Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Knitting Loom Gauge and Size

Using the correct gauge loom for a certain project and yarn can make all the difference in the world how the finished item will look when done.  I encourage you to make notes for yourself when you make gauge swatches, so that you don't have to constantly repeat your swatches.

Different Loom Gauges
Most loom manufacturers state the loom gauge as a fraction of an inch.  The measurement is the distance from the center of a peg to center of the next peg.  You may see it written as C2C Space or C2C Gauge or just as Gauge.  

The standard gauges used by various loom makers are in the following chart.

This chart is just a guide.  For various types of yarns you can use a larger or smaller loom to achieve various looks.  For example most lace is done with Fine yarn or smaller but using a larger loom to achieve the open, airy look.  Another example is using Twisted Knit Stitches (ewrap) with a larger yarn on a smaller loom or using multiple strands of a smaller yarn on a larger loom.  This chart doesn't cover the various ways to set up a double rake for double knitting.

Loom Knitting Patterns
If you are following a pattern specifically for loom knitting try to use the loom and yarn listed in the pattern.  If that is not possible substitutions can be done and still achieve an item fairly close to the pattern.  This takes some trial and error and some practice.  Do a gauge swatch with the loom and yarn you wish to use to determine if it will work for that pattern.

Needle Knitting Patterns
If you are following a needle knit pattern get a yarn as close to the same weight as the one used in the pattern that you can get.  Look at the size needles the pattern calls for and use the chart above to determine which loom to use based on the needle size in the pattern.  I always suggest doing a gauge swatch and comparing it to the gauge measurement listed in the pattern.  If your swatch is too big (your number of stitches is the same but it measures bigger in inches) use a smaller loom, and if your swatch is too small (same number of stitches but measures smaller in inches) try using a bigger loom.  There is no fool proof way to get it exactly right.

I hope that the chart and notes I have here will help you get started.  Remember to make notes for yourself as you go.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Ask Mary: Can I make this?

Something I get asked a lot is if a certain item can be crocheted, knitted or loom knitted.  Usually there is an accompanying picture, but not always.  Most of the time it is either a crocheter wanting to make something that was knitted or a knitter wanting make something that was crocheted.  Another scenario where I am asked this question is someone wondering if they can make an item they have never seen a pattern for.

First of all if you can imagine it or think of it, then yes you can make it.  That doesn't mean it will be easy to figure out or that someone else already has a pattern written that you can follow.  But, if you can think of something then you can make it if you take the time to put in the effort of figuring out how to make it.  One other small point along these same lines:  If you are a beginner at your craft and see a pattern for something marked expert or advanced don't be afraid of it.  You can still make it.  Take your time, read all the directions first and look up the things you don't know and make notes.  Then when you actually start to work on the item take it one step at a time, you will be surprised at what you are capable of doing!

Now onto "Can I crochet this knit item?" and "Can I knit this crochet item?"  The simple answer is:  You can make something very close, but not something identical.  There are a few stitches in crochet that are mock knit stitches and a few stitches in knit that are mock crochet stitches.  But, in general if you want something that looks identical to the picture then use the craft and methods that the item in the picture was made with.  If you want an item that in general is close to the item in the picture then sure you can make it with a different craft but the exact stitches won't be the same.

There are a few books that I have seen over the years that will help you translate crochet into knitting and knitting into crochet.  There is also a club (Annie's Hook and Needle Kit Club) ran by Annie's Attic that will send you a project each month that has the yarn and instructions for making an item that has the pattern written for knitting and crochet.

Another question I am asked frequently is if needle knit patterns and stitches can be converted to loom knitting, and if so how.   Next week I will be answering the question of how to convert needle knit patterns to loom knitting.

If you have a question you would like for me to answer in my weekly Ask Mary series please send your question to:  Put ASK MARY in the subject line to make sure that I don't over look your question.