Monday, July 18, 2016

Loom Knitting: Weekend Shawl Pattern

When I got my first set of knitting looms in 2004, I had no clue how to use them and at that time I couldn't find much information.  There was one little sheet of paper in the set of Knifty Knitters that explained how to do the ewrap stitch and how to cast on and bind off, but it was really basic and left me with more questions than answers.  I did know the basics of needle knitting, I just was really horrible at it and wanted to be able to knit, which is why I bought the looms.  

This pattern was made up as a last minute gift that I needed.  I had made only one other thing, a shoulder wrap type thing, on my looms; which my sister ended up with and still has!  So I made this pattern up so that I could finish it quickly and still have a nice gift.

This pattern can be used on any loom with at least 40 pegs (or multiple of 5 pegs, so if you have a smaller gauge loom you could use say 60, 80, or even 100 pegs to get your desired width) and with any weight yarn.  For the basic pattern I used a 41 peg Knifty Knitter loom, but you can use a 40 peg Boye loom, or any of the other 3/4" gauge looms with 40 pegs.  Using a 3/4" gauge loom the thicker the yarn the less lacy the shawl and the thinner the yarn the more lacy the shawl.

Really, you can take this basic pattern and experiment and make many things that are very unique, just by changing the yarn you use and the gauge of the loom you use.

This pattern works up really fast!!  That is the reason the name Weekend Shawl was chosen as the name.  Until just a few days ago, I had never even thought of giving it a name, since I hadn't really shared it with many people and didn't plan to write it up as a real pattern.  In the looming group Loomaholics Anonymous on Facebook, someone that I'd shared it with awhile back asked about it again and several more people decided to give it a try as well.  One of those ladies is actually the one that named the shawl, thank you Donna for finally giving it a name!

Notes:  Mark your pegs before you begin, so you know what you are knitting and what you are skipping.  Work in a flat panel back and forth, do not join or knit in the round.  Use the ewrap knit stitch to make this faster, however it will work just fine with any knit stitch you prefer.

Cast on using any cast that you prefer, I use the simple ewrap cast on

Row 1:  Knit 4, skip 2, * knit 3, skip 2; Repeat from * around to last 5 pegs (4 if you are using a 40 peg loom), Knit 4 (if using a 41 peg loom do not use the last peg for anything.)

Repeat Row 1 until the desired length.  This length will be from wrist to wrist across your back with your arms stretched out.

Bind off:  I bind off in a weird way using a crochet hook and adding in some crochet chains to keep it from being tight on the bind off end.  If you don't feel comfortable doing this, another member of the Loomaholics Anonymous group suggested using Jeannie Phillips Loose Cast Off Stitch.  I haven't tried it yet, but it looks like it would work great.  Thank you Dani for suggesting it!  Here is the video for that:

I hope this helps you to make a shawl that you will fall in love with!  If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to leave me a comment below or join Loomaholics Anonymous Group on Facebook to get in touch with me.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Loom Knitting: Make a simple afghan or blanket

I'm going to explain how to make your own pattern for an afghan or blanket using a knitting loom.  These directions will work no matter what size you are making or what yarn and loom you are using.
Start by picking your yarn and loom.  Do a swatch, to determine the gauge you are getting using the yarn you picked with the loom you are working with.  I explain how to do a swatch here:  Ask Mary:  Do I have to do a gauge swatch?

After you know how many stitches and rows you need to make the size you want, pick a cast on method.  I suggest using one of the cast on method demonstrated and discussed in this video:

I suggest using one of these because further down I will tell you how to keep your edges neat and give another video of bind off methods to pick from which will have all four edges of your piece looking very neat and matching.

Cast on the required number of pegs you need.  If you need all the pegs on your loom mark the first and last pegs so that you remember to turn on them and not keep going as if you were knitting in the round.

All knitting curls unless you mix some purls in with the knit stitches to stop it.  So making a garter stitch border around the whole piece as you go will stop the curling.  Use the numbers from your gauge swatch to determine how to many rows at the beginning and ending need to be done in garter stitch and how many pegs on each side of every row need to be done in garter stitch.  This is where many new loom knitters start to get frustrated.  Don't let yourself get bogged down with this, take a deep breath and wade right in... once you get the hang of it, you will think it is simple.  If you are having trouble with this part leave a comment below or reach me on Facebook at:  Loomaholics Anonymous Group

A side note here... when working a garter stitch it doesn't matter which type of knit stitch you use with the purls.  You can use a regular (or some call it a true knit) stitch, a U stitch, a L stitch or an ewrap stitch.  They all work.  So use whichever one you prefer.

A way to keep your edges nice and neat is to use a slip stitch on both ends of every row from start to finish.  If you are not familiar with how to do a slip stitch watch this video:

After your garter rows use what ever stitch you want for your afghan or blanket.  The ewrap is a popular stitch because it is so fast and blankets tend to take so much time just because of their size.  Don't forget to do the garter stitches on both sides (ends of the row) of the whole blanket though to keep those edges from curling.  Mark those pegs so you remember.

When you are finished with the main part of your blanket, do the same number of garter rows before you bind off.  Pick one of the 2 bind off methods demonstrated and discussed in this video to match your cast on edge:

I hope this helps you to make your first afghan or blanket on a knitting loom and takes the stress out of figuring it all out!  If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to leave me a comment below or join Loomaholics Anonymous Group on Facebook to get in touch with me.