Friday, August 07, 2009

Hexed & perplexed

More experimentation - this is becoming "The Blog of the Mad Loomer." However, I think I've totally slipped this time and blurred the indelible line between knitting and crocheting. Oops, I forgot some folks don't consider loom knitting as "real" knitting; oh well, I laugh in the face of restrictive labeling and enter forbidden territory with careless abandon....ha, ha!! With that I present to you Hexed, a loom knitted hexagonal granny square based on crochet instructions.

Now you might ask, "Why not just crochet this little motif?" The answer to that started about three years ago, when I gradually got to where the numbness, tingling, cramping and pain became unbearable every time I tried to crochet. It was at this time I discovered the knitting looms and a alternative instrument for crafting yarn became a new passion. Even though it was love at first stitch, the looms do have some limitations that must be overcome or worked around, which for me is half the fun.

Hexed is one of those designs that was born out of an attempt to overcome the limitations of the loom. It is not my original design, but my translation of a crochet pattern from Attic24: Hexagon How-to as applied to the knitting looms. Since it is not my original design, I will not go into specifics regarding how it was made on the knitting loom, but I will give you some general guidelines.

Hexed was made using one strand of worsted weight yarn throughout in four different colors (Red Heart Super Saver in Aran white & lt. gold; Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in brick; Red Heart Soft in tangerine). The loomer's magic circle (see Watermelon Tutorial Pattern) made on the KK 12-peg Flower Loom formed the center. The remainder of Hexed was knitted on two pegs of the DA Loom's Regular Gauge Set Sampler. I used this loom because of its compact size and ease of use. Also, the gauge was compatible, though smaller, than the large gauge KK Loom. However, two pegs of any of the KK looms could have been used. Most of the stitches were made very similar to those used in the August Sun motif, except all the stitches were made through the whole stitch instead of just the back loop. When knitting through the whole stitch, both the front and back part of the stitch has to be picked up and placed back on the peg. If you have not used a fairly loose tension, this will be the most difficult part of knitting this design. I came close to giving up at this point, but finally worked through it with a mental note to keep the stitches looser the next time.

In order to get a side-by-side comparison, I had to endure the numbness and agony to crochet the counterpart. Here's quick visual comparison of the loom knitted motif (left) and the crocheted motif (right) made using the same pattern:
The loom knitted version took just a little longer to make, but most of that was because I had to work through the stitch translation. The crocheted version at 4.5 inches across is a bit larger compared to the loom knitted version an even 4 inches. Finally, the crocheted design is more defined than the knitted version, but this may be due to my faulty translation.

As for being perplexed, I'm not really sure how you classify a technique that is made entirely on a loom using knit stitches translated from a crochet pattern. However, if you are interested in learning this technique, plus it makes a great coaster. All comments are welcome. If there is enough interest, I'll work up a tutorial.