Problems with tension and speed

by Meg
(Denver, Colorado USA)

I just started playing around with loom knitting, just to see what I could do with it. I'm using a simple circular loom I made from a plastic container (found a video about how to do that) and making the stitches with a double-pointed knitting needle, both of which seem to work fine. But I'm having problems with both tension and speed, and they seem to be related.

The standard method of "lift the bottom loop over the new yarn" gives a really tight stitch with what I think are called "ladders." After I've finished several rows, if I pull on these ladders the stitches close in but the piece gets longer and narrower - so the gauge is changing. Plus, after just a couple of rows of this method the stitches get so tight that it's really hard to pull the loop over. In order to make the stitch looser I've tried experimenting with pulling down on it from the inside after I've made it, but that doesn't seem to help. And it gets increasingly harder to do as the piece gets longer.

I found a couple of videos demonstrating a different method, where you reach under the stitch and pull the new yarn through. That makes a looser stitch, but then I have to manually put it on the peg and pull it to tighten it because at first it's *too* loose. And all that manual work makes the stitches uneven, plus it takes extra time.

So in the process of trying the get the stitches 1) loose but not too loose and 2) even, I'm spending a lot of time doing manual stuff, which is slowing down the knitting process.

I have two questions:
1) Are these problems just due to the learning curve? I'm not new to knitting; I've been using needles for more than 40 years. So I know how the stitches are made and what to do with them. But loom-knit fabric is made differently, and that's what I'm new at.
2) Are there other techniques I can try - things I can do or do differently or things I shouldn't be doing - that can help improve both the tension and evenness of my stitches and my speed?

I've read that loom knitting is faster than needle knitting, but right now I can't see that. I don't think I'm that fast on needles, but just seeing how long it takes me to do one 28-stitch row on a loom vs. the same number on needles - there's no comparison. I would really like to give this a good try, but the problems I'm having right now aren't encouraging me to keep going. So I'd really appreciate any suggestions on how to improve what I'm doing. And thanks in advance for your help.

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Mar 25, 2011
Thank you
by: Meg (from Denver)

Hi, this is the original poster of this question.

Jen, thank you for your answer. I really appreciate the thought you put into it and the time it took you to write it. I just wanted to let everyone know that they don't need to give me any other answers - I'm giving up on loom knitting, at least for now.

I did manage to get the stitches a bit more even. But this method is just too slow for me, even with the e-wrap (which I've tried but don't like because it twists the stitches). And there's no flexibility. If I want to use a different size yarn - which is very likely since I have a really big stash - I'd need to have a different loom. Sure, I could make them; the plastic tubs work great and there are lots of other ways to make them (as Jen knows). But I don't want to have a loom collection along with all my other collections :).

I may get back to this later, especially if I have trouble using needles; I know a lot of people who can't knit with needles anymore can still use looms. If I do I'll come back here because this site is really helpful. In the meantime, I'm going back to my needles, and my crochet hook.

Thank you again for letting me post here.

Mar 22, 2011
Tension/speed tightness
by: Jen

Congrats on making a loom! LOL! I made one out of a wooden embroidery hoop (5 inches) and floral Upins! I also have the Knifty knitter ones, but need a woman's wrist size -

Now - the first stitch (over the yarn top,) sounds like a loom knit/stockinette stitch (are you just laying the yarn along the pegs? - *not* e-wrapping? - and unless you pull each new loop out a little, it will end up tight and impossible -

the second stitch you are describing sounds like the loom purl stitch - (or a variation) - as you refer to manually putting the new loop on the peg

What makes it really fast though - is the e-wrap stitches -because you are wrapping pegs and slipping the stitches over. And done loosely, there is strtch, and tension! that was the first stitch I learned and it went like blue blazes, once I realized that NO Tension is needed on wrapping - check out "how to ewrap a loom" on you tube - (there are tons of loom vids),

As far as the ladders, yes, the gauge will change if you pull them - (it;s the peg distance) BUT! If you use a 5 or 6 bulky strand, you should not have a problem. If you are using 4 or lower, you may need to double or triple the strands -

In regards to tension, check out youtube, under loom+styler pen - LOL!
basically, you can also use a straw or hollowed out ballpoint - - slip that onto the yarn before casting on, and it is like painting as you wrap the pegs - no tension at all -

Hope this helps!
I do admire real knitters! I crochet, but don't have enough patience for reading patterns! Laughing! Jen

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