she put out a pretty terrific and versatile product!
I’ve had the good fortune to be able to play with the Martha Stewart Crafts Lion Brand Knit & Weave Loom (yes, a very big mouthful, lol) and let me tell you… this loom is fun! :)
I’m going to tell you a little bit about this loom (click on this link to find out more from Lion Brand, as well as watch an introductory video!), and share with you the progress of the project I’ve been looming on it!
First of all…let’s look at what all comes with this kit.
You get this booklet that you see here, which at first looks like a Wow! of a book, as it’s so thick. But then, you realize that just this much (that I’m holding in the photo) is actually information printed in English…the rest is the same info printed in assorted languages.
The booklet is still extremely informative and has all kinds of great pictures to help you get the hang of using this loom, both for weaving and loom knitting.
There is also a terrific selection of new yarns to go along with the concept of this kit. I have a few of the new styles to try and will let you know how I like using them. Maybe they’ll become a brand new loom knitting pattern! ;)
Knit & Weave Loom Knit includes:
– (2) 36-hole straight pieces
– (2) 28-hole semi-circle pieces
– (4) 12-hole straight pieces
– (2) 10-hole U-shaped pieces
– (4) 6-hole straight pieces
– (4) 6-hole corner pieces
– 206 small-gauge pegs
– 104 large-gauge pegs
– knitting tool
– weaving tool
– crochet hook
– small and large yarn needles
– instruction booklet (English, Français, Español)
The item that I thought was lacking in this list was a carry bag to store all these items in. The kit comes in a plastic box that has a handle, but it’s pretty flimsy and the glue holding the box together comes apart easily…definitely not what you need to store the kit.
My solution was to use a longer carry bag which I had previously purchased at Authentic Knitting Board. This works great for me to keep everything together.
To organize the kit inside the bag, I put the loom pieces inside a gallon Ziploc bag and the bags of pegs were placed in a zipper pouch I had on hand. Probably not the best solution, but does the job for now. ;)
The pegs can be adjusted for different gauges… I’m loving that!
If you set up the loom for the larger gauge, you skip every other hole on the loom pieces. The distance between the pegs when you do this is 3/4″ from centers of pegs. As a comparison, this is the same gauge as the Knifty Knitter green 36 peg round loom and peach 12 peg flower loom.
The loom pieces insert inside one another at the ends, a lot like the concept of Lego’s or Lincoln Logs.
I thought this join might feel week or wobbly, but after using several different configurations of the loom, I found that it really doesn’t shake at all. The pegs do a great job in holding the pieces together.
Speaking of pegs, I wanted to say that they are a fairly snug fit inside the holes, which is a good thing to help them keep doing their job of staying put and holding everything together. I have found a few places where the loom holes don’t allow the peg to sit completely down inside them. This isn’t a big deal, though, as they can still be used normally. ;)
I love the fact that there are two different colors of each size peg! This is extremely handy for marking stitch patterns, or keeping track of your anchor peg.
If you don’t skip every other peg when using the larger pegs, you’ll get a gauge of 3/8″ from centers of pegs. This is comparable to an extra small gauge loom. I do have to say that it would be a snug fit for your yarn to use the pegs this way, as they end up pretty close together up at the wider part of the pegs. ;)
The fine gauge pegs are placed in every hole of the loom pieces and measure 1/4″ from the centers of pegs. This is comparable to a fine gauge loom.
I haven’t gotten to play with the loom in this gauge yet, but I’m excited to see how that goes! What I have gotten to do is work on a very special kitty project!
Hahahaha! No…not this kitty, but he sure is cute, isn’t he? :D I put the loom in this configuration to create an adult size hat. Yes, even though it looks huge, it really does do the job at creating a great fit! I use the U-Stitch on most of my projects, and this technique seems to do a terrific job at getting nicely even and snug stitches with this loom.
No…the project I’m right now in the process of looming with this Martha Stewart Loom is Koby the Striped Kitty!
I’ve so much been enjoying the process of being able to make custom shape looms for each of the sections needed! I did have a little trouble figuring out how to get a 24 peg configuration with the shapes provided. This is needed for Koby’s body and head. I ended up making them with the two round sections together, which makes 26 pegs. I realized later that I could have made a “D” shape with the loom to achieve a 24 peg setting. The photo shows how to do this shape, minus the two little corner pieces… mine were occupied in the little square of stripes that you see farther above in this post, so I couldn’t put it completely together. I’m sure you get the idea, though. ;)
The one big drawback I’ve found about this loom kit is the limited ways to be able to decrease your stitches. I tried doing this for the tail on the little square loom and although I did succeed in completing the decreases, I had a dickens of a time trying to shrink those square sections down to enable the knitting to come together into a point.
You can actually configure your loom at the very start of your knitting in this way, casting on your required number of stitches.
The decreases are then accomplished by removing the decreased pegs from the loom and sliding the loom pieces tighter together to form this “S” shape with the “eye” in the center. The knitted piece you see here was loomed using the entire round loom, then the top portion tapers in with decreases…this is showing how the loom has shifted at each of the joints, as well as all the pegs that were removed in the process.
By the way, the circle pieces put together to make a loom of 26 pegs (when skipping every other hole) creates a piece of knitting that would be a good size for a newborn hat. Again, I used the U-Stitch, so my sample of stitches is smaller than those of an E-wrapped project would be. ;)
The MS loom tool is debatable. I absolutely LOVE the grip on it! I have been using the loom tool to create all of the pieces you see here and more besides and really enjoy the feel of it in my hands.
The iffy part of the tool is the strength of the hook. It’s made from thinner metal and is pretty flexible. This is just fine when looming with regular knit and purl stitches and with worsted weight to chunky yarns. The problem comes when you’re having to move stitches around and are requiring extra strength to pull your stitches, when you tend to knit tightly, or if you are using a super bulky weight yarn. In these instances, I would suggest using a stronger tool, my fave being the original Knifty Knitter loom tool….it hasn’t let me down yet!
All in all, I think the Martha Stewart Crafts Lion Brand Knit & Weave Loom is a excellent value for the price! It’s super versatile and would see a loomer through many different types of projects. I haven’t tried its weaving abilities yet, but I’m sure they work just as well as the knitting capabilities. Just keep in mind the decreasing/increasing limitations and hook strength when deciding on using this loom for a particular project.
Better yet, there are many super cute and adorable new projects cropping up that have been created just for this loom! You just have to check out these cuties here at Lion Brand… several of them are on my to-do list for sure! :) Just click on the pics to go to the pattern:
Sign up for their newsletters while you’re there and you’ll receive emails with links to more great patterns! ;)
(Just so you know…The opinions and ideas detailed in this post are my own. This is not an advertisement for either Lion Brand or Martha Stewart Crafts. I was provided with a complimentary loom kit so that I could try it out and see how I liked it, but was under no obligation to reciprocate in any way. ;) I just like the loom and thought you should know my honest opinions about it, as well as a few tips I’ve found during the process of working with it.)
I hope you all have a fantabulous week! Happy looming…
Edited on 11/10/11 to add: There is a playlist by Lion Brand on YouTube containing 24 videos on how to use this new loom! Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6CD397FA68F72370