Problems with tension and speed
(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.