Also referred to as French knitting, reel knitting, spool knitting, box knitting, rake knitting, ring knitting, bung knitting, frame knitting etc.; loom knitting is an ancient art that has recently seen resurgence. Knitting, today is popular the world over. And the foray of knitting looms in the world of knitting has given all knitters a reason to smile.
Looms were used extensively in the medieval age in countries like Britain, France, Germany and many other places in Europe. People used the technique of loom knitting to knit bags, purses, tasseled caps, petticoats, shawls, hammocks, curtains, nets, petticoats etc. A popular belief is that guild apprentices knit carpets for their masters on frame boards i.e. knitting looms.
Knitting looms can be bifurcated in three basic types- the round loom, the rake and the knitting board. The round loom is not necessarily round. It could be a square, rectangle, an oval or even diamond-shaped. All pegs of this loom are required to be continuous without any specific starting or stopping point. The distance between the pegs of this loom determines its gauge. A lot of distance implies a lot of gauge.
There isn’t much difference between the round loom and the rake. However, the rake, second type of knitting loom, has continuous pegs which have a starting and a finishing point. Again, the gauge of the pegs in this loom is determined by the distance between them. Only flat knitting can be done on this type of knitting loom.
A knitting board is a loom with two parallel rakes. These parallel rakes are used to knit across the loom. A double knit fabric can be produced with the help of a knitting board. The gauge of this type of loom is determined by two factors- the distance between its pegs and the distance between its rakes. A larger gauge is created by a large distance between either of the two.
Loom knitting is facilitated by the various devices on a knitting loom. The knitting looms that have single rows of pegs are called single rakes, while those having double rows of pegs are called double rakes. Knitting fabrics that have a distinctive right and wrong side can be created with single rakes. A double fabric with both ‘right’ sides can be created with the aid of double rakes.
The purpose pegs serve in loom knitting is same as the purpose needles serve in hand or machine knitting. Each peg in a loom is like a knitting needle which is used to create different patterns and stitches on a loom. Gauge is the distance between the pegs of a loom. It is this standard of measurement that determines the size of the stitches that can be produced, as also the thickness of yarn that would work the best for a particular loom.
Loom knitting has not only made a comeback but also is gaining popularity. It is easy to learn and the knitting looms are simple to use. Those who have given up crochet and needle knitting owing to arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or other such ailments can enjoy loom knitting instead. It does not involve use of needles and is quite user-friendly.
The trend of loom knitting is taking the world by a storm and is surely doing a lot good to the world of knitting.