A Starter Guide for Knitting on a Loom
Loom knitting has been around for hundreds of years but has seen its popularity rise in recent times, and as a result there are many more products available on the market to help you get started. Plus, there are plenty of valuable how-tos on the internet to guide you through every step.
The technique creates the same results as needle knitting but the process is achieved on a (often plastic) loom rather than with needles. This page provides information for beginners, including video lessons for all of the basic methods you will require.
I hope you find a fun new hobby here!
Knitting a Scarf on a Rectangular Loom
What is Loom Knitting?
Knitted fabric basically consists of a series of interlocking loops, and these loops can either be created with traditional knitting needles or with knitting looms.
The main types of loom product you can buy are: rectangular/rake/straight looms, circular/round looms and knitting boards. Various sizes of the looms are available, depending on the size of the item you are knitting.
To knit on a loom, you simply wind yarn around the attached 'pegs' in a particular pattern and order. The pegs are spaced equal distances apart and this distance determines the 'gauge' of your knitting. The gauge is the number of stitches there are per inch of knitting.
The further apart the loom pegs are, the larger the gauge, and the bulkier the yarn you can use. You can even knit with two strands of yarn held together if your yarn isn't bulky enough on its own. Pegs that are closer together are for finer projects which use thinner yarns. It's easier for beginners to start off with a large gauge because progress is much quicker.
It's often worth doing a sample (swatch) of knitting on your loom before properly starting any project, just to check that the resulting appearance is what you want.
The yarn you use can be any material you choose (wool, acrylic etc.) as it's the weight of the yarn that's the important thing; choose fine, medium or bulky depending on the gauge of your loom.
Knitting backwards and forwards along the pegs creates a flat panel of knitting, whereas knitting continuously along the pegs - without stopping or changing direction – creates circular knitting (a tube shape). If a loom only has a single line of pegs then you can only do flat knitting on it, but otherwise, both circular and flat knitting can be done on looms.
Examples of items you can knit on looms include: scarves, hats, socks, purses, leg warmers, pillows, shawls and dishcloths.
A Variety of Looms & Knitting Tools to Buy
You can start with a basic round or rectangular loom before progressing to other types of loom including 'figure of eight's and knitting boards:
Introductions & Casting On - How to Get Started
Instructions for beginners, including how to cast on both a circular loom and a rectangular rake loom. There are quite a few different ways to cast on, but you are best starting with the classic single knit cast-on method, then experimenting with others later on.
Every loom knitting pattern begins with ‘casting on’. Simply put, this means wrapping the yarn onto the loom before you get started with the actual knitting. The ewrap is one of the most basic cast-ons. There are several cast-on options (see videos below) but don’t be overwhelmed; just choose one like the ewrap and stick with it for now.
If you already knit with knitting needles, then you will have an advantage in that you will know the basics about casting on, how to knit and purl etc. however if you don't knit at all then don't worry! The main 3 essential techniques you need to know are:
- Casting on: Putting the yarn on the loom.
- Knit: Looped stitches which make up the majority of most knitted projects.
- Casting/Binding off: Finishing your work by removing the knitting from the loom.
Once you have mastered these methods you can then knit rectangular shapes pieces of fabric, such as scarves or dishcloths. To add a bit of interest to your work you can then learn other techniques such as:
- Purl stitch: A very important type of stitch that can be combined with the knit stitch to give you different patterns and textures.
- Increase and decrease techniques: These allow you to knit items that don't have to have straight edges or sides; they allow you the freedom to make different shapes, such as hats.
- More casting on and binding off techniques: To give you different edging options. Different methods have different uses - for instance they might give you a stretchier edge - and appearances.
- Different stitches: There are a variety of stitches you can learn, such as the popular ‘e-wrap’ (or twisted knit stitch).
Helpful Knitting Tutorials & Lessons
- Casting On Step-by-Step
A clear tutorial of the different steps.
- Garter Stitch
Knitting and purling on a circular loom.
- Stockinette Stitch
A demonstration of the difference between the ewrap and knit stitches.
- Loom Knitting Tutorials
Great collection of instructions - especially the first 3 for beginners.
- How to Double Knit on a Long Loom
Videos showing you how to cast on, cast off and add a yarn fringe.
- Reading Knitting Charts
How to translate symbols on charts into loom knit stitches.
- Converting Needle Knitting Patterns
A guide for using needle knitting patterns for loom knitting instead.
- Knitting U-Turns
How to go back and forth on a loom to knit a flat panel.
DIY Clothes Peg Loom
Knit & Purl Stitches
The first stitch you will learn will probably be the e-wrap stitch. Then you can progress to the purl stitch and any others that take your fancy!
Why Loom Knitting Rather Than Needle Knitting?
Looms are often chosen as a way for kids to start knitting as it’s easier for them to manipulate the yarn on a loom rather than manipulating yarn with knitting needles which can get fiddly. It also helps that looms are often nice and colourful too!
Other reasons for using looms instead of needles include:
- Visually easier to understand: It’s easier to see exactly what is happening with the yarn on a loom than it is on needles. I think that people who try out needles first and find them too complicated will have much more luck with looms.
- Less weight: A loom rests on a table or your lap, whereas with needles you have to hold them and your knitting up in the air.
- Easier movements: If you have arthritis or other condition which limits your manual dexterity, loom knitting is more comfortable and easier than needle knitting. You can also purchase hooks and other tools to further limit the movements your fingers have to do.
The only downsides of loom knitting in comparison to needle knitting are that:
- Loom knitting can take up a little more storage space because of the need for different shapes and sizes of loom, whereas knitting needles are much more compact in size.
- There are some advanced techniques which are more difficult to do on a loom.
- There are relatively few patterns available for loom knitters compared to needle knitters.
Weaving Loom Tool Recommendation
This handy little object is for anyone who wants to make loom knitting easier or has issues when dealing with fiddly hand movements.
To finish your work, you need to bind off. The technique for this depends on what stitch you have just been using i.e. you use a different binding off method if you've been double knitting compared to if you've been single knitting.
Working on a Circular Loom
Knitting a Hat
Please Leave a Comment!
Mario L. Encinias on August 22, 2020:
How do you cast off or bending off.
Susan on January 24, 2020:
I love to Loom.
Lisa on October 08, 2018:
I just found this wonderful website. Thank you.
Alet on June 14, 2018:
Thank you for this site i discovered. going to try to loom now
Linda matson on March 19, 2018:
What kind of loom would I need to make a blanket?