then place the new loop back on the peg.

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Snug up the yarn by gently tugging the working yarn.

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Why does this look just like a purl stitch?  This stitch is not to be confused with the purl.  While the motions appear to be the same, the purl is worked in reverse.  The working yarn is at the bottom of the existing loop, and the new loop is pulled up from the bottom before taking the old loop off the peg and replacing the new loop on.

 

  • U-wrap Knit Stitch

Next is the u-wrap knit.  It is shorter and tighter than the true knit stitch.

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You make a u-wrap knit by bringing the working yarn above the existing loop in front of the peg and pulling it straight back behind the peg without completely wrapping it.

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Then pull the bottom loop up

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and over.

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  • Flat Knit Stitch

The last way to create a knit stitch is the tightest and smallest of the knit stitches.  It is the flat knit.  It can get very tight after just a couple of rows.  Flat knit stitch works best with fibers that stretch like wool.  It is extremely hard to use the flat knit on yarn that have no stretch like cotton.

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You work the flat knit by bringing the working yarn across the front of the peg above the existing loop without any wrap of the peg.

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Then bring the existing loop up

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and over.

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Comparison

I worked 4 swatches using each of the techniques mentioned.  I made all 4 with 16 pegs on the Sock Loom 2 and worked 25 rows using KnitPicks Wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn.  I worked all 4 with the chain cast on and used the basic bind off.  I also slipped the first stitch on each row.

From left to right:  e-wrap knit, true knit, u-wrap knit, and flat knit.

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You can see the difference in size with the e-wrap being the largest and loosest and the flat knit being the smallest and tightest.  You can also see how the chain cast on (at the top) was not tight enough as the stitches got tighter and smaller.  You will need to take your cast on into consideration with whichever knit stitch technique you use.  I controlled my tension on all the swatches by not pulling on the yarn as I worked the stitches.  Each of them could have been made tighter by simply pulling and stretching the yarn.

Here is the gauge I achieved with each swatch.  What is gauge?  Gauge is simply the number of stitches in an inch by the number of rows in an inch.  The more stitches or rows in an inch means the gauge is smaller.  The fewer stitches or rows in an inch means the gauge is larger.  Some patterns will list gauge in a 2” or 4” square.  I will discuss gauge more in next month’s article.  For this demonstration, I will list gauge per inch.

  • E-wrap knit stitch: 3.5 stitches by 5 rows per inch

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  • True knit stitch:  3.75 stitches by 5.5 rows per inch

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  • U-wrap knit stitch:  4 stitches by 6 rows per inch

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  • Flat knit stitch:  5.5 stitches by 7.5 rows per inch

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So as you can see, it makes a big difference in size depending on how the knit stitch is made.  Why can I not use e-wrap on every pattern?  Everyone’s tension is different.  If you were to make the same exact swatch I have, you most likely will have a different gauge.  Designers write their pattern for a certain look or size.  While you can interchange the knit stitch and the e-wrap knit in some patterns, most times it will change the pattern too much in size.  If using the knit stitch, you can adjust your tension by using a different knit stitch technique.  You can also adjust your tension on the flat and u-wrap knit stitches by loosening them as you work the stitches.  I loosen my u-wrap knit by simply pushing the stitch back with my pick after pulling the loop over.  But these swatches were made without loosening the stitches.  They were made as described above.

I hope this helps clarify the knit stitch dilemma and puts the drama to rest.

 

7 Comments

  • I can not believe I’m reading this today of all days!!! Made myself a pair of e-wrap mittens over the weekend and keep catching the stitches. I was just thinking this am, I wonder how many more rows and pegs I’d have to use if I use a knit stitch instead. Then I think, math, yuk!!! This will be so helpful. Renita to the rescue, again! Thanks for this article.

  • I am looking at your shawl pattern and it says to use a rib stitch. What is that?

  • Need to share with my friend who just began knitting!

  • Needed this — love the comparisons.

  • When knitting in the round with the E-wrap stitch, you can make a reverse E-wrap. If knitting from right to left (counter-clockwise/anti-clockwise) make a loop by twisting the yarn clock wise, and place it on the peg. The end of the yarn will then go behind the peg underneath the yarn coming from the left. This can be used to make rows that reverse as if knitting a flat piece back and forth.

  • ???? Arrgg. In the above post on reverse E-wrap, that should have read, “If knitting from LEFT TO RIGHT”.

    Sorry I have dyslexia, so that must have been my other left, or right, or whatever. ????

  • Fairly new knitter here. So, if a pattern just says knit stitch, how do you decide which stitch to use. I now understand why I could not make a scarf from a pattern in one of the KB books as the stitches were so tight. I really wanted to make the scarf for a gift but gave up.

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Oct 27, 2014

Loom FAQs – How Do I Read a Pattern?

Loom-FAQs1

Another question that is often asked is “how do I read a pattern?”  Most times, it’s not even a question.  People will flat out say they don’t know how to read a pattern.  Or that patterns are too hard to read.  Some will even say they don’t care to learn when there are videos to watch.  Well I will say this:  If you don’t learn at least the basics of reading patterns, then you are limiting yourself to what you can make since not all patterns have videos.  So today I would like to address some of those Frequently Asked Questions in regards to reading a pattern.

Where do I start when I am reading a pattern?

I always recommend to start by reading the pattern fully first.  See what you need and when you need it.  Most times if it’s a pattern that has new skills, it can be overwhelming to read through it first.  That is ok.  Do not panic.  It happens to the best of us.  Then you take a deep breath and proceed gathering your supplies.  Once that is done, then you start.  But before we get into starting, let’s discuss how a pattern is usually written.

Patterns can usually be broken down into 3 parts.  I will be using parts of my Paving Rainbows hat pattern for an example.  You can find the complete pattern here:  http://blog.knittingboard.com/index.php/archives/1363

 

Part 1:

The first part is the list of items you need to complete the project.  This is where you will find which loom is required, yarn recommended, and other notions needed.  Patterns will list the yarn needed in number of skeins, yards, or weight.  If you are using a different yarn than the one specified and it’s listed by skeins, balls, or yardage, then you will just need to compare the yardage of the yarn you are wanting to use with the one that was used in the pattern to make sure you have enough since not all skeins or balls have the same amount of yarn in them.

The Paving Rainbow Stones Hat pattern

     Loom: All-n-One loom set for 72 pegs. Sample made on the All-n-One.

     Yarn: 1 skein Bernat Mosaic in Calypso – Color A (or any medium weight yarn color of your choice). 1 skein Red Heart Super Saver in Black – Color B (or any medium weight yarn color of your choice)

     Notions: Loom tool, Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Part 2:

The second part is the abbreviations, gauge, and pattern notes.  In stand-alone patterns available on blogs or other sites, this will follow the list of items.  If it is a pattern in a book, the abbreviations will most likely be found at the front or back of the book.  But the gauge and pattern notes, if any, will still be in this location.

What is gauge?

Gauge tells you how many stitches and rows are in a certain number of inches so you know if your tension is correct when knitting an item that needs to be a certain size.  So if it reads,

In stockinette, 20 stitches x 30 rows = 4 inches

you will take a ruler and measure your swatch or work.  If you count 20 stitches in 4 inches on a row in all knit stitches and 30 rows in 4 inches, then you have achieved gauge.

Some patterns will not have it listed if gauge is not important.  Or sometimes the designer forgot to list it.  Oops…

What are pattern notes?

Pattern notes are the special instructions or little helpful tidbits provided by the designer to help clarify how the pattern is to be worked.

      Pattern Notes

· Use only one strand of yarn.

· Carry yarn to the inside of loom when not using. Do not cut.

      Abbreviations

· K – flat or u-wrap knit

· P – purl

· S – slip (skip)

· Rnd(s) – Round(s)

Part 3:

The third part is the actual instructions.  Most times it will be written out by rows or rounds.  Some patterns may be written in steps, like I did with my corkscrew tutorial.

     INSTRUCTIONS

E-wrap cast on all pegs.

Rnds 1 – 18 – With color A, K all

Place cast on loops back on pegs, knit over

Rnd 19 – K all

Drop Color A to inside of loom. Add Color B.

Rnd 20 – With color B, K all

Rnds 21-23 – P all

Drop Color B to inside of loom. Pick up Color A.

Rnds 24-29 – With color A, K3, *S2, K6*, repeat from * to * until last 5 pegs, S2, K3

So let’s start at the beginning.  First you will cast on.

What cast on and bind off methods do I use if the pattern doesn’t specify?

In this pattern, I specify an e-wrap cast on.  But when a particular cast on or bind off isn’t specified, then you just use the one that you like best.

Then you start with the first row or round.  In this pattern, rounds 1 – 18 are all the same, so instead of writing out each round, I combined them all into one line.  So for those 18 rounds, you will knit all the pegs.

Now let’s skip to after the brim is made.  I made a note to drop the first color and add the second.  It looks a little out of place here, but there are times where the instructions are needed in the pattern as you go along which is why the instructions for the color change is between the rounds.  Sometimes the designer will write those at the end of the row or round so there is not a break like you see here.

What does it mean when it says to “repeat from *”?

Let’s now look at rounds 24 – 29.  In this pattern, I put an * at the beginning and end of the part that is to be repeated.  Sometimes it will just be at the beginning of the repeat and then say “repeat from * to the end of the row”.  But what does that line mean?  We have seen rounds that are all knits or all purls.  But now we have a mixture of stitches with repeats.

The round reads “With Color A, K3, *S2, K6* repeat from * to * until the last 5 pegs, S2, K3”.  If that were written out for all the pegs, it would read like this:

With color A, knit 3 pegs, slip 2 pegs, knit 6 pegs, slip 2 pegs, knit 6 pegs, slip 2 pegs, knit 6 pegs, etc., until only 5 pegs remain in the round.  Then slip 2 pegs and knit 3 pegs.  Then you start the next round.  Or if it was written peg by peg, it would be: knit, knit, knit, slip, slip, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, slip, slip, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit…

So you can see why the rows or rounds are condensed down into abbreviations and repeats.  Otherwise, a simple pattern would be the size of a small book.

The more complicated repeats will often involve parenthesis as well as asterisks.

So to start off when learning to read a pattern, you may want to write each row or round out so you can better understand it.

And to keep from being overwhelmed by the entire pattern, I would recommend you concentrate on one row at a time.  Just go stitch by stitch and then row by row.  If something doesn’t seem to make sense then look at the previous row and the following row.  Sometimes it will make more sense when you see what is just below or just above the row you are working.

What do the abbreviations mean?

Reading patterns is like reading code.  The reason for abbreviations is for saving space, especially in books and magazines.  Here are some of the more common abbreviations.

 

BO – bind off

CA – color A

CB – color B

CC – contrasting color

CO – cast on

Dec – decrease

EW – e-wrap

Inc – increase

K – knit

K2tog – knit 2 together

KO – Knit over

M1 – make 1 increase

MC – main color

P – purl

P2tog – purl 2 together

PSSO – pass slipped stitch over

Rep – repeat

Rnd (s) – rounds(s)

S or sl – slip

SSK – slip, slip, knit those 2 stitches together

W&T – wrap and turn

YO – yarn over

What knit stitch do I use if it doesn’t say?

Most times if the pattern just says knit then it is a true or traditional knit stitch.  Some people like to call it a reverse purl.  You can use the u-wrap, flat knit, or even e-wrap, if you are needing to achieve a certain gauge due to your tension.  If the pattern says “no e-wrap”, then it is not recommended to use it since it really is a different stitch entirely.  It is taller and looser and will alter the finished size.

Why are patterns not all written the same?

This is a great question.  I really don’t have a good answer to that one except to say that, while most designers try to keep uniformity to patterns so that they are easy to read, some people are beginners, want to share their designs, and just don’t know how patterns are most commonly written.  And sometimes designers will write a pattern how they like to read them.

Why can I not just use videos?

There usually are not videos for all patterns.  And people cannot randomly make videos without the designer’s permission since it violates copyright.  But when working a pattern and you come across a technique you are unfamiliar with and the written instructions for that technique are confusing, videos are very helpful, and I would recommend using them.

How do I write a pattern?

If you are writing a pattern for the first time and are unsure of what to do, look at other patterns on blogs or on Ravelry.  Then try to follow suit in whatever way makes sense to you.  Most times, our first efforts seem to fall short of our expectations.  Just take a deep breath and try your best.  We all start somewhere and learn.

I really hope this helps get you started on reading patterns.  The worst thing that could happen is that you will need to rip the project out and start over.  But it is only yarn after all.  It is designed to be taken apart and reknit.

 

6 Comments

  • Excellent post, Renita! :) I would only add to your first bit about reading the pattern through entirely first and then possibly feeling overwhelmed or confused…a lot of times the steps that are confusing at the front end make way more sense when you are actually at that section and ready to knit it. I say this as an encouragement not to give up when that original confusion hits upon the first read-through. Just dive in and have fun! :D

    Once again…fantastic advice!

  • Thank you, Bethany! That means a lot to me. While I did say that later, I realize I should have addressed it at the beginning for those who don’t read the entire article.

    Just taking it stitch by stitch and row by row often answers those confusing questions we might have after the first read through.

  • Thank you very much. This was very informative and helped to clear up a few thing for me

  • Hi Renita,
    Where was a person like you when I first started learning knitting and reading patterns soo many years ago! Very good help for beginners! Thank you for a really great article that will be a help to many! Sue

  • I am holding on to this for dear life, I am knew to knitting and loom knitting and have never tried a pattern. You give me hope! Thank you!!

  • Thank you for posting this and explaining how a pattern is read and what a K 3 means to knit 3 pegs and so on I think a lot of times I read into things to much and the answer is staring me right in my face .I over whelm myself and once I try it it’s like thee light bulb comes on ,I will just keep pratcing and will catch on the problem is I try to make things perfect and get overwhelmed when its not as hard as it really is thank you again

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Sep 16, 2014

Loom FAQs – What is Blocking?

Hello!  I am Renita Harvey, and I am so excited to be part of the wonderful KB team.  I have been loom knitting since I was a child.  My first looms were a spool loom and a small 12 peg round loom.  About the age of 12, my parents gave me a Spin Knit loom.  This was my first large loom that I made hats and scarves on.  This was quite a few years before Knifty Knitter looms came along.  Only thing I had to teach myself was the booklet that came with the loom.  It only contained very basic information.  E-wrap knit only.  Not even a purl stitch!  Now we have wonderful loom knit books written by very talented people and have a wealth of information at our fingertips on the internet.  But almost every day, I see questions about “how do I do this or that” in loom knitting.  Well, I would like to answer some of those Frequently Asked Questions or Loom FAQs in this column. Look for my column on the third Monday of every month.

Loom FAQs

Today I would like to address a very common question.

What is blocking?

Blocking is a finishing technique used in knitting and crochet.  It is a way to flatten a piece, helps with straightening and sizing pieces that are to be seamed together, helps set the stitches, and opens up lace stitches.

But after that is said, there are always even more questions to be answered.

When and why do you block something?

If you are making a sweater or another project that will be pieced or seamed together, you will need to block each piece to size and shape before assembly.  Please note that while you will be able to make some smaller pieces a little larger and make pieces match in size, if your gauge or tension is not correct, you will not be able to completely resize it with blocking.

If you are knitting a lace pattern, you will want to block the project to open up those beautiful lace stitches.  It does make a world of difference with lace.

What fibers can you block?

You can block every kind of fiber.  The type of fiber depends on the type of blocking.

What items do I need to block?

  • A place to block the items
  • Rust-proof pins
  • Blocking wires (optional)
  • Steam machine or steam iron for steam blocking
  • Spray bottle for spray blocking
  • Water – MOST IMPORTANT!

 

Do I need a blocking board?  Are they important?

First you will need an area large enough for your item.  One such item is a blocking board.  Blocking boards are large boards covered in a tightly woven thick fabric printed with a grid over a piece of foam, cork, or acoustic board for the pins to stick in.  While I personally do have one, they are not necessary to block an item.  Sometimes they are just not large enough for the project.  Some people may not have the space to store one.  Kits may be bought to build your blocking board.  But again it’s not as essential as having a space to do it.

You can use a bed, the floor, or even interconnecting foam blocks like floor mats or preschool letter blocks.  Any of these surfaces can be covered with a waterproof liner like a trash bag and then covered with towels or blankets so you can pin the item into place.

Why do I need rust-proof pins?

Which leads me to a very important tool for blocking.  Rust-proof pins.  Make sure they are rust-proof since all types of blocking involve water.  Unless they are rust-proof, the pins will rust.  And rust stains cannot be removed from the yarn.  Let me say “rust-proof” one more time for good measure…

Other questions I have seen involve tools that can be used for blocking.

What are blocking wires and why would I use blocking wires?

Blocking wires are wires that are woven into the edges of the work to help keep the shape of the edge.  If you do not use wires, you sometimes get a scalloped edge when the work dries and draws up in between the pins if they are not close enough together.  There are 2 kinds of blocking wires.  Rigid wires for the straight edges, and flexible wires for the curved edges.  You do not need to use as many pins when using wires, but blocking wire are not required to block an item.

Do I need a steam machine or can I just use an iron?

While steam machines are nice to have and make it easier to steam block items, they are not necessary.  A steam iron will work.  You just need to remember not to get too close to the work since you have a large heat source on the iron while you do not have that with a steamer.  But you can not just iron an item in order to block it.  You can cause a lot of damage to the work if the iron is placed directly on it.

How do you block something?

This just happens to be the most important question of all.  How?  Well there are 3 ways to block a project.

  1. Wet blocking
  2. Spray blocking
  3. Steam blocking

Let take each one separately.

Wet Blocking

You can wet block any natural fibers.  You cannot wet block acrylics.  Acrylics need to be steam blocked.  We will discuss why in Steam Blocking.

First you need to soak the item for at least 15 minutes so that all the fibers are fully saturated.  You then will squeeze out the excess water.  Do not wring or twist!  This will stretch the stitches out of shape completely.  After squeezing out as much water as I can, I like to put a couple of towels on the floor, lay the item on top, then add another towel on top to cover the item.  Then I simply stand on it in my bare feet.  Sounds crazy, I know.  But standing on all parts of the item will finish squeezing out the excess water without twisting and cause it to dry faster.

Then you pin your item on the prepared blocking area to the shape and size needed.  You will place your pins about 2″ or less apart if you are not using blocking wires.  You can use a lot less pins with the wires.  Allow the item to completely dry before removing it.

Spray Blocking

You can spray block all natural fibers, but not acrylics.  Spray blocking is like wet blocking except you do not soak the item first.  You first pin your item to the prepared blocking area in the same manner as wet blocking.  Then you use a spray bottle of water and spray the item until it is completely wet.  Allow the item to dry before removing it.

Steam Blocking

All types of fiber can be steam blocked.  Why can acrylics only be steam blocked?  Acrylic yarn is basically plastic and only heat from steam can set the stitches.   Water alone cannot do this with acrylic while it will work with natural fibers.  But you cannot iron it either.  Direct heat from an iron will either completely melt the yarn or “kill” the fabric.  “Killing” acrylic is not quite as violent as it sounds.  It just means that the acrylic has melted to the point that it has lost its stretch and body but has not been completely ruined.  There are times killing acrylic is useful, but not when you are wanting to block the item.

First you will pin the item to the prepared blocking area in the same manner as wet or spray blocking.  Then you will steam the item in small areas at a time until the entire piece is steamed and damp.  If using an iron, remember to not get the iron surface too close to the item.  And also be careful not to touch the pins or wires, if using wires, as the steam will cause them to get hot as well and will burn you.

Allow the item to dry completely before unpinning it.

Sounds like a lot of work.  And most times, it is.  But the finished result is always amazing!

 

 

 

9 Comments

  • Thank you for the FAQ.
    This is off topic but can someone do a tutorial on the stockinette curl? I can’t do the basic tweed HAT that’s included in the loom instructions. Although I do the ribbing eventually the stockinette starts to curl and it causes the ribbing to also pull up. The hat is made IN THE ROUND. I see many hats made of stockinette so there must be a way to do this and remain in the stockinette pattern. Many sites say just to pick another stitch. Thank you.

  • Very informative. Well done Renita!

  • Thanks Renita. I never understood why wet blocking didn’t work with my acrylic pieces. This article means a recent UFO may finally see completion!

  • Excellent first article, Renita! :) You’ve done a very thorough job of explaining a really important step in knitting…can’t wait to see what you will have next!

  • Thanks Renita I noticed some people never heard or know about blocking. Keep up the good work. God bless you always!

  • Can a portable steamer be used for blocking acrylic then? I’ve a shawl I’m almost finished with, but the bulky yarn combined w/ the figure eight stitch (single knitting) isn’t showing well. I was thinking blocking might help to “open it up”?

  • Allison, you can use a portable steamer. Just be very careful not to get too close or you will kill the acrylic with the steam. But bulky yarn with that stitch may not open up anyway.

  • Hi,

    I have a question please.. if I have a mixed yearn, shall I decide which blocking method to use based on the highest percentage of the material in the yearn?

    Thanks
    Brunella

  • Brunella, if you have mixed yarn, the safest method to block it is by doing a wet block.

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Aug 16, 2014

Slouchy Hat on the Loom Knitting with the All-n-One Loom booklet

LoomKnittingwithallione

We received a request for a little bit of extra assistance in creating the slouchy hat pictured in the front cover of the All-n-One loom.

The instructions for the increase round read: Rnd 9: *k3, m1l; rep from * to the end of rnd (80 sts).

I will offer you two methods to achieve this:

Method 1:

Remove all 60 stitches from the knitting loom and place them on a piece of scrap yarn or on a circular needle.

Set your knitting loom to 80 pegs.

Place the stitches back on the knitting loom as follows: place 3 stitches back on 3 pegs, skip one peg, place 3 stitches back on 3 pegs, skip one peg, keep repeating this instructions until you have place all stitches back on the knitting loom.

*Knit 3 pegs, now create the M1L and place it on the empty peg; repeat from the *.

Method 2: 

*Knit 3 pegs, M1L and place it on peg 3 (over the loop already there, peg 3 will have 2 loops on it). Continue around the knitting loom repeating this sequence.

On the following round: knit 2 pegs, lift the loop that is at the top of peg 3 and hold it or place it on peg 4, knit the loop on peg 3, place the loop that you were holding back on top of peg 3 (or move it from peg 4 back to peg 3), knit this loop (be sure to only knit the top loop and leave the one at the bottom untouched). Continue around the loom  repeating this sequence.

Now, remove all the stitches from the knitting loom and place them on a piece of scrap yarn or a circular needle.

Set your knitting loom to 80 pegs.

Place your stitches back on the knitting loom.

I hope the above helps to facilitate the increases. It is the most laborious round of the hat, take it slow and one step at a time.

Good luck!

5 Comments

  • what happened to the video of the triangle Isela phelps taught for a blanket.

  • Islela, Thank you! The info on the slouchy hat was great! Easy ,peasy! Kari

  • I have learned so much from you about loom knitting, I am blind and you are a great teacher.I have looked all over for the triangle video or square made from the inside out and can’t find it. Can you help me thank you Judy

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Dec 17, 2013

Storybrook Cloche Stitch breakdown

We have had a few inquiries about the Storybrook Cloche. I decided to provide you with a breakdown of the rows. I hope it helps the process a little bit.

I am tackling the highlighted rows

 

storybrook cloche instructions2

Row 2

  • Move loops from pegs as follows:

– from 5 to 6
– from 4 to 5
– from 3 to 4
– from 2 to 3
– from 1 to 2

  • Ewrap peg 1
  • Knit pegs 1, 2, 3
  • Skip peg 4 with yarn behind peg
  • Knit peg 6 (treat both loops as one)
  • Move loop from 6 to 5
  • Lift bottom loop off from peg 5
  • Move loops as follows:

-From peg 7 to 6
-From peg 8 to 7
-From peg 9 to 8

  • Peg 9 is empty. YO on peg 9 (ewrap)
  • Knit peg 10

Row 4

  • Knit peg 1
  • Ewrap peg 1
  • Knit pegs 2 and 3
  • Skip peg 4 with yarn behind peg.
  • Move loop from peg 5 to 6.
  • Knit peg 6 (treat both loops as one)
  • Move loop from 4 to 5
  • Move loop from 6 to 5
  • Lift bottom most loop off peg 5
  • Move loop from peg 3 to 4
  • Move loop from peg 2 to 3
  • YO on peg 2 (ewrap)
  • Knit peg 7 and then move it to peg 6.
  • YO on peg 7 (ewrap)
  • Knit peg 8 and 9
  • Purl peg 10

Row 6

  • Knit peg 1, 2, 3
  • Move loop from peg 5 to 6
  • Move loop from peg 4 to 5
  • YO on peg 4 (ewrap)
  • Skip peg 5 with yarn behind peg
  • Knit peg 6 (treat both loops as one)
  • Move loop from peg 6 to 5
  • Lift bottom most loop off peg 5
  • YO  on peg 6 (ewrap)
  • Knit pegs 7, 8, 9, purl peg 10

 

2 Comments

  • Thank you for posting this. This pattern has raised a lot of questions. Would you be so kind to post a break down for the Brilynn Cowl too? Would love to make it! Thank you.

  • Yay! I’m trying to make the Peaks Fingerless Mitts from the Sock Loom Projects book and I couldn’t find other instructions for the Peaks pattern. Sounds like this pattern is similar, at least to help me with some of the stitches.

    :-)

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Dec 13, 2013

Loom Knitting Videos for the Faux Woven Cowl

Isela models Faux Cowl

Video one shows Rows 1-3.

Video 2 shows Row 4.

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Nov 17, 2013

Tip on Tightening up an E-wrap Cast On

Most of us learn to loom knit with the e-wrap cast on method. We quickly realize that it produces a loopy cast on. Here is a tip that I have used for several years in a lot of my knits. Enjoy!

1 Comment

  • I love this! What a wonderful way to clean up such a widely used cast on! :)

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Nov 16, 2013

Pony Tail Hole Video

Pony Tail Hole video

I have received a few emails asking me to create a video on creating the pony tail hole for the Pony Tail Hat. Here is a short video demonstrating how I create this opening.

Enjoy!

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