Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen
If you are thinking about getting started with loom or board knitting, you may have discovered that there are a dizzying array of options available when it comes to purchasing a knitting loom or frame to get started. Finding the right one for the projects your plan to make can be a little tricky. Here are a list of features to consider when you go to purchase your knitting loom.
Size- Projects are not strictly limited to the exact size or shape of the loom itself, but each loom does have a size range and knitting types it will be produce. As a beginning loom knitter, it is best to check the package materials or ask a sales clerks at the store you are shopping at to find out what you can make on a particular loom. The package materials or store clerk should be able to tell you if you will be able to knit small items such as baby hats, or large items such as afghans and ponchos on a particular loom. Some looms, such as the round Nifty Knitters, come with a series of frames so that you can make projects in a variety of sizes. Other boards or looms may have a length adjustment. Even if it is adjustable or comes with a series of frames, the set or board will have a limit to how big or small you can go.
Loom Shape- Round, rectangular, single rake (one row of pegs) or double rake are all common knitting loom shapes. The round and single rake style use similar or the same patterns to make a single knit fabric. The round looms can be used to make round objects such as hats, or tube shaped objects such as tubular scarves. The single rake can make a single flat knitted fabric. The double rake is used to make a double knitted fabric -a fabric that does not have wrong or right side, but is reversible and double layered. The rectangular models may be used for making tubes or double knitting - so be sure to check the packaging to find out which styles of knitting the rectangular frame you are considering will do!
Adjustable or Removable Pegs- Some knitting looms have pegs that you can take out. By removing the pegs, you can change the gauge or make it easier to limit the number of pegs you plan to use - shrinking a longer single rake down to a shorter single rake. You may also be able to turn the pegs or remove every other peg in order to obtain a different gauge. Adjustable pegs allow you to change the gauge of your knitting loom, so that you can knit a tighter or looser fabric as needed. Adjustable pegs may also allow you to use different thicknesses of yarn than a non-adjustable loom.
Material and Quality- Is the loom made from a durable material? If it is an inexpensive loom made out of an easily broken plastic, you may start snapping off pegs and get frustrated with your new hobby. Likewise, a very expensive loom made from heavyweight wood and steel pins may be of greater cost than what you would need for your craft, and the weight may limit the portability and how much time you work on your projects. Truly cheap and poorly made looms may have pegs that are not uniform or can snag on your yarn. Highly durable, expensive, heavy looms may be what you need if you know you will stick with this craft long-term.
The biggest thing to know before you go shopping for a knitting loom is what you would like to make and realistically how much time you think you will spend on your loom. Knowing these two things will help guide you through all of the above factors in making your choice for a loom.
Do you have a favorite loom? Was a particular loom problematic for you? Come and share with us the knitting forum!