Friday, December 13, 2013

Part 2: Loomin' Up A Storm!

I have really gotten caught up in the whole knit looming thing.  It's something you can do watching tv or just relaxing with no sound around at all.  It's a stress releaser like sewing is for me. I started making some hats for the homeless in my hometown.  Below are some items I have made.  I've made several hats, but now need to focus on more scarves.

The hats go pretty quickly in making them.  I don't use much of a pattern The initial stitches are chained on then the first row being stitched as a purl.  Then for another 2 1/2" of length, alternate knit and purl after the initial purl stitch  Then you switch over to all knit stitches for the rest of the hat.  I make them about 12" in length and use the gathered method in binding off and closing the hole at the top.  This is a simple hat and pretty easy to make.  Of course, there are a lot of other hat patterns out there.

Here are some of my loom knitting tools.  My favorite loom hook is the orange thicker-handled one in the front which I have since lost so I gotta replace it.  It makes a big difference in how my hand feels using it.

So, starting on the left, you can see some balls of yarn and a long wooden stick I was using for stuffing 2 strands of yarn (a smaller crochet hook works better I have found out from a friend) into my homemade yarn guide (instructions for making one below) which is so easy to use, especially for long looms depending on the pattern.  In the front are the various loom hooks.  All, but the orange thick one came in the package with whatever looms I bought.  Next in the middle are stitch markers, but I really use them as a place marker between my first and last pegs for my rows.  In the bag is a scarf I have almost completed for the homeless, made on a long Knifty Knitter loom (my favorite).  The white bunch you see are my several yarn guides I've made.  I use about a size I or J crochet hook to chain on stitches to a round loom.  And lastly, the yarn needle in the front right.  This is a must when finishing up your project.  It's used for the gathered binding off method and to weave in yarn strands from your beginning slip knot yarn piece to the yarn that is left (about 18" I leave for weaving it in) once the yarn is all gathered onto the yarn needle.  If you have any questions about this, let me know.  I have to credit YouTube big time in helping me learn various techniques, as well as the awesome loom knitting books I have been accumulating.

What is a yarn guide and how do you make one?  You have to make your own because you can't buy one.  A yarn guide is used to get your yarn between the pegs, keeping the yarn taut throughout, without having to use your fingers to wrap the pegs.  It also keeps your gauge consistent throughout your project.  You put your yarn through it using a small (blue) crochet hook), then tie a slip knot to begin whatever loom project you desire.  To make one (I have made several) is to take a ball point pen (Paper Mate brand works well, or a generic brand of value pack of pens) and using needle nose pliers, take off the round piece at the top of the pen--just grab it lightly, you don't want to damage the edges which would scrape your yarn--and loosen that piece and pull it off.  Do the same with pen piece used for writing at the other end.  Now, you have an empty pen barrel.  I throw away the leftover pen pieces.  It makes looming so much easier, if, for example, you want to do a figure 8 scarf on a long loom like in the picture above.  You can see my yarn guide that's attached to it.

If this is clear as mud, then let me know and I can answer your questions.  There are some good videos on YouTube for the figure 8 long loom scarf.  Have I won you over enough in your curiosity to take up this fun hobby?  I am definitely hooked ;-))

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