What is a knitting loom? Why it’s the most fantastical invention ever for lame-o and would-be knitters – even kids can use these with success!
I’ve tried to learn to knit, really I have. I know the basic stitches but every time I start knitting something, all loose and soft at the beginning, it turns tight and lumpy by the middle. I just don’t seem to have the attention span for it. Enter the knitting loom. Even I can knit with these knitting looms!
My children, from teenagers to four-year-olds, have enjoyed learning to knit on them, too. AND, my super-awesome husband knitted me a hat for my birthday. So, you can know that even your manly men with big hands can handle these knitting looms successfully.
What is a Knitting Loom?
There are several different brands and styles of knitting loom, but the basic design is the same. A knitting loom is set up with bunch of pegs on a frame, evenly spaced – onto these you “knit”.
- The round knitting looms can be used for hats and even socks – here’s a set similar to the one we have.
- The rectangular ones can be used for scarves and blankets – here are some similar to ours.
- You can use small hooks to help move the yarn along the loom, or you can simply use your fingers. This is what the hooks look like. I think they’re really helpful when you’re starting out. We’ve used crochet hooks, too, but these loom hooks are much better.
- Though the knitting loom was new to me, it is NOT a new concept. An elderly friend told me that her mother would hammer smooth nails into a wooden board in the correct sequence for her children to knit scarves and socks. She set the kids to work on these handmade knitting looms and then moved them onto knitting needles when they were older. What a great story!
How to Use a Knitting Loom?
If you’re teaching yourself or children to knit on a loom for the first time, the best thing to do is practice that basic stitch as you go around and around the loom. Don’t worry about making anything at first, if you don’t want to. The beginning movements of “casting on” (knitting lingo for setting up your yarn to make stitches) and creating rows of knitted fabric are fun to practice.
This is NOT a comprehensive tutorial – this post is just to introduce you to the knitting loom, if it was as new to you as it was to me! I tried teaching myself AND my children at the same time and ended up getting confused. I should have taught me first and then them – duh. Here are some things to keep in mind as you start learning.
Basic Things to Know:
- There are plenty of knitting loom how-to books. Here’s the one we have – click here. This is a basic one that covers simple patterns for 35 projects that anyone can do. There are separate books for things like afghans and socks.
- If you’re a visual learner, though, the books might confuse you more (as they did me). I went on YouTube to watch tutorials and then read the book’s instructions. If you have an experienced loom knitter friend, have them come over a few times to mentor you. This is THE best way to learn it, in my opinion!
- Clear a space on the couch for each loom knitting student and gather scissors for everyone. Set aside only as much time as your kids can pay attention. Don’t push and push to get through a full row if they’re starting to get bored or frustrated. This is supposed to be FUN! Go at the pace of your students, not your preconceived idea of how long each lesson should take.
- You’ll usually start with a slip knot to secure the yarn to the knitting loom before you start weaving the yarn onto it. Learn to tie a slip knot here.
- The next step will be to weave the yarn onto your knitting loom it a pattern particular to your instructions. Just know that when you’re starting out, it can be helpful to have another set of hands for this. This is especially true if you’re teaching a child to use a knitting loom. Feel free to help them hold the loom steady while your child weaves the yarn securely in place.
- The basic motion of using a knitting loom is that you’re constantly pulling the bottom layer of yarn on each peg, up and over the bottom layer and the peg itself. This is done peg by peg until you complete on turn around the knitting loom. This repetitive motion is simple and even relaxing. You’re children can do it easily, as long as they follow the instructions. With my youngest, I sit close by and watch in case they miss (or drop, in knitting lingo) a stitch.
- To see all the steps of using a knitting loom and to really learn how go watch this video. And this one.
A Few Kid Pictures:
Here are some shots of my seven-year-old using a knitting loom. See my hands holding the loom for her as she learns. It’s a fine line between being supportive and butting in. Be sure to ASK who wants help and be ready to back off when they want to try it themselves.
What Can We Really Knit to Start?
I can usually do a scarf in several hours of concerted effort, depending on if the baby will sleep. Hats are even faster.
We usually make a bunch this time of year for donating to local clothing drives for our shelters. These knitting looms give my children especially a chance to feel like they’re actually producing something useful. This is one of their favorite family service projects all year. Knitting looms make scarves and scarves make people warm – yay!
If you’re like another cozy service projects for kids, check out our Christmas Quilts post – don’t worry, there’s no machine sewing! It will require a few hand stitches, though. To learn those, please visit my friend Angi and her wonderfully simple hand-sewing video tutorials – click here.
For more service project ideas for this, or any time of year, be sure to check out our book, The 12 Days of Christmas! From service ideas to neighbor gifts to crafts and recipes, this book was designed to help you organize the fun and spirit of Christmas without the stress.
Like I said, even my four-year-old can make a hat with just a little help from me. My eleven- and nine-year-olds can work the looms on their own. My seven-year-old continued to produce items with her finger knitting until she watched us work the looms for awhile. (To learn more about finger knitting, here’s a sweet post on the subject by Homestead Honey and her daughters.) Now she can use them on her own for the most part with confidence. My husband even got into them last year and had so much fun making things with the kids. He even figured out how to make a little baby sock on the smallest round loom!
The only real limit is your imagination – you can do blankets and even a garment, if you’re clever.
A Few More Knitting Loom and Other Tutorial Links
- Here’s from High Hill Education, another homeschooler’s post on knitting looms – love fun school/service projects!!!
- So, if you’re already good at this loom knitting thing, you can go here to learn how to make socks!!!
- If you’d like to knit fur reelz and you want to look uber cool in front of your fiber friends, learn how to make your own knitting needles at Green Eggs and Goats. AND, when you’ve done that, you can knit these with your new needles, also from Green Eggs and Goats. Or this Super Scarf from Imaginacres.
- If you want to try crochet, which is my next favorite thing, try these wonderful hand warmers from Timber Creek Farm. Or a baby blanket like this one from Reformation Acres.
- If you need to make a scarf for a quick gift that requires no knitting of any kind, here’s this from The Untrained Housewife.