Friday, January 23, 2015

How I began Loom Knitting

Over the past few years, I've been asked numerous times how I got into loom knitting...So here's the full story.
I have always loved things that are handmade, especially things made from yarn. When I was a kid, I watched my mom crochet for hours and when we visited my grandmother in Texas, I remember watching her knit and wondered why she chose to work with two needles and my mom could make similar items with just one.

Back in 2006, while I was working at Cargo-Master, began to create the concept of a character that I hoped to bring to a series of videos for YouTube. As part of the character's costumes, I wanted him to wear a different "beanie" or knitted hat as well as a knitted scarf for each video, sort of like how Mister Rodgers had a different sweater in each episode of his show. Buying a new hat and scarf for each video wouldn't have been possible so I decided I'd just buy yarn and learn to crochet or knit. At the time, I was under the impression that yarn was cheap and making a hat and scarf each week would be a cheap little venture...Little did I know that buying enough yarn to make a simple hat and scarf is NOT cheap, even if you're buying cheap yarn. While both knitting and crocheting appealed to me, I just couldn't get the tension of either right. A few days after I gave up on both out of frustration, I passed by the yarn section in Hobby Lobby and noticed an end cap with round and long contraptions called Knitting Looms. At first, I thought they were the same concept as weaving and made for kids. I picked up the pack of round looms made by Darice, began to read the directions and realized this was definitely not made for children. Having purchased several skeins of yarn in preparation for my failed attempts at needle knitting and crochet, I thought I might as well try one more thing before I totally give up. I had a 40% off coupon, this was in the days when Hobby Lobby's coupons ran every other week.
Once I got home with my set of 4 looms and the knitting tool, I began to cast on the yarn according to the directions. Within a few minutes of wrapping the pegs on the loom and knitting the bottom loop over the top, I began to see my first hat coming from the bottom of the loom and progress VERY quickly and effortlessly. The particular looms I purchased weren't the only looms on the market at the time. There were actually two brands at the time that made looms that were the exact same design though the colors of each loom varied, the Darice looms are brightly colored neon Pink, Orange, Green and Blue which was what drew me to that particular set. The chief competition for this loom set was Provo Craft's Knifty Knitter looms, which are now discontinued and the market which Provo Craft targeted has now been taken over by the knitting looms made by Boye. I've used Boye looms and I can honestly say that I hate everything about them, from the design of the pegs right down to the plastic used to make the looms. Luckily Darice looms are still in production as well as the Frola brand found on Hobby Lobby's Classic Knit and Yarnology and Michael's Loops and Threads looms, all of which are pretty much the same quality and gauge if you're looking for great options from actual retail locations.
My next purchase was the Knifty Knitter long loom set made by Provo Craft. This set was definitely a bit different than the round looms, as the looms were designed for flat panelled items such as scarves and blankets but they can also be used to make hats also, though I'd recommend actual round looms for that.

From the day that I bought my first loom set up to now, I've been obsessed with loom knitting. Though I do now know how to needle knit, I prefer looming just because you barely have to worry about counting and tension as you would with using needles. It's certainly an infectious hobby. Over the past few years, I've taught "looming" to many people that would never have taken the time to learn to crochet or needle knit.

So that's it, my long and boring story of how I began to loom knit. As for that video series, it's never been filmed though the scripts for 52 videos are sitting, handwritten, in my trusty little Trapper Keeper...maybe one day I'll get the inspiration to start working on them

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