Common Myths In Loom Knitting!

Every day I get similar questions asking me "what brand loom did you use?", "my hat doesn't fit, why?", "can I change the stitch, the u-knit is too tight?", "you can do that on a loom?", etc. Today I'm going to answer some of these questions and more. More questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments section of this post and I'll do my best to answer them. Disagree with me? Let me know, I love hearing your opinions.

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The Loom Brand Matters

Myth. Although all loom knitters have their preference of looms, the brand of the loom does not affect the outcome of the project. When doing a pattern it's the gauge or peg spacing of the loom that matters. All things equal, using the same gauge of loom as used in the pattern sample should give you the same result. Also, pay attention to whether you will be knitting in the round or double knitting such as on a rake.

The brand doesn't matter except to the manufacturer. Needle knitting pattern designers do not write their patterns for specific needle brands (unless they represent that brand), just sizes/gauges. Don't get hung up on having the exact loom. If you meet gauge and have the right amount of stitches your pattern will turn out. As I've said before, the math doesn't lie.

It's fine to prefer certain loom brands (I do!), just don't spend money to do one pattern if you already have the same gauge loom in your stash.

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Same knitting tension + peg spacing + yarn = Same Results

Round looms are only for hats and knitting "in the round"

Myth. Round looms are the most versatile looms as you can knit flat panels on them or knit "in the round". A round loom is not just for knitting in the round.

If the round loom is an "adult" hat loom, the finished hat will fit all adults

Myth. The circumference of the loom is just a starting point for sizing. The stitch + yarn used + knitting tension will all affect the sizing of your hat. Some stitches are so loose that you will need to use a "child's" size loom for an adult and other stitches have so much tension that an extra large loom will be needed to knit the same size hat. The only way to be sure is to knit a sample swatch. See the gauge link below for information on gauging your loom knits. It's also important to realize that you can use the same stitch and yarn as another loomer but still end up with a different size hat due to how tight or loose you make your stitches.

Plastic "cheaper" looms are beginner looms

Myth. The material used to make a loom might be a loomers' preference but does not determine the ability or skills of the knitter. I'm a proficient loom knitter and still use my plastic looms daily to do everything from chunky knits to delicate Japanese lace.

If you are new to loom knitting, it is recommended that you choose a cheaper loom set to start until you determine if you like the fiber art and what you do and don't like in a loom.

It's hard to learn how to read a loom/needle knitting pattern, videos are easier.

Myth. This is only true in the short term. These days with the availability of YouTube videos, there is not a day that goes by that I'm not requested to do a video for a pattern. The pressure for videos is intense. I actually am of the belief that videos are making it harder for knitters to learn the language of knitting. When you watch someone do something and mimic those movements you really don't learn the process as well as if you were working through the pattern on your own. It's no different than driving somewhere on your own or having someone pointing out directions to you in the car...did you really learn the way to the destination? Think about it. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on the level of engagement.  

Pattern videos keep you dependant on others to show you how to do everything. Learning the abbreviations in loom knitting/knitting gives you the freedom to try new things as you will recognize and be able to read the patterns. Designers like myself that use needle knitting terms, to the extent possible, do that so that you can easily convert and read regular knitting patterns. I don't want you to be dependant on me, I want you to have the knowledge to explore everything this fiber art has to offer. 

Take a little time to memorize and learn the movements and abbreviations used in loom/needle knitting and I guarantee you that you will spend a lot less time being confused and seeking out videos. You will be able to go from pattern to pattern with no need for a video.  If you believe yourself to be a "visual" learner than use the videos to learn a movement and abbreviation than follow the written patterns using that knowledge. This will actually speed up your learning and the loom knitting process. Using the video as a tool in conjunction with pattern reading becomes a win, win. 

There are 30,600,000 results on Google for knitting patterns (my last search), only a small handful of these are available on video. Only doing videos greatly limits what you can do on the loom. Learning how to read a pattern gives you access to almost all of them, both loom knitting patterns and needle knitting patterns. Wow, Now that's a great reason to learn how to read a pattern!

Do you really have ONE learning style? The research says no.

The e-wrap knit stitch (twisted stockinette) is easier than the knit stitches (stockinette)

Myth. Most loom knitters find the e-wrap knit (ewk) easier because it was the first stitch they learned and are most comfortable with it. Also, I believe loom knitters become enamored with the ewk because it grows faster than regular stockinette because it is a looser stitch. The same number of rows and stitches will give you almost double the size of the u-knit stitch. The e-wrap knit is faster but not easier.

It is no easier to fully wrap a peg for an e-wrap knit stitch than to half wrap a peg for a u-knit stitch. If you can do a purl stitch than the regular knit is just the opposite of that. The flat knit is as easy as it gets as no wrapping is required (although this stitch has lots of tension, causing it to tighten if not being careful and using appropriate yarn). Find out about the knit stitches here!

U-knit stitches are tight

Nope. If your u-knit stitches are getting tight then you are using too tight of a tension or you are pulling on your yarn creating a flat knit. You must make the U behind the peg, knit the stitch and then move onto the next peg but do not yank on the yarn. If you pull on the yarn, you instantly turn your U-knit into a flat knit (much tighter tension). Knit stitches on the loom

You can't knit large cables on the loom

Myth. Yes, you can! We must use different methods to do the large cables and all of our cables look a little different than needle knitting but we can make large cables using looms. Click here to find out how to do a 6-stitch cable. You can also find even larger cables being done on the loom by doing an internet search.

Fair Isle is not suitable for the loom

Myth. Fair Isle is perfectly suited to the loom as we have a clear visual reference for our stitches so placement of the colors is manageable. It's also easy to handle the floats once you learn how. Click here to find out how

Loom knitting is limited to hats, scarves and easy stuff. "I didn't know you could make "THAT" on a loom!"

Myth. Almost any needle or machine knitted item can be made on the loom. Sometimes we must develop different methods and techniques but most knits can be done on the loom from colorwork to lace and beyond. Don't limit yourself as a loom knitter, you can do all of the needle/machine knits.

The e-wrap knit stitch is Stockinette Stitch

No. It is twisted stockinette and produces a "dropped V" not the neat V stitch of Stockinette. It is also a much more meshy, open stitch then traditional Stockinette due to the twist producing extra stitch length. It is important to know the differences between the two and their uses.

Stockinette stitch (k) has crisper edges and neat rows making it perfect for Fair Isle, duplicate stitch, and other colorwork.  Fair Isle worked in e-wrap knit (twisted stockinette) will have a more "mottled" appearance, due to the stitches natural squiggly texture and will not look like traditional Fair Isle. If you want a more "open", loose stitch then e-wrap knit will give you that.

The e-wrap knit is the most common stitch associated to "loom knits". Although you don't commonly see this stitch in needle knitting, it can be done on the needles too. 

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e-wrap knit stitch (ewk), looser and less tailored stitch.

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Stockinette Stitch (K), tighter & more organized/tailored stitch.

Moving stitches around to do lace on the loom is just too "hard"

Myth. It shouldn't be hard at all. If it is for you, then you need to knit looser. Most problems with stitch movement come from knitting with too tight a tension. Practice knitting with a looser tension before attempting lace patterns. Like anything, lace just requires a little practice. Using an elastic type yarn, such as wool, can also make moving the stitches easier. Knitting a sample/gauge swatch in the pattern stitch will help you work out the tension needed for the given stitch.

Needle knitting is "real" knitting

Yes, this is true, but so is loom knitting and machine knitting. All are worthy of the fiber arts and produce similar fabric. 

Loom knitting is cheating

Myth. I've had countless people say this to me. I hand them my loom and say "show me how to cheat", they all look at me like I'm crazy because they have no idea how to use it. Each and every stitch is worked by the loom knitter, just like in needle knitting. There's no cheating involved.

All wool is "itchy"

Myth. Not all wool is created equal, some wool is quite soft. If you've been sensitive to wool in the past, try high-quality Merino Wool (it has a long fiber) as it is rated as the softest. Not all Merino wool is high-quality so research the brand before buying. Before knitting with a wool, place a piece against your neck or wrist (and wear it for a bit) to check for softness. Wools blended with silk and other soft fibers are also a good choice. Wools marketed for babies are also a good place to start as these should be bred/processed for sensitive skin.

You are most likely not "allergic" to wool (this is rare) just because you find it "itchy", more than likely the chosen wool is just coarse with a short fiber causing a skin sensitivity. Shorter fibers tend to stick out and feel prickly, use coarser wools for totes, crafts and felting projects that will not touch the skin.

Besides the staple length, for softness, it matters how the wool was spun/processed, woolen or worsted. Woolen yarns do not arrange the yarn, leaving short and long staples somewhat haphazardly arranged. The shorter fibers that stick out can prickle the skin more. 

Gauge doesn't matter in loom knitting

Myth. Yes, it does, your gauge or "knitting tension" matters and will always affect the size of your finished project. Learn about gauge here. Some projects will not require accurate gauge but things that need to "fit" will.

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Common Slang words/sayings used in loom knitting (that really don't make sense but we've all used them anyway) All very confusing to the beginner (and me too!).

"knit off"/Instead of knit the row - You can't "knit off" the loom (and would you want to?), any knit stitch leaves a stitch remaining on the loom. Example; I get a lot of questions asking me if they are to "knit off" a row in one of my patterns. I'm never sure if the loomer is asking me if they are to bind off or knit the row so it also confuses me when this terminology is used.
"e-wrap" as a stitch - The e-wrap is just as it states... a wrap. It is not, in and of itself, a stitch. It becomes a stitch when the word knit is added, e-wrap knit (ewk). The term e-wrap should mean to wrap the peg in an e-wrap fashion. Why does it becomes confusing? Here's just one example; In a wrap & turn, you are asked to e-wrap the peg, if the loomer believes that e-wrap is a knit stitch then they might ewk this peg as opposed to e-wrapping the peg without knitting it.


Kathy Davis said...

Good post. My question is , "What does Fair Isle mean?" Thanks, Kathy Davis

Nicole F. Cox said...

Hello Kathy, "Fair Isle, is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colors. It is named after Fair Isle, one of the Shetland islands." (So Fair Isle is also a place in the United Kingdom) -Wikipedia. If you click the link above in the post you can learn more about this knitting technique.

margaret wood said...

Hi, how do I know what size loom to use to get a specific measurement when knitting in the round Eg. a 23-24 inch hat? I've read that guage doesn't matter as long as the diameter of the base is right, but how do I work out what size base will give me the size I need? Most patterns give stitches per inch, but going by that I can't find a loom the right size. I suppose I'm asking "Is it possible to be able to knit any size in the round on a loom?" This issue is driving me nuts and putting me off looming even though I already own heaps of looms.
Thanks, Margaret

Nicole F. Cox said...

Hello Margaret, "I've read that guage doesn't matter as long as the diameter of the base is right" This is completely incorrect and I don't know where you read that. Gauge always matters with fit. "I suppose I'm asking "Is it possible to be able to knit any size in the round on a loom?" Yes, it is with the wide array of round looms on the market. The most versatile looms for sizing are adjustable like the KB adjustable looms. They also have hat looms but gauge always matters. Learn about gauge here: Knit a swatch in the gauge/yarn/stitch you would like and it will give you the number of stitches and rows you will need to loom knit the hat size you would like. All of these things affect gauge and that is why just going by the base of the loom does not always work. Thank you for your question!-Nicole

margaret wood said...

Thank you, Nicole. I saw the size comment on
Loomahat and Cindwood videos. That's why I've been confused. I have knitted hats on various guage looms and even though the loom diameter is greater than the required hat measurement, the hats have been too small.I'll checkout the information you have given me.
Thanks again, Margaret

Nicole F. Cox said...

You are welcome Margaret! You are on the right track now. Gauge always matters with items that need to be "fitted".

shadowlight said...

Wow, Nicole! Once again you amaze me with your breadth of knowledge. I learned so much from this post. I'm going to have to refer back to it, I'm sure. I'm still doing ewk for the most part, with occasional purling, and am having a bit of difficulty determining how to knit flat on a round loom (or any other loom). Do you have an article for that?

Anyway, thanks for all the time and effort you put into your patterns and posts, and for the print button! yay!

God bless and have a super day,
Marlicia aka shadowlight
with God all things are possible

Nicole F. Cox said...

Hello +shadowlight! I don't have a post on that at this time but it's really simple to knit flat, you just change direction and go back the other way. This means your last peg knit will now be your 1st peg in the next row. It's that simple! I was glad to find a printing solution also! Thanks so much for letting me know your thoughts on this post and the blog, it's always great to get feedback. Have a great day too Marlicia!-Nicole

Anonymous said...

Great article Nicole, and I mean REALLY great. I love to knit both with needles and the looms.

What I find the most satisfying is that, knitters and "crafty" individuals who suffer from hand issues (arthritis, palsy, etc) often feel that they can no longer do the fiber art crafts they love; enter the looms!!

I have taught loom knitting to so many people with hand issues, and some have outstripped me in my knowledge! What an incredible joy it is to see someone, who hasn't been able to create for years, suddenly light up with with the looming techniques!

Your article will be a wonderful tool for me to use to answer some of those prickly questions I get (e-wrap vs u-stitch) for example. Thank you.

Sherry C.

Nicole F. Cox said...

Thank you so much, Sherry, for your nice comments on this article. I'm glad you are finding it helpful. Yes, loom knitting can be a wonderful alternative to the needles for all kinds of disabilities and I'm so glad to hear that you are teaching it too with much success. I used the loom to regain my hand-eye coordination after a surgery of my own and know how beneficial it can be. Have a great day and happy looming!

Anonymous said...

I have a crochet pattern for a bat cape. A triangular shawl with triangles up each of the two sides. How can I do this on a loom? Pretty please tell me how!

Nicole F. Cox said...

Hello Anonymous, Crochet and Knitting are 2 completely different crafts so you can't convert a crochet pattern to knitting. You can easily make triangles and triangle shawls on the loom though. It would be impossible to teach you how in the comment section on this blog but there are many people, including myself, that sell loom knitting patterns. Also look on YouTube for instruction!

Anonymous said...

I have a problem that I cannot find any reference to online. I am using an s or infinity loom to make a blanket. I am ewrapping and purling every other row. My problem is that the sides of my finished project are severely SLANTED, so that I have a trapezoid blanket not a rectangle blanket. Can someone please tell me what I’m doing wrong?

Nicole F. Cox said...

Hello anonymous! Are you sure that you are not just seeing normal shrinkage in your knitting? The loom will hold your stitches outward horizontally until the fabric moves away from the loom. Blocking should help any irregularities. My other suggestion would be to use either the u-knit or regular/true knit stitch instead of the e-wrap stitch. The e-wrap stitch naturally slants to the side and is not a straight stitch due to the twist, particularly if you wrap the entire row before pulling the bottom stitch over the top stitch. Hopefully this helps! Thank you for visiting my blog-Nicole

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