knitting loom The Knifty Knitter Looms Helpful Tips
Looming Yarns
Wrapping The Pegs
Casting On
Types of Stitches
The Purl Stitch
The Flat Stitch
The SlipStitch
Joining New Yarn/ Making Stripes
The Yarn Over
Cables
The End
Crochet Bind Off
The Knit Bind Off
The Purl Bind Off
The Gather Method
Super Stretchy Bind Off

by Mei Travis
Knitting Instructor
http://yarngear.com/looms/tips.htm



There are more ways to knit on the knitting looms than you can imagine! Just like with knitting needles, you can purl and make pretty stitch patterns, too!

The instructions included with your looms are a great source for getting started. The tips here are written assuming you already know those basics. From my knitting experience, you can learn much more about looming, too.


LOOMING YARNS


These looms work best with bulky-weight yarns. Read the labels, and look for brands that recommend size 11 to 17 knitting needles (8 to 12 mm). Each loom is designed with a slightly different gauge, meaning each loom knits at a unique tension, or stitches per inch, because of the space difference between each loom's pegs. The small blue loom is the tightest, and the tension/gauge gets looser with each progressively bigger loom. The purple double-rake loom has a looser tension as well. Due to these different tensions, yarns in the lighter end of the 11 - 17 range might be better on the smaller looms. Comparatively, the heavier weight yarns might work better on the larger looms.

Using multiple strands of thinner yarns is great too - just add up the recommend millimeter needle sizes of each yarn, so that you get a total of about 10 to 15 mm. To use 2 strands of the same yarn, it's easiest work with 2 separate skeins, but you can also try 1 strand from inside and 1 strand from outside of the same skein, if you don't mind untwisting the yarn occasionally. Mixing 2 or 3 strands of completely different yarns leads to fascinating results.

WRAPPING THE PEGS


Don't wrap the yarn too tightly. Only wrap with enough tension to keep your new loops from falling off the pegs. Like a necktie, you want to wrap, not choke it! Your hands will thank you. Some yarns have more stretch than others. 100% wool is quite springy, so you can wrap a little tighter than 100 % cotton, which has very little spring.

CASTING ON


The traditional cast-on (2 rows of e-wrap) can leave an undesirably looser edge than its traditional bind-off counterpart. For some patterns this is ok, like when you're going to make a brim by pulling up that cast on row onto your pegs. For a tighter cast-on, one that is nearly even with your knitting's tension, try this:

Wrap the first 2 beginning rows/rounds as usual. Beginning with the last peg wrapped on the first row/round, knit each subsequent peg moving towards the tail (at the first peg you wrapped). As you knit each peg, pull the bottom loop up and over firmly, tightening the slack of the previous peg, and as you knit closer towards the tail, the loop of slack will get larger as you pull out more and more slack with each peg. Finally, tug on the tail to tighten that last peg. Since you'll get several inches of slack with this method, you'll only need a tiny tail in the beginning - just enough to hitch the yarn.

This method also works wonderfully on the purple double rake loom, though I've only tried it with the stitches in the Knifty Knitter 2 booklet. Again, starting with the last peg wrapped of the first row, knit off, carefully following the zigzag path of the yarn of the first wrapped row across the loom towards the tail. Pull out the slack with each stitch, finally ending with the tail.

TYPES OF STITCHES


If you needle knit also, you will immediately recognize that knitting the standard e-wrap on a loom produces a twisted, or plaited, knit stitch. There is nothing wrong with a twisted stitch, other than it looks a little different. Featured in many beautiful stitch patterns, the twisted stitch is achieved by either knitting through the back loop, or wrapping the yarn around the needle backwards.

THE PURL STITCH


There are two different ways I make the purl stitch on the loom. Both are the same structure, but use slightly different techniques:

For the first method, don't wind the yarn across the entire loom, and purl one stitch at a time. Bring yarn in front of the peg, straight across and below the loop on the peg. Stick your hook into the top loop, reach down and grab the yarn below, to pull it up and through the top loop, and hold onto it out of the way, as you pull the loop off the peg, into the loom, then put that pulled loop back onto the peg. Pull the yarn just enough to fit the new stitch on the peg, but don't pull it tightly.

For the second method, wind the pegs for an entire round/row as usual. When you reach a peg to purl, simply pop the top loop of the loom. Now bring the resulting strand in front of the peg, and below the bottom loop. From the top of the peg, insert your pick downward into the loop wrapped on the peg, and grap that strand below it, pulling it up through the loop. If you don't wrap too tightly, you should be able to pull the new loop up firmly, which should pull the old loop off the peg and into the loom, or just push it off with a spare finger, all while still holding the new loop with your pick, and place it back onto the peg. You can also give the new loops a twist before placing it back on the loom, to match your twisted knit stitches, but it is not necessary, and can make the loop tighter and more difficult to place on the peg.

THE FLAT STITCH


This produces the equivalent of the standard knit stitch. It, too, can be knitted in two slightly different methods. For the first method, don't wind the yarn across the entire loom, and knit one stitch at a time. Bring yarn in front of the peg, straight across and above the loop on the peg. Knit this bottom loop over the yarn strand. Give the strand, now the new loop on the peg, a little tug to loosen it. Otherwise, this flat stitch will be too tight to knit the next row.

For the second method, wind the pegs for an entire round/row as usual. When you reach a peg to knit the flat stitch, simply pop the top loop of the loom, and place it back on the peg, still keeping it as the top loop, but it will be a loose strand now. As usual, knit your bottom loop over the strand like a regular stitch. This is a good method to use if you have trouble with your flat stitches being too tight with the first method.

THE SLIP STITCH


You can skip, or slip, pegs too. Just carry the yarn behind the slipped peg, and do nothing with the loop on the peg, while wrapping and knitting all other pegs as usual. When you return to that slipped pegs, wrap and knit as usual. In stitch patterns, this is the equivalent of slipping with the yarn in the back of the work. To slip with the yarn in the front of the work, lift the loop off the peg, pass the yarn strand behind the peg, but in front of the loop, and replace the loop.

Slipping the same peg entirely, including the initial cast-on wrap, will produce a "ladder" down the length of your fabric. Slipping a peg for several rows in the middle of your work will create a gathered effect. Rows combining slipped pegs and different colors of yarn every one or two rows can produce interesting mosaic patterns.

JOINING NEW YARN / MAKING STRIPES


Eventually you will reach the end of a ball of yarn. To join a new ball, finish the row/round, leaving at least a 6 inches of tail secured to your hitch peg. Then hitch the new ball of yarn, again, leaving 6 inches of tail, and simply wrap it as your second row, and continue knitting as usual. After 2 rows, unhitch the tails, and you can tie them so the knot is on the wrong side, or just simply secure the loose ends by weaving through the wrong side of you knitting.

To change colors, simply cut the old color at the end of a row, and follow the directions above for beginning a new ball, but in a different color, of course. After finish knitting, just weave in those loose strands into its corresponding color. With one to three row stripes, there's no need to cut the old color. Simply drop the old color yarn inside the loom/behind the peg, and start knitting with the new color. Then knit 2 rows, and drop the new color behind the peg, and pick up the old color
again. Repeat.

THE YARN-OVER


The the staple of lace knitting, it's both an increase and a hole in your knitting, so it also makes a great buttonhole. On a loom, it's like knitting a yarn over alongside a paired decrease, such as k2tog, or SSK. Simply move the loop where you want the hole over to its neighbor peg. Knit off those two loops as one loop when you wrap and knit the row. The yarn-over peg is knitted the row after that, when a second loop is wrapped upon it.

CABLES


These are the wonderful twisted/braided stitch patterns made famous in traditional Aran fisherman sweaters. Because of the nature of the loom, wide cables are difficult to execute, but you can make small cables quite simply. Most cable stitches are made in a stockinnette (knit) column against a purl, seed, or moss stitch background.

Remember to keep your knitting loose, then for each twist, switch the loops of 2 pegs every 2, 4, or 6 rows repeatedly, depending on how tight you like your cable. For a left-spiral, cross the right loop in front of the left, and for a right-spiral, cross the left loop in front. For a braid on three pegs, follow this simple four (or six) row pattern: Every 2nd (or 3rd) row, twist the right and center peg, crossing the center loop in front. Then every 4th (or 6th) row, twist the left and center peg, again crossing the center loop in front.

THE END


To end your knitting, you must bind off (a.k.a. cast off in some circles). With all these bind off methods, wind and knit the last row very loosely, where the stitches are almost falling off the pegs, then try one of these. . . .

THE CROCHET BIND-OFF


1. With a 10 mm crochet hook, pick up the loop closest to the yarn ball.
2. Place the loop on the next peg onto the crochet hook, too.
3. Wrap the yarn, from back to front, over the top of the crochet hook.
4. Pull the wrap through both loops on the hook.
5. You now have one loop on the hook.
Repeat steps 2 thru 5.
When you reach the last loop, snip about 8 in. of yarn, pull through loop, and weave in the end.
Admire your work.

THE KNIT BIND-OFF


Apple is the loop farthest from the free yarn.
Pick up the second to the last loop, Berry, and put her on Apple.
Knit Apple over Berry, then move Berry back to her peg.
Pick up Cherry and put her on Berry.
Knit Cherry over Berry, then move Cherry back to her pegs....
When you have one last loop, snip about 8 in. of yarn, pull through loop, and weave in the ends.
Admire your work.

THE PURL BIND-OFF


Pick up last loop, farthest from free yarn.
Call this loop Apple.
Put Apple on her neighbor Berry's peg.
Stick hook through top of Apple, grab Berry to pull through Apple.
Hold onto Berry while you slide Apple off the peg, and put Berry onto his neighbor Cherry.
Stick hook through top of Berry, grab Cherry to pull through Berry.
Hold onto Cherry while you slide Berry off the peg, and put Cherry onto her neighbor. . . etc.
When you reach the last loop, snip about 8 in. of yarn, pull through loop, and weave in the ends.
Admire your work.

THE GATHER METHOD

This is for a rounded closed tube, like the top of a hat. There's no need to knit the last row loosely. Simply cut the yarn, leaving about 12 inches. Then beginning with the first peg, sew through each loop one at a time, popping them off the loom as you go, then finish by pulling tightly, just like a drawstring bag, and secure the tail. Or for a more security, cut a separate 12-inch strand of yarn, thread it on a needle and sew it through each loop, one by one, starting with the first peg, and ending with the last. You can pull off each loop off the loom as you go. Pull both ends of the 12-inch strand tightly to draw the knitting together, and tie in a square knot with the tail. Sometimes this is easier with a spare finger, like for tieing ribbon on gifts!

SUPER-STRETCHY BIND-OFF


This is great for those magic or three-way scarves. There's no need to knit the last row loosely.

Cut yarn, leaving enough tail to wrap around the loom 4
times, then thread the tail through a tapestry needle.

The yarn tail should be at the last peg, so bring the tail
past the 1st peg, and sew UP through the 2nd peg, then DOWN
through the 1st peg. Sew UP through the 3rd peg, then DOWN
through the 2nd peg. Sew UP through the 4th peg, then DOWN
through the 3rd peg. Sew UP through the 5 peg, then DOWN
through the 4th....

Follow this sequence, pulling the yarn snug as you sew,
keeping the needle in front of the previous UP strand and you sew DOWN
through the loops. The last sequence will be UP through the 1st peg,
then DOWN through the last. You will make the equivalent of
little cursive E's all around the loom. Now pop everything off your loom,
and voila - stretchy bind-off.

This is also useful for flat pieces. Cut tail, leaving
enough yarn for 4 times the width of the active pegs.
The peg with the yarn tail is #1, its neighbor is #2,
the next is #3, etc.

Sew UP through #2, then DOWN through #1.
Sew UP through #3, then DOWN through #2.
Sew UP through #4, then DOWN through #3, etc.
The last stitch will be UP through the last peg,
DOWN through the 2nd to last peg, then UP through the last peg once more.

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I hope these tips will help you make loom knitting more versatile and enjoyable. Though I don't always have time to answer or help you personally, I'll post more tips as I keep knitting and learning them.

Warm wishes for lovely looming,

Mei Travis
Knitting Instructor
http://yarngear.com/looms/tips.htm

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