How Old Is Loom Knitting? The Origin of a Timeless Craft




how old is loom knitting

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

When you are new to knitting, you might not be familiar with the terms and style. You might be surprised that there is such a thing as Loom Knitting.

Knitting is when you form a series of interlocking stitches with two needles to create a fabric, and looming is when you do it with a knitting loom commonly made of wood, plastic, or metal frame.

These frames have evenly spaced pegs where you can place the yarn to make patterns for your fabric. The frames are also adjustable to accommodate all sorts of projects. Loom knitting is much faster than knitting.

Loom knitting has been around for hundreds of years already. The oldest loom knitting dates back to the 16th century, while the oldest knitting record was dated back to the 11th century in Egypt. People back then were looking for ways to improve the speed of their knitting. They invented a frame as the machine to knit on, and thus the loom knitting art was born.

Loom knitting is easy; you place the string material onto the loom’s pegs to create your fabric. Unlike regular knitting, you will have a frame to guide you and keep the fabric in place as you create your beautiful works of art.

There are all sorts of looms that depend on your pattern. There are flower looms, rectangle looms, round looms, sock looms, and straight looms.

Loom knitting is preferred for people who easily get tired of stitching needles. The loom can create evenly spaced, beautiful patterns that look just as good as when you stitch needles.

It is easier to see the patterns with a loom than when it is with needles. Counting stitches is also easier so it is not too hard to forget or get lost in counting.

When Did Loom Knitting Start?

Loom knitting is traced all the way back to the 16th century. Back then, the term loom knitting was not as popular as it was called frame knitting. It may be a century-old art, but loom knitting is making a tremendous comeback.

You may have seen the frames in arts and crafts stores. They are usually made of wood, plastic, or metal with evenly spaced pegs on them. At first, they might look a little odd, especially when you do not know what they are for but trust me, loom knitting can be addictive once you learn how to do them correctly.

Did this get you hooked yet? If it does, let’s familiarize you with the types of looms, such as the single-sided rakes, the knitting boards, or the rounds.

Round knitting looms have a fitting name for them which are also called hat looms. They are called hat looms because that is what they are, they usually make hats for large circle frames, and for small circle frames, you can make baby socks. It all depends on the size and your imagination.

Round knitting looms can usually produce tube fabrics, but not all the time because if you know how to knit correctly, you can still produce a flat surface for this.

If you are looking to make a noncomplicated flat surface with loom knitting, then you might want to try using a single-sided rake loom. This loom frame is specifically made to produce flat surface fabrics with your yarn.

The difference between a single-sided rake loom and a knitting board is that a knitting board is a type of loom that has a double-sided peg that is parallel to each other. It is like two single-sided rake loom facing each other with a small gap in between them.

It is no wonder that it is also called a double-sided rake. If you want to produce projects with a double-sided surface, then this is the tool to use. It is good for making blankets that have both right sides and even sweaters that can be turned over.

When Was the Knitting Loom Invented?

William Lee of Calverton near Nottingham is the person who invented loom knitting back in the 16th century. He demonstrated a machine for knitting to Queen Elizabeth I.

There is an interesting story that comes with this, how he came about inventing the machine when his girlfriend would not pay attention to him and is much more interested in knitting. He invented a frame for knitting when he was curated. By the 16th century, the elites used knitting machines, such as looms, for their hosiery.

Knitting soon took over the fabric industry in Highland and Scottland, employing men to work for their factories to be exported to Europe. There was soon an excess of supply blankets, hats, jumpers, socks, and other knitwear.

It was Eugene Rodier who first took on the woolen textile factory in 1853. Expensive garments made from knitting wool were done by knitting looms that were first set up in 1816. Now knitting is making a comeback, and the industry has never been better.

Is Loom Knitting Easier Than Regular Knitting?

Loom knitting is more fun than regular knitting because it is easier on the hands, and you can produce complex designs and patterns with minimal effort. The knots are intertwined with pegs from the frame instead of needles. If you are a beginner and love to do arts and crafts, this is a good way to start with knitting.

Older people who are interested in knitting but may not be as dextrous with their fingers as before, maybe due to arthritis, and might want to take up loom knitting. Constantly arching your needles with each stitch is quite taxing, especially for old people. Loom knitting can take that out of the equation and produce only quality work without the disadvantage of tired hands and wrists.

It is so much more comfortable because you can place the frame on your lap or tabletop. That frees your other hand for other work like going through your phone or other activities, which can also free you up some time. Holding two needles for knitting now has become just an option now that you know about the wonders of loom knitting.

Because the pegs are evenly spaced in the frame, and you do not have to create tension on the yarn or be stuck to counting patterns, you can now produce intricate art from different patterns and designs. The stitches will all be even and the same, with a more refined finish when loom knitting.

And before you get into the debate if loom knitting is cheating, let me just say that no it is not cheating. Just because you can produce finer results with minimal effort does not mean that you are cheating on your craft. After all, there are also some disadvantages of loom knitting.

Knitting the regular way does not require your full attention as it may be repetitive and can be meditative, but that is not the case with loom knitting, as it requires your full attention. Some people who knit regularly can even do this while walking, but not with loom knitting because you must focus on which peg you put the yarn next. It is not something you can do away with by not looking at it.

Because loom frames are limited, there are also limited finished products that can be produced with loom knitting. It requires a great amount of creativity to produce something more complex than just a sock or a hat, or a blanket. This is where your artistic brain comes into use. So you see it is not really cheating when you use a loom for knitting.

Looms are also much more expensive than just buying a pair of needles for knitting regularly, not to mention the fact that you need different frames to produce different types of fabric. Large loom frames can also cause a problem when traveling. Instead of just taking a couple of yarns and needles with you, you have to do away with packing a large frame.

What Is the Best Yarn for Loom Knitting?

The best way to answer this question is first to know what gauge your loom is and what gauge their yarn is to fit this project best. Large looms would best fit bulky yarns that are best fitted for blankets.

If you use small gauge looms for boards, then a single strand of wool is a good weight. For heavier looms is at a 4 or a 5 weight; if it goes much lighter, you can use a 2 or 3.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need chunky yarn every time you use a loom. You can use a simple thin single strand for light pieces and two single strands for heavier pieces. Some people would prefer using the medium strand to fit both of the ideals when loom knitting.

Now that we knot the origins and pros and cons of loom knitting, we can definitely say that loom knitting is not cheating, so go ahead and enjoy this craft as best as you can.

About the author

Latest posts

  • Can You Convert a Double Knitting Pattern to 4 Ply?

    Can You Convert a Double Knitting Pattern to 4 Ply?

    Knitting enthusiasts often come across a beautiful double knitting pattern but only have 4 ply yarn at their disposal. While it may require some adjustments and considerations, it’s possible to successfully adapt a double knitting pattern to suit your 4 ply yarn.

    Read more

  • Can I Bring Knitting to Jury Duty? (A Comprehensive Guide)

    Can I Bring Knitting to Jury Duty? (A Comprehensive Guide)

    Jury duty can often be a tedious and time-consuming process, with long hours of waiting and sitting in courtrooms. To help pass the time and maintain a sense of calm, many people turn to their hobbies, such as knitting. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the rules and considerations surrounding knitting during jury duty.

    Read more

  • How Many Knitting Stitches per CM for Your Knitting Project

    How Many Knitting Stitches per CM for Your Knitting Project

    When embarking on a knitting project, one crucial factor that greatly affects the outcome is the number of stitches per centimeter (CM). The stitch density determines the overall size, drape, and texture of your knitted fabric, making it essential to choose the right stitch count to achieve your desired results.

    Read more