Previously, I shared one of my favorite ways to deal with stress. While gaming is a great way to unwind after a hectic shift, I found an even better, long-term way to alleviate stress: loom knitting! Knitting without needles has been incredibly therapeutic. It’s relaxing, keeps me focused on achieving a goal and once I’ve finished a project, I have something tangible to give as a gift or to keep for myself. But the absolute best thing about loom knitting is that it’s incredibly easy to learn. I’ve been doing it for two years and made over seventy different projects from hats, scarves, bags, socks and blankets. All you need is patience and a free afternoon to get going!
Before You Get Started
Loom knitting is a relatively inexpensive hobby to start. For most projects, you need a loom, a loom tool, a crochet needle, and yarn. The type of loom you’ll need depends on what project you wish to start. Most people start out learning how to make scarves on the loom, so for a thick scarf suitable for winter weather, a rectangular loom is best. For a light fall or spring scarf, a round loom is fine. Generally, rectangular looms are for scarves, blankets, place mats and similar projects. Round looms are for hats, scarves, gloves and socks.
Craft stores like Michaels and Joann’s sell round and rectangular loom kits. These kits usually come with four looms of different sizes and include a loom knitting tool which allows you to knit. Both stores often have 50% off coupons which allow buyers to buy these kits at around $10 each. Add a crochet needle and two skeins of yarn and you can start your first project for under $20!
Back to Basics
So what is loom knitting? In the most basic of terms, it involves twisting yarn around pegs on a loom. On a rectangular loom, you work from left to right then right to left, creating loops of yarn around the pegs while on a round loom, you work in a circle. Using a knitting tool, you take the bottom loop on a peg and flip it over the top loop, pushing the worked yarn through the bottom frame. You continue making rows until you are happy with the length of the project. Typically, when making scarves using the basic stitch AKA Stockinette, one skein is enough for a child while two skeins are enough for an adult.
Yarn It to Heck!
While it’s cheap to get started, I’m going to be honest and tell you that yarn is going to be an issue- an often expensive one. It’s an essential part of knitting so you will eventually splurge. You will get addicted to different types. You will move past your Red Heart Super Saver phase and venture into the world of 100% organic Alpaca wool from Chile.
If you go into this knowing that you will treat every Sunday like it’s Black Friday because you’re hoping that your favorite yarn is on sale so you can stock up, you’ll be okay. Just breathe and make that craft room you’ve always wanted.
Looking at patterns, you may notice terms like “worsted”, “bulky” or “roving”. These terms refer to the size of the yarn that needs to be used for a project. I’ve found that size 5 yarn – also known as bulky, chunky, crafty or rug- works the best for standard looms. It has the right thickness for the gauge and is very easy to manipulate over the pegs. My favorite brands for this type of yarn are Michaels’ Charisma, Lion’s Pride Woolspun, and Lion Brand Scarfie.
If you’d like a looser stitch, size 4 or worsted yarn will work, but keep in mind that the stitches will be large. If you’d like something luxuriously thick, size 6 or super bulky is for you. If you use super bulky, it might be more tedious to lift the yarn over the pegs. For this reason, I tend to use super bulky on round looms because of the wider spacing (gauge) between the pegs.
Although there are several loom knitting books out there, I mostly follow video tutorials on YouTube because I am a visual learner. The best thing about videos is that you can pause and pick up right where you left off and rewind in case you miss something.
My absolute favorite YouTuber is Tutéate, a DIY blogger from South America who has tutorials on everything from dog sweaters to slippers to cowls to amigurumi. Their tutorials are in English and Spanish and are very easy to follow. One thing that annoys me about some tutorials is the small talk before the lesson and how they refuse to show the completed project until the very end.. Tutéate not only shows the finished project in the video thumbnail, every video has a short list of supplies you’ll need before they go right into the lesson. The initial steps are repeated in slow motion so you can easily pick up the more difficult stitches without missing a beat.
Another great YouTuber is Denise from Loomahat. Like Tutéate, her videos get right to the looming. Most of her projects involve hats, including the popular slouchy beanies, but she also has an extensive library of shawls, socks, and even different stitch techniques. She also offers lessons in troubleshooting viewers’ issues regarding their own projects. She is also an established author with several books that are available on Amazon.
Kristen from GoodKnitKisses is another DIYer who offers video tutorials on traditional knitting, crochet and loom knitting. In addition to her extensive loom knitting catalog, she also offers product reviews and unboxing videos to help viewers make an educated decision before purchasing products.
Now that you know how to get started, it’s time to Netflix and Knit!