If you love the look of handmade knits but aren't enthused by the idea of juggling needles and yarn, loom knitting may be for you. Also called knitting boards, knitting looms come in a hollow-centered square, rectangle or circle, with a row of upright pegs around the outside of the shape. With the help of a small hook to shift loops of yarn around on the pegs, you can recreate the same stitches you'd do with regular knitting needles -- including a variety of cast-off or bind-off options for finishing your work.
Terms You Should Understand
- Bind Off: Also known as casting off. Removing stitches from the loom in such a way that they will not unravel, leaving an attractive, finished edge to your handiwork.
- Knit Off: Pulling the bottom loop on a peg of your loom up and off the peg, without disturbing the loop above it.
- Peg Numbers: Pegs are numbered clockwise around the loom.
The Basic Bind-Off
This is also called a knit bind-off or a flat bind-off; it creates an attractive edge with a little bit of stretch.
Knit the first two stitches, keeping to the pattern you had been working. Use the loom tool to move the loop from the second peg onto the first peg; then knit over -- that is, pull the bottom loop from that peg up and over the top loop, leaving the top loop in place.
Move that remaining loop from the first peg over to the second peg and repeat the process: Knit the loop on the third peg; move that resulting single loop back to the second peg; knit over; and move the remaining loop one peg to the left.
Continue until you have only one loop left on the loom. Cut the working yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail. Pull that tail through the loop, remove the item from the loom, and use your loom tool or a crochet hook to weave the tail back into your work.
The Crochet Bind-Off
The crochet bind-off gets you the same results as the basic bind-off, but using a crochet hook makes the whole process faster and easier for some.
Knit until just one loop is left on each peg, and the working yarn is on the last peg. Slide the loop from the first peg off the loom and onto the crochet hook; do the same for the second loop. Then use the hook to pull the second loop through the first loop, leaving just one loop on the hook.
Slide the loop from the next peg off the loom and onto the hook; then use the hook to pull that loop through the loop already on the hook. Continue this process until no loops are on the loom and one on the crochet hook. Cut the working yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail. Pull that tail through the loop on the hook; then weave the tail into your work.
The Gather Bind-Off
If you're knitting a hat, bag, or any item with a closed end, this method allows you to bind off and gather the end closed at the same time.
Knit off until you have a single loop on each peg of the loom. Clip the working yarn, leaving about a 6-inch tail. Cut another length of yarn that's twice as long as the perimeter of your loom; thread this through a yarn needle.
Use the needle to thread the yarn through every loop still on the pegs, running the yarn in the bottom and out the top of each loop and working clockwise around the loom. When you get back to the first peg, run the needle through that loop again. Pull the loops off the pegs; pull the loose yarn tight to cinch the tube closed; and tie the ends of the loose strands together.
Either work the tail end of the yarn into the knit, or weave it into your work.