While having more time at home I learned about loom knitting, which is a different way to knit using a row or circle of pegs, and with a hook and your fingers rather than needles. I had seen knitting looms before but never used one myself. My niece had given me a set in various sizes, after deciding she wasn’t going to use them.
Knitting looms come in different sizes and shapes including a straight line with one row of pegs, a rectangle with two rows of pegs, or a circle, and with different numbers of pegs for smaller or larger projects. You can make tubular things like hats and sleeves using a round or rectangle shaped loom. You can do flat knitting with any of shape of loom. I have seen at least one rectangular loom where you can move the “end” back and forth to adjust the size and total number of pegs for a project.
Knitting looms seem limiting to me since the pegs are a fixed distance apart and there are a limited number of pegs. With knitting needles you have a wide range of possible length and width of needles appropriate for any thickness of yarn, and you can cast on however many stitches are needed. However, if you have the right yarn and project, the knitting loom can result in exactly the same result as traditional knitting, and provides an option for people who have problems using regular knitting needles.
The information in the pamphlet that came with the set was enough to get started, but youtube videos with instructions for different methods of casting on and doing stitches were more helpful. There are very simplistic cast on and “knit” stitches that would be good for a person who has no experience with knitting and wants to get the hang of it and actually make something pretty easily, but it will look a bit different than traditional knitting. After reading information I found on the internet and watching some videos I realized that there was a way to get the exact same result as the regular knit stitch produced with knitting needles. I cast on and started knitting and ripped it out several times before I was satisfied that I knew what was going on.
I started out thinking I was making a chunky cowl using two years together, from a loom knitting pattern I found online. I did not try to figure out the gauge (bad idea) since the yarns combined and the number of stitches seemed about right. That was a mistake because after several rows I realized it was going to be a baby hat. OK fine.
To make a “true” knit stitch (so it produces the same result as with knitting needles), you lay the working yarn across the next peg above the loop that is on that peg, poke the hook under the loop on that peg, and then scoop up the working yarn and pull it through the loop. Then you use your fingers to lift the old loop off the peg and place the new loop you just made on the loop. There is a simpler way to make a stitch by picking up the loop currently on the peg with the hook and lifting it up and over the working yarn and over the peg. This results in a slightly different stitch.
In addition to having a much smaller circumference than I was expecting, I knit too many rows for the width of the hat. It could have been a very tall clown baby hat, but I decided to rip some of the rows back before cinching up the final row of stitches by threading the working yarn through each loop. Finally I added a braid at the top.