Loom knitting is a way to create a knitted fabric without needles. It's a boon to those who find knitting with needles difficult, and to those who have problems with the hands (such as arthritis) who can no longer use knitting needles. Looms come in many shapes, but the most versatile and popular is the round knitting loom. If you're curious about loom knitting but not ready to buy a loom or set of looms, you can make one yourself to experiment with and decide whether this art form is for you.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Wooden embroidery hoop
- New finishing nails
- Hot-melt glue
Decide your gauge. The distance between the pegs of a knitting loom, from the centre of the top of one peg to the centre of the top of the next, determines the gauge of the loom. Gauge means how large the stitches are, and it dictates the size(s) of yarn you'll be able to use on the loom. No matter what gauge you choose, be sure to use threepenny or fourpenny finishing nails, since they are the right length (1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches [3.2 and 3.8cm] respectively) and have a smaller, barrel-shaped head that will be easier to slip yarn loops (stitches) over.
Mark the hoop. Tighten the screw mechanism on the hoop to make sure both parts are held together firmly. Then, using the marker and the ruler, make dots along the line between the inner and outer parts of the hoop at the gauge you've chosen (such as 1/2 inch [1.3cm]). Look at the flat outside surface of the hoop and choose a place that is not near the screw mechanism. Make one mark on that outside surface, making sure it's between two of the marks you made on the top of the hoop (this mark will be for your anchor peg).
Nail in the pegs. Carefully hold one finishing nail at one of the marks you made. Tap the nail gently with the hammer until the point wedges between the inner and outer hoops. Repeat with the other nails and other marks all around the hoop. Every peg should be about the same height when you're done. How many nails you'll have depends on the size of the hoop and on how large or small you made the gauge.
Nail in the anchor peg. Carefully tap in one finish nail at the mark you made on the flat outer surface of the hoop. This is your anchor peg. It should be perpendicular to the other pegs nailed into the top, and parallel to any flat tabletop you set the loom on.
Glue the pegs. Spread a thin bead of hot-melt glue around the inner and outer sides of the pegs where they join into the hoop. Let that cool and dry, then run a thin bead around the base of the anchor peg and let that cool and dry as well.
Test all the pegs and make sure they're secure. If any are loose, apply a bit more hot-melt glue.
Tips and warnings
- When nailing in the pegs, don't nail them in too far. The points should be embedded between the inner and outer hoops, not sticking out the other side.
- Since tapping in the nails can be hazardous to the surface underneath the hoop (not just from the nails---the hoop itself may leave scratches), stack an entire Sunday newspaper underneath your loom-in-progress if you don't have a suitable workshop-type surface on which to build it.
- Protect your fingers when tapping the nails with the hammer. You may want to wear thin work gloves, or hold the nails in place with a pair of pliers instead.
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