Knitting loom: All-n-One knitting loom
Yarn: Approx 550 yards of worsted weight yarn. Sample knit using Hobby Lobby Fantasy. Color: Antique Teal.
Notions: knitting tool, tapestry needle.
Gauge: Approx 20 sts x 24 rows= 4 inches in stockinette (unblocked).
Size: 25 x 30 inches
Crochet cast on 104 pegs, prepare to work a flat panel.
Row 1, 3, 5, 7, 11: Slip 1, e-wrap knit to end of the row.
Row 2, 4, 6, 8, 10: Slip 1, purl to last peg, e-wrap knit the last peg.
Row 12: Slip 1, purl 8, e-wrap knit 90 pegs, purl last 7 pegs, e-wrap knit the last peg.
Row 13: E-wrap knit to end of row.
Repeat Rows 12 and 13: until blanket is 28 inches long.
Repeat Rows 1-11: for garter stitch border.
Bind off loosely with basic bind off method.
Weave ends in. Block lightly.
Tips: To create color stripes: join the yarn at the first peg of the row, work the desired number rows with the new color. Cut the yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail, and rejoin the old color (or a new color).
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So you have found a great pattern but you don’t have the yarn that is called for; you should just give up right?
There are many reasons why you might need to use a different yarn. Perhaps that yarn is no longer available. Maybe the cost of the yarn is too high, or you are working on shrinking your stash, and you’ve decided to pull from it for an alternative.
Some knitters don’t think twice about switching yarns, but some of us break into a cold sweat just thinking about it.
Today, I will try to help those of you in the later group to feel a bit more comfortable about making yarn substitutions!
There are four basic questions you need to ask yourself:
- Does my yarn match the gauge recommended in the pattern?
- Will my fabric turn out like it’s supposed to?
- Do I have enough?
- Is this the right type of yarn for what I am making?
Does my yarn match the gauge recommended in the pattern?
When you begin searching for substitute yarn, you’ll want to start with the yarn label. Check out the label of the specified yarn, if you can. If not, you can always do a little research online to find this information. First check the yarn manufacturers site, if the information is not there sites like Ravelry.com and Yarndex.com often have the manufacturers gauge information for current and discontinued yarns.
Most yarn manufacturers list the gauge on the label as if it were worked in stockinet stitch. So, if your pattern gives gauge information for stockinet stitch, it’s easy to figure out whether your choice will work by comparing the gauge of the listed yarn with your yarn’s given gauge. If not you will have to make up a swatch using the listed stitch pattern that is specified with the gauge listing in your pattern.
I cannot emphasize enough though the value of actually knitting up a swatch, and washing and blocking it to get an actual gauge comparison! (I know.. it’s a pain, but it saves a lot of pain too!)
Big changes to the gauge of your yarn will affect the finished knitted fabric. This leads to the next issue:
Will my fabric turn out like it’s supposed to?
Take some time to think about the finished garment. Should it drape softly like a shawl? Is it stiffer like a knitted basket? There is nothing more frustrating than coming out with a sweater that stands up by itself, when it was actually supposed to drape gracefully around the wearer!
If there is texture knit into the fabric like cables, or moss stitch etc, will the yarn hide this? A textured yarn like a boucle or a fuzzy yarn, can obscure patterns like cables and the like. Also variegated yarns can do this as well.
If you have knit a gauge swatch in pattern, you will be able to determine if any of these issues plague your substitute yarn choice. If you haven’t, keep these things in mind when choosing your yarn. (and *cough* make a swatch!)
Now that you have the right gauge:
How much yarn will I need?
Now, it’s time for some math! (I know.. I’m a teacher.. there’s always math homework!)
Once you’ve found what you think is a spectacular yarn substitute, you will need to make sure you have enough! You will want to compare the length, not the weight, of the yarn called for in the pattern. Length is a more accurate measure than weight since yarns made with different materials have different densities, even though they may be the same length. (There I threw in some science too!)
So again look at your label, and your listed yarn requirements in you pattern.
If the pattern calls for 10 balls of yarn with a yardage of 120 yards, then you’ll need a total of 10 x 120 = 1200 yards.
Please make sure you are comparing the same measurements as well. Many yarn labels, and patterns list the yarn length in meters rather than yards. So check this carefully, and you can always use an online measurement conversion calculator to help you out!
You wouldn’t want to come up short!
So you have the right gauge and you have enough yarn but:
Is this the right type of yarn for what I am making?
Think about the stitches and techniques used in the project. Is it lace? Are there cables? Some yarns are rather stiff and hard to work into these types of stitch patterns. For example cotton, and some 100% acrylic yarns can be rather in-elastic and hard to work with, causing you all kinds of troubles! You wouldn’t want to break a peg!
What is the end use of the item? Using the wrong fiber, can cause you troubles in the long run here too! You won’t want to use wool for a summer garment. You will want to us cotton or some other absorbent yarn for making a dishcloth, towel or soaker!
Also take a moment to think about whether a certain yarn was called for, for its specific qualities. For example a designer may have called for a self-striping yarn to highlight a particular stitch pattern, like mitered squares or entrelac. So think about the overall finished look of the pattern and how your chosen yarn substitute will add or detract to the intent of the design’s aesthetic.
If you follow these steps, I am sure you will make some great yarn substitutions.
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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.
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.)
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!
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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.
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.
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.
When 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.
This is the side where the knit row ends and the purl row begins after slipping the first stitch.
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.
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.
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.
Or 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!
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The luxurious luster from the silk-blend yarn provides this cloche a stunning high quality finish. The yarn blend also gives this cloche a wonderful, soft, drape. The stitch pattern although looks complicated is very simple to memorize.
Knitting loom: Adjustable Hat Loom, set up at small gauge with 80 pegs.
Yarn: Approx 140 yds of DK weight silk blend yarn. Sample used Diadem by Knit Picks in jacquard: 50% alpaca, 50% mulberry silk, 219 yards/100 grams. Color: Azurite solid.
Notions: knitting tool, tapestry needle.
Gauge: 20 sts x 24 rows= 4 inches in stockinette (unblocked)
Size: Fits up to a 21” circumference.
YO=Yarn over (ewrap empty peg; on the following row, undo the ewrap and lay the yarn bar in front of the peg).
K2tog=knit two stitches together. Move loop from the peg on the right over to the peg on the left, knit both loops together as one.
PSSO=Pass slipped stitch over.
Set up the Adjustable Hat Loom to 80 pegs, at small gauge: 2 rounded parts, 4 connectors (3 peg), 2 peg rails (9 peg), insert pegs in all the peg openings.
Cast on 80 sts, prepare to work in the rnd.
Rnd 1-6: K to the end of rnd.
Rnd 7: P to the end of rnd.
Rnd 8-13: K to the end of rnd.
Rnd 14: Pick up CO edge sts and place them back on the pegs. Each peg has 2 loops on it. k to the end of rnd, treating both loops as one.
Rnd 15: K to the end of rnd.
Rnd 16: *K1, yo, k3; rep from * to end.
Tip: Loom knitters have found that if they YO twice, the yarn has more slack to stretch over the 3 pegs. If you find that one YO is not enough, you may want to try YO twice.
Knit peg 1, Ewrap peg 1. Knit next 3 pegs.
Rnd 17: *Drop yo from Rnd 16, yo, sl 1, k3, psso; rep from * to end.
- 1. Undo the ewrap from peg 1. Remove the loop off peg 1. Gently pull on the stitch to elongate it. Place the elongated stitch over the next 3 pegs (pegs 2, 3, 4)
- 2. Ewrap empty peg (YO).
- 3. Knit the next 3 pegs (push down the elongated stitch, and reach for the loop on the peg to knit it, rep with the other 2 pegs).
- 4. **Remove the loop from peg 2 and hold it, grab the elongated stitch (the bar) and place it behind the peg, but in front of the knitted fabric. Place loop back on peg 2. Repeat the process from ** with pegs 3 and peg 4.
Rnd 18: K to the end of rnd.
Rep Rnds 15-18: 11 more times (or until desired length)
Next rnd: *k2tog; rep from * to end.
- Move the loops from the odd numbered pegs to the even numbered pegs (From peg 1 to peg 2, from peg 3 to peg 4, etc).
- Knit the rnd.
Bind off with gather removal method. Weave ends in. Steam block or wet block the lace portion section only (not the brim).
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