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! If you’re knew to knitting looms, we hope this article will help you get the resources you need to start on a knitting loom this week. You could have a project done in a few hours to a few days!
Is Loom Knitting Easier than Needle Knitting?
Let’s cut to the chase right away! I’ve tried to learn needle knitting (regular knitting), 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 – they’re so easy!
My children, from teenagers to four-year-olds, have enjoyed learning to knit on them, too.
Even 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.
- The rectangular ones can be used for scarves and blankets.
- You can use small hooks to help move the yarn along the loom, or you can simply use your fingers. I think the hooks are 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 Do You Knit on a Loom for Beginners?
Full disclosure: This is NOT a comprehensive tutorial (but I have some tutorial linked at the end). This purpose of this post is to introduce you to the knitting loom, if it was as new to you as it was to me!
Each store-bought loom comes with instructions. There are also quality books you can purchase for more advanced projects. We own and use the book, Loom Knitting Primer: A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting on a Loom with Over 35 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits), by Isela Phelps. I usually buy my books used on Thriftbooks.com.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 other things to keep in mind as you start learning.
Basic Things to Know About Knitting on a Knitting Loom:
- 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 with Sheep and Stitch.
- 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 op onto each peg, up and over the bottom layer and the peg itself. This is done peg by peg until you complete one 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 see our suggested resources at the end of the article.
Can You Use Any Yarn for Loom Knitting?
The basic answer to that question is yes, you can use any yarn on a knitting loom. However, there are some things to consider.
Chunkier weighted yarns will get a project complete quicker but they can sometimes be clunky to use, especially for little kid hands. The resulting product will be bulky and soft and squishy, which can be the exact desired result!
However, super lightweight yarns that are thin take a long time to complete a project and can sometimes be finicky to use. The resulting product will be fine and elegant and smooth, which can be the exact desired result!
The best thing to do is experiment. I tend to like medium weight to bulky yarns that are super soft. I also favor natural fibers like cotton over synthetic fibers because they breathe better.
With the bulky yarns, be careful not to split the yarn’s twist (the single threads that have been plied together to form the yarn) over a peg as you’re knitting. This can cause hiccoughs – ask me how I know.
Kids Using a Knitting Loom – Pictures!
Here are two 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.
Can We Really Start Knitting Right Away?
Here are some examples of what our family has managed to do with very limited needle-knitting experience among us.
- My four-year-old can make a hat with just a little help from me.
- My eleven- and nine-year-old 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.
I can usually make a scarf on a knitting loom in several hours of concerted effort, depending on if the baby will sleep. Hats are even faster.
Use Knitting Looms for Easy Service Projects
We usually make a quantity of scarves and hats this time of year for donating to local clothing drives for our shelters. This is one of my children’s favorite family service projects!
These knitting looms give my children a chance to feel like they’re actually producing something useful. 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.
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.
A Few Knitting Loom Tutorial & Other Useful Links
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