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!