Sunday, November 11, 2012

Looming for Christmas
I had become disenchanted with knitting boards; casting off was always a giant pain in the neck.  It seemed almost impossible to cast off without dropping stitches.  Still, knitting boards can do two things you can't do with ordinary needles and hooks - circular knitting and double knitting.  I especially wanted to use circular knit to make tote bags, so I got on YouTube.
Never depend completely on the written instructions in the packages, no matter how thorough they seem to be.  Go to YouTube and watch the knitting board videos.  Here you can see the knitting process step by step, with more varieties of knitting than you ever dreamed of!
First, I learned to cast off circular knitting peg by peg, using the working yarn.  I had to watch that video several times to learn it!  Then I learned the crochet method of casting on, shown in detail in the top picture.  Here, I am using a circular board (or loom) to make a Christmas cap.  The crochet cast on method provides a perfect roll-up brim for a cap.
In the lower picture, I am using an extra-large knitting board to make a tote bag.  All I'll have to do is sew up the bottom and add handles to the top!  You will note how the acrylic yarn has rolled up.  To counteract this, I've had to wet block this piece.  (You can also see how to block on YouTube.)  Once it's dry, I'll finish off a very nice Christmas present.  I even plan to throw in a cap to match!
When you use a board for double knit, you do have to cast off as shown in the knitting instruction packet.  I've found it is much easier if you use a crochet hook rather than the yarn tool you've used to complete the project.  You will need to use a small hook; I used a Number 5.
The plastic boards are much easier to use than the wood and metal ones.  For one thing, the plastic pegs have a channel to lift the lower yarn over the peg.  Martha Stewart has a deluxe board set-up you can form into different shapes and place the pegs for different kinds of projects.  This looks like a lot of fun, but it will have to be a Christmas present to the knitter!