Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Loom stitches: Houndstooth Checks

Houndstooth Checks worked on 1/2 inch gauge knitting loom with bulky (#5) yarn
One of my favorite pastimes is translating needle knit stitch patterns to knitting looms. This is occasionally a challenge since I'm not a needle knitter, but it is a good mental exercise. However, I can always browse through knit stitch books and online sites thinking of all the lovely projects one can make with these stitch patterns even though it seems to be my fate to only knit unique little swatches since my time is very limited. The next best thing is to share the translated stitch patterns with other loom knitters and live vicariously through them when they use my translations in their projects.

Houndstooth checks is a tessellated pattern of alternating light and dark colors that originated in the Scottish Lowlands as a woven wool design and introduced into the US as a fabric in men's suits by a high end New York department store in the early 1930's. As the saying goes, the rest is history. You can now find the pattern in every possible color combination and utilized not only in clothing, but all sorts of accessories and household items. It is also revered by the University of Alabama in memory their beloved 1970's football coach, "Bear" Bryant, who always wore his trademark houndstooth hat to every football game. On that note, I give you the Houndstooth Check stitch pattern.

I've found two methods for creating houndstooth checks: Fair Isle stranded method and slip stitch method. While the Fair Isle method is more traditional, my instructions focus on the slip stitch method, because it produces a very nice check pattern without excessive amounts of floats on the reverse side of the fabric. Minimizing floats is more important if you are using a large gauge knitting loom (i.e., Knifty Knitter, Darice, etc.), but becomes less of an issue on the finer gauge looms and needle knitting. Here are the basic slip stitch instructions:

Houndstooth Checks Stitch Pattern
Multiple of 3 pegs
Two contrasting colors of yarn

  • MC = main color
  • CC = contrasting color
  • k = knit stitch
  • sl1 wyib = slip one with yarn in back. (Instead of knitting the peg, you will bring the working yarn behind the peg and on to the next peg.)
  • rep = repeat 
Row 1 (MC): k1, *sl1 wyib, k2; rep from * to last 2 sts, sl1 wyib, k1
Row 2 (MC): k all pegs
Row 3 (CC): sl1 wyib, k2; rep from * to end
Row 4 (CC): k all pegs

  • These instructions are for the basic stitch pattern. To prevent a flat item from rolling, you need to work either a garter, seed or moss stitch stitch pattern for at least two rows after casting on, two rows prior to binding off and several stitches along each edge.  
  • Do not cut the yarn when changing colors, but carry it along the edge. It is important when changing colors at the end of the row that you twist or hold the old color horizontal while bringing the new color up and over the old color. 
This version of the Houndstooth Pattern was adapted and translated to the knitting loom from The Harmony Guides: 450 Knitting Stitches, Volume 2. The Harmony Guides have become the most used books in my crafting library.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Monkey house, a log cabin square

Monkey House Squares made on the KB Sock Loom 2
To me, "Monkey house" is the perfect name for a log cabin square make in sock monkey colors. While the squares above were made about a month ago, my adventure into creating log cabin squares actually started back last winter when someone on one of the loom knitting lists asked if log cabin squares could be made on the knitting looms. After studying up on the history of the log cabin motif and how needle knitters constructed these squares (see link list at the end of this post), I was ready to give it a try.

While gauge is not that important to creating the overall square, it is imperative that the gauge remain constant in order to effectively match the adjoining strips. This means you need to use the same gauge loom throughout the project. Since I wanted a large square with the smallest possible gauge using the Knifty Knitters (KK), my first attempt was on the 48 peg KK Adult Hat Loom.

Made on the 48-peg Knifty Knitter Adult Hat Loom
After discovering that the larger the square gets, the more difficult it is to pick up and add stitches back to the loom, I decided to experiment further. Here are some other "cabin" experiments with either changes in the looms or type of yarn:

Cotton yarn on the 24-peg KK (left) and 31-peg KK (right)
Bulky self-striping yarn using the 31-peg KK loom
The biggest challenge for me was deciding on which colors to use. Finally, I asked myself what color scheme make me smile and the first thing that came to mind was sock monkeys (how shallow and childish is that??). Of course, since it is a log cabin square, it immediately became "Monkey House Square". I did the first one on the 31-peg KK, but decided to give my new favorite, the KB Sock Loom 2, a try. The KB Sock Loom 2 square was a definite winner!

Monkey House square on the KB Sock Loom 2 (left) and 31-peg KK Loom (right)

While both looms created 11 inch squares, a different number of stitches and rows were used based on the gauge of the looms. Please note that this square can also be made on the KB All-n-One Loom since the gauge is identical to the Sock Loom 2, but I'm really loving the portability of the smaller loom. I have two squares completed and 28 to go and most of the knitting was done on the go.

I had planned on doing an online tutorial for the log cabin square, but I recently noticed on her blog that Denise Layman had included log cabin motif projects in her new book, Afghans & Bed Runners for Knitting Looms and thought I would just point everyone in her direction. Denise's stitch/row formula and minor techniques will probably vary from mine, but I'm fairly sure the basic methods are about the same. Also, if you decide to build your own "cabin on the loom" without a book, here are some links that should prove helpful: 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Falling Leaves Lariat & Autumn Skullcap

The Falling Leaves Lariat scarf is another large gauge loom project that I designed for Yahoo LoomClass a couple of year ago and thought now would be the perfect time to share the pattern with Loom Lore readers. The pattern is fairly easy, but does require grafting the 24 leaves (14 large leaves, 5 right-slanting and 5 left-slanting smaller leaves) onto the 36 inch I-cord lariat. Of course, you can adjust the length and number of leaves to any size you desire. Also, the individual leaf pattern can be used alone for embellishment on other projects. 

Close-up of the leaves

The perfect compliment to the Falling Leaves Lariat is the Autumn Skullcap, which is one of my favorite hat patterns and is the basis for Brenda's Raspberry Beret. This short row hat was first featured in the Loom Knitters Circle, Fall 2008 e-zine. The original pattern features the basic skull cap beanie and the long cloche version (pictured below right). The hat pictured on the left is the basic shorter version of the pattern which was added back to the loom to create a brim.



I hope you enjoy these autumn designs!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lacy Pumpkin Loom-inaries

Just a quick post with a fun little pattern I designed and taught for the Yahoo's Loom Class a couple of years ago called, Lacy Pumpkin Loom-inaries. This crafty little project is reminiscent the balloon and string ornaments that many of us did as children. Also, by changing the colors and embellishments these little luminaries would make a festive addition for just about any occasion.

Happy Halloween!!

My grandson's 1st prize BSA Pumpkin Carving project


Monday, October 21, 2013

Ms. Kitty

My new favorite loom for knitting amigurumi, washcloths,afghan squares, and other little items is the KB Sock Loom 2 which is a smaller version of the All-n-One Loom. Both of these looms have a 3/8 inch gauge and can easily accommodate one strand of worsted weight yarn. Also, both can be adjusted for decreases or increases which proved to be the perfect loom for today's featured project, Ms. Kitty, pictured above.

Ms. Kitty is a loom knitted adaptation of Linda Dawkins Beans the Cat, which is a needle knitted pattern available as a free Ravelry download. My loom knitted version is very similar, but modified for the loom. Since there was no size or gauge mentioned in Linda's pattern, I had to guess, but overall I was pleased with my little fat cat. I plan on making one using black yarn for Halloween.


Ms. Kitty, the amigurumi cat
(The following gives general modifications for making this project on the loom. For complete needle pattern information, please refer to the Ravelry pattern, Beans the Cat)

Loom: KB Sock Loom 2
Yarn: Paton's Shetland Chunky in #03212 Imperial (This is a #5 yarn in a discontinued color, so you may have to substitute.)
Embroidery yarn or buttons for eyes and nose

Gauge: 4 st X 6 rows = 1 inch in stockinette stitch
Size: 4.3 inches tall and approximately 3 inches wide

Stitch pattern: Crossed Stockinette
Row 1: flat or u-knit all pegs
Row 2: e-wrap knit all pegs


Set slider for 30 pegs (10 on each side, plus the 5-peg end pieces)
CO 30 pegs using a drawstring CO. 
Work Crossed Stockinette stitch pattern for 2¾ inches ending on an e-wrap row.
*K1, k2tog; rep from * to end of row. This is a decrease from 30 to 20 stitches.
Continue working stitch pattern for another 1.8 to 2 inches.

Refer to the original pattern for shaping, stuffing, eyes and nose.

Tail: Work a 5 inch I-cord using 4 pegs and stitch in place.


I hope to be adding many more projects that I've worked on over the past few months. I've spent more time knitting than blogging so I'm a bit behind updating Loom Lore. I hope to add projects that I did for the Yahoo Loom Class that haven't been posted before in addition to new creations. My next post will be my version of a log cabin square done on the loom, so stay tuned.