Finishing up some charity projects lately. As much as I enjoy crocheting and knitting, I’m a tad slower than many (especially on the latter) and wanted to get these done quickly. Enter loom knit.
Those trusty plastic “even a child can do it” looms are actually great tools for doing all sorts of items. There are many beautiful wood looms and adjustable looms enabling loom knitters to also do projects from socks to intricate lace.
For me, I’m faster with fancier stitches on a crochet hook or knitting needles. I use the loom when I want a nice bulky looking (read warm) end knit. And speed, let’s not forget the speed of simple stitches on a loom.
The blanket is made quickly using an e-wrap stitch with worsted weight yarn held double. If you loom knit – you know that makes just the cuddliest, heavy warm fabric. You make wide strips that you then join together. This one is baby size at four blocks in a 2X2. I’m so in love with it that I’m planning a 9 block (3 X 3 blocks) for me cuddling in front of the TV.
I went for just a bit of texture, with blocks of stockinette e-wrap and purl. Did a block of 50 rows then took the fabric off the loom and placed it onto circular knitting needles, then place back on the loom reversed. This saved me from doing a bunch of purl stitches – which is not as fast as simple e-wrap.
Pattern for four block child size
I got 1 block of 50 rows per every 4 oz skein of acrylic worsted weight yarn (older skeins that didn’t have yardage – will update to yardage as I make more). The child’s blanket took 4 skeins.
Holding 2 strands of yarn cast on 36 pegs (all pegs on my green Knifty Knitter loom). For future blankets, I’ll be doing a loose chain cast on (crochet a chain and slip it on the peg). I did crochet cast on for this one and it was a mistake – didn’t find a cast off that matched it to my liking; luckily the single crochet edge masked that. You can see the difference in my crochet cast on (the loose edge) and the crochet cast off I decided to stick with after trying two other cast off methods above.
E-wrap 50 rows back and forth (do not make a circle).
Take circular crochet needles or blocking wire and gently take each stitch off the loom and onto the wires.
Place the strip back on the loom reversed.
E-wrap 50 rows going back and forth again.
Loose crochet cast off.
Make another strip.
Don’t cut yarn. I use this double strand for joining and crochet edge (although there did end up being knots joining to the remainder from the previous strip to finish the crochet edge).
I joined the strips with the flat slip stitch you see for joining granny blocks with a J hook. Here’s one tute from Craft Passion https://www.craftpassion.com/flat-slip-stitch-granny-join/2/ . I recommend pinning your centers to one another then pinning the sides as the edges (purl joined to stockinette) will look different and you want to keep your join even. I used stitch markers, safety pins through the loops would work. Doesn’t have to be tight, just enough that you can see you’re keeping your rows even.
At the end of the join, start your single crochet edge, doing 3 single crochets every time you reach a corner stitch. I used a K hook on the top and bottom and switched to the J hook for the sides. You want to crochet loosely, go up a hook if you need to. When you reach your starting point, do a slip stitch to the single crochet, pull your yarn through that loop and knot, weave in how you like.
I did find the joining strips to be a pain as I went slowly to stay even and had to pay attention in the crochet edge (again purl blocks to stockinette blocks edges look different). But, overall this is fast and easy and I just love the finished fabric.
Given that it’s 100°F and July, I’m holding my box of knits to mail at the end of September. Some places don’t have a lot of storage or they’re dusty, don’t want to mail too far in advance of when they can use it. Mailing charity knits is an exercise in math – I don’t doubt that if you could buy and ship 5 blankets from Walmart for the price of shipping your homemade one, most charities would rather get the 5 to keep more people warm. But, you can ship baby things, hats, scarves and such relatively reasonably so if there’s a non-local charity you want to support, for me this is the way to go. It always makes sense to try to accommodate local charities first for many reasons, mailing costs in the U.S. included.
This blanket and a few other items are slated to go to one of the poorest counties in the U.S. – that encompassing Native American reservations in South Dakota. My quid pro quo on that is California has a nasty habit of burning in the summer and fall. My donations may be re-directed locally should a need appear before I mail them.
I’m looking at putting together a post for hand knit / crochet donations and will link to that if you’d like more information on knitting for charity.