On a whim I got a 36-peg knitting loom (how I got it is a really long story) a few weeks ago and have really gotten into knitting with it since then.
I think there are a lot of reasons I like knitting with a loom:
- You can knock out projects in a very short period of time—I’m an instant gratification type, and with this I finished my first hat (see pic) in hours. It turned out shockingly ok-looking so I started on a scarf, which I finished really fast too!
- It’s more beginner-friendly. With needle knitting, your tension affects the look of your finished product a lot, which is why all my scarves from before looked seriously lopsided. And even tension takes a lotta practice, which I never had the patience for. Loom knitting is more forgiving in that aspect.
- Knitting is relaxing without being too relaxing. You know how people say it’s good to meditate? I’ve never been able to make a habit of it because it just seems so boring and… pointless. Knitting is like meditation but still feeling as if you’re being productive.
- It’s a hobby that takes my eyes away from a screen! My iPhone has started giving me these weekly “reports” on how much time I was spending on my phone. Last week my average daily usage was OVER 6 HOURS! I don’t even wanna think about how much time I spend in front of my computer or TV. When I’m knitting, though, I can let my eyes take a break. I usually listen to podcasts or something else (recently I started on an audiobook version of Perfume by Patrick Suskind which my boyfriend has been telling me to read forever) to keep me occupied.
Of course, there are downsides too. Mainly, the limitations on what you can knit. Most patterns out there are for needle knitting or crochet, and the patterns that do exist for loom knitting are usually hats, scarves, socks, headbands or mittens (although there are a few creative ones, such as for sweaters and bangle bracelets).
I still want to challenge myself and push the limits of loom knitting—my current project is knitting a lil cozy for my wireless earphones—but seeing the diversity of objects that can be knit with needles has made me consider making another foray into that world as well.
Clearing up confusion
Although getting started with knitting (casting on, basic stitches) is easy, going deeper can be rough because of how confusing the terminology is. A typical knitting pattern can include instructions like:
slip the first st (to avoid a hole) and knit 10 sts past the other side of the MT, turn * slip the first st, past the MT and knit 10 sts more than previous turn*, repeat from * - * until 20-14-28-22-16 left mid front.
Tbh, I’m still struggling to decipher patterns myself and I rely on video tutorials a lot. But it’s pretty easy to Google the terms you don’t know, and doing more simple items like hats and scarves at the beginning and practicing different stitches is the most pain-free way to improve before moving on to complicated patterns.
Something else I felt overwhelmed by when beginning to knit was all the different kinds of yarn. What do the big numbers on each skein mean? Should I use cotton, wool, polyester, acrylic, or something else for my project? Does more expensive = better quality?
So far, I’ve only used acrylic yarn and t-shirt yarn (which is mostly cotton), so I can’t comment on these questions, but I’ll be getting some answers next week when the yarn I ordered gets here! However, the numbers you usually find on new yarn skeins refer to the weight of the yarn, that is, how thick the strands are.
|YARN WEIGHT||NUMBER||EXAMPLES OF YARN|
|lace||0||crochet thread; fingering|
|super fine||1||baby; fingering; sock|
|light||3||DK; light; worsted|
|medium||4||afghan; aran; worsted|
|bulky||5||chunky; craft; rug|
|super bulky||6||bulky; roving|
Source: Craft Yarn Council
For loom knitting, I think yarn with medium weight or higher (i.e. 4–7) is best. But I’ve knitted with fine before (doubled up in two strands, so maybe it’s closer to a medium?) and it turned out ok. I’m going to try experimenting with different weights of yarn and see how it makes a difference in the product. I think a thicker yarn will produce something stiffer.
Yarn retailers that ship to Canada
Finally, I’ve compiled a big list of Canadian online yarn shops! Knitters really love their LYS (local yarn stores) but I’m kinda lazy to drive out 15 minutes to the nearest brick and mortar that in my city, so I’ve only done online shopping for yarn so far. I’ve only tried YarnCanada.ca and Yarnspirations, so I can’t give reviews for the other places, but the great news is all of these companies are Canadian(!) except for Yarnspirations, I believe. I also hate shipping fees so most of these businesses have free shipping options as well.
All prices are in CAD and apply to Canadian addresses. (Updated 12/12/2018)
- Art of Yarn Free shipping on orders over $125.
- Baaad Anna’s has a smaller selection but carries lots of obscure brands. Free shipping over $200.
- Black Sheep Yarns Free shipping over $125.
- Camilla Valley Farm This one is pretty cool, they offer yarn on cones as well as skeins. I personally like cones more because I think it keeps the yarn more organized. Their physical storefront is located in Orangeville ON which isn’t too far from Toronto. Shipping is somewhat expensive.
- Coastal Fibres Free shipping over $125.
- Dewedlebug Fibre Emporium I don’t think free shipping is available.
- Espace Tricot Free shipping over $200.
- Eweknit offers free shipping over $75.
- Fly in the Fibre Free shipping over $100.
- Jane Stafford Textiles Free shipping over $250.
- Knitca Free shipping over $65.
- Knit-O-Matic Free shipping over $150.
- Lanaknits No free shipping.
- Little Red Mitten A bit pricier. No free shipping.
- Manjusha Free shipping over $200.
- Mary Maxim No free shipping.
- Needles in the Hay Free shipping over $125.
- Passionknit Free shipping on orders over $100.
- Penelope Fibre Arts No free shipping.
- Pitanga Yarns Free shipping over $75.
- A Twist of Yarn Free shipping over $100.
- Urban Yarns Free shipping over $125.
- Valley Yarn Free shipping over $125.
- Wet Coast Wools has a similar price range to Little Red Mitten. Free shipping over $150. I haven’t bought from them yet.
- The Wool & Silk Co. Free shipping over $100 with code FREESHIP100
- Wool-Tyme Free shipping over $100.
- YarnCanada.ca is a newer company based in New Westminster BC. They offer free shipping over $45. While the selection isn’t as extensive as some of these other more established sites, they still carry a lot of stuff and they’re the most budget-friendly choice I’m aware of right now.
- The Yarn Guy Free shipping over $100.
- Yarnspirations one of the more well-known Canadian-based yarn suppliers. Brand and fiber selection is a bit limited; they only carry the bigger brands Bernat, Caron, Lily, Patons, and Phentex. Sometimes they have really great deals, I bought a bunch of their “mystery bag” yarns for $3 and each one is a pound of pretty good quality yarn. Shipping is free over $75!