I am a huge fan of Martha Stewart's crafting projects and supplies. When I saw the Knit & Weave Loom Kit at Wal-Mart, I wanted the set but couldn't justify spending $40, considering I already had a set of round knitting looms made by Darice as well as Provo Craft's Knifty Knitter Long Loom set. Eventually this loom began to pop up in other stores in addition to Walmart, namely Joanns and Michaels and armed with a 50% off a single item coupon from Michaels, I bought this baby to test it out.
Being that it's completely customizable, my intention was to buy a couple of these sets to assemble a large loom for projects, like afghans and blankets. The possibility of downsizing to just one type of loom was also appealing.
Before I bought this set, I'd read many negative as well as quite a few positive reviews. What I really noticed was you either love it or hate it, nothing in between. Once I opened the tricky to open box, I began to inspect the contents of the box. 18 loom pieces, 310 pegs of 2 different sizes, 5 tools including the loom pick, a tapestry needle and a crochet hook and a 63 page instruction manual. When I began to flip through the instruction manual, I realized things that weren't peachy with this set. One third of the book is in English and the second and last thirds of the book duplicate the first part but in French and Spanish. The instructions are great for a beginner to learn a few of the basic loom knitting stitches including the flat and purl stitches. The patterns for projects included in the book are rather disappointing, one pattern features a baby blanket using the loom set as a weaving loom and the other 2 projects are patterns for a basic knitted hat and scarf. For other project idea's you're on your own, you either adapt patterns meant for other looms or head over to the Lion Brand website and search for projects created for the Martha Stewart Loom.
Once I began using this loom, I realized a bulk of the negative reviews were quite spot on, at least for me. This is not a set for a beginner or even user friendly to be completely honest. Setting up the loom configuration can be tricky, many of the pegs are hard to get into the base and where the base pieces connect, the pegs can be even harder to get into. Once I finally got the loom set up, I cast on and began knitting a hat and another negative aspect reared it's ugly head, the loom tool (pick) is made of extremely soft rubber and the metal pick itself tends to pull on the edges of the rubber handle, tearing it. Once I got into the project, I noticed the pegs tend to work their way up and out of the base as you knit, meaning you spend more time pushing the pegs back down with your thumb than working your yarn. Knitting should be a relaxing act but THIS seemed to be anything but relaxing, especially with a sore thumb. Some users have mentioned that you can stuff a bit of yarn into the holes as you shove the pegs in as you set it up but I just don't feel that a product like this should require a hack for it to work correctly.
Upon my knitting failure, I figured I'd try to weave a project. Much like everyone has at one time or another, I've used one of those looms for potholders when I was a kid, this set is quite similar to the potholder looms but on a larger scale. The pegs tend to work a bit better for weaving BUT weaving on this set still has it's downsides. Once you get your warp (up and down) strands in place, the warp and weft strands must be kept completely flat or you'll find that your weaving will appear bunched up. You also have to count your strands, making sure you're not feeding your weft through the wrong parts of the warp. Nothing really difficult if you're working on a potholder but try this on something larger, such as a blanket panel and you'll find yourself wishing you were weaving on a proper weaving loom.
The final point I'd like to address, and yes it's negative also, would be that this is NOT a loom you'd want to throw into a bag or tote to work on a project as you travel on the go, the pegs WILL slip out and will ultimately cause your stitches to drop. On a scale of 1-10 in terms of portability, I give it a one just because I discovered this fact the hard way.
I seriously wanted to love this loom and hoped it would replace all of my others but nope, it's hanging around in my craft room and to me, it's sort of useless. I'm now convinced that the chances that Martha Stewart has sat at home, weaving or knitting on this project are very slim. I seriously doubt she'd ever use it at all, if she ever has. If you are interested in loom knitting, I'd certainly NOT recommend this set in the least bit unless you're an adventurous kind of person that doesn't mind a challenge.
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