I was teaching a class recently, and got to chatting with some students about — what else? — spool knitting. And someone mentioned that she makes great big “spools” — or more accurately, looms — for the kids she teaches. She used coffee cans and nails. And I got all excited, and headed for Lowe’s.
I found PVC couplings in the plumbing section. They come in lots of diameters and cost only a dollar and change. I also picked up a few skinny wooden dowels.
Making a knitting loom from these was super-easy. First, I divided the coupling into roughly equal sections, using a Sharpie.
Next, I cut my dowels into equal lengths. I used my garden pruners, which worked nicely. And then, I sanded the ends of the dowels smooth with a little sandpaper.
. . . Okay, I was too lazy to find the sandpaper. Really I used an emery board.
Next, I busted out the E-6000 and proceeded to glue the dowels to the outside of the coupling. See the length of the cut dowels here? They’re nearly as long as the coupling is tall, plus about an inch to stick up over the rim.
I had intended to follow the gluing with some duct-tape. But actually, the E-6000 made a strong enough bond that the tape wasn’t necessary. Those sticks aren’t going anywhere.
So you thread this loom pretty much like a spool, except that the way you deal with the loose ends of the yarn is much simpler. Just hold them against the side of the loom as you work. You’ll be able to let them go as soon as you’ve knitted the first row.
I did invest in a 99-cent loom-knitting hook at Jo-Ann. It’s blunt, and has a 90-degree curve that makes pulling the bottom loops over the top loops much easier.
These looms work best with chunky yarns, or several strands of worsted together. (Which, if they’re all different colors, makes a wonderful sort of heathered look.)
My favorite bind-off method comes from Anne Bipes — it involves adding single crochet as you remove the loops from the loom.
I used a 2″ coupling to make this little cuff. This would also be a good loom-size for making knitted flowers — you could bind off by gathering the center, and then add a cute button and a felt leaf.
I’m also working on a 4″ loom, using paper clips rather than dowels. I’m thinking it will be nice for small knitted drawstring bags. More on that one later….