Warp Knitting on a Round Knitting Loom

Introduction: Warp Knitting on a Round Knitting Loom

About: Give back to the Internet.

This tutorial describes how to warp knit a tubular scarf on a circular knitting loom using a 1x1 closed lap stitch pattern. It is a follow-up to my previous tutorial on how to warp knit a flat panel on a straight knitting loom. Due to the larger number of yarns and pegs for this project, this tutorial includes suggestions on how to organise a large number of yarns for easier knitting.

Supplies

  • Round knitting loom
  • Loom hook or loom pick
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Bobbins, extra large floss cards, or other object to hold yarn
  • Clips or clothes pegs
  • Warping board, warping frame, or equivalent (not shown)
  • Yarn (not shown)

Because warp knitting is done with one strand of yarn for each column (wale) of the knitted fabric, you will need as many bobbins and clips as there are pegs on your knitting loom. For this project, I used a round knitting loom with 24 pegs, so I prepared 24 bobbins to hold 24 strands of yarn. I made the bobbins by laser cutting 3-5mm thick acrylic into H-shaped pieces, and the DXF and PDF files are included if you wish to do the same. Feel free to adjust the size of the bobbins or make your bobbins from wood, cardboard, or any other material that is convenient.

Step 1: Understanding Warp Knitting

Unlike weft knitting, which is the type of knitting that hand knitters are familiar with, warp knitting knits multiple strands of yarn simultaneously, with each strand of yarn forming a vertical or zigzag column (wale) of loops. Personally, I think of warp knitting as being somewhat like intarsia, except that every stitch in a row is knitted from a different strand of yarn.

Warp knitting is typically done on flat knitting machines and circular knitting machines. To simulate how a circular warp knitting machine would probably work, I used a round knitting loom to manually warp knit a tube. (I say 'probably' because I've never seen a circular warp knitting machine in operation, whether in real life or in a video.)

This tutorial uses 1x1 closed laps to form the knitted fabric. For a more detailed explanation on closed and open laps, take a look at my previous tutorial.

Step 2: Measure and Cut Yarn

Cut one strand of yarn for every peg. For my 24-peg knitting loom, I prepared 24 strands of yarn that are long enough to knit a scarf. You can estimate the length of yarn needed by using a fixed length of yarn to knit a swatch on your knitting loom, then use the length of the knitted swatch to calculate the amount of yarn needed for your actual project.

For this project, I used a handspun wool yarn with a yarn diameter varying between 3-10mm (1/8-7/16") and a knitting loom with pegs spaced 16mm (5/8") apart. I could knit a 1.4m (4' 7") scarf using about 11.2m (12.25 yds) of yarn for each peg. After hand washing and hanging to dry, the scarf stretched and increased in length by about 14-15%.

To speed up the measuring and cutting of yarn, if you have a warping board or warping frame, use that to measure and cut your yarn. I don't have a warping board, so I measured the distance between the pegs on an inkle loom and used the loom to measure my yarn. If you don't have any specialised equipment for measuring yarn, you can use a piece of furniture with straight legs, a box with straight sides, or a rigid board with straight sides as a substitute. Just measure the perimeter of the furniture/box/board, then divide your required length of yarn by the perimeter to calculate how many times to wind your yarn around the furniture/box/board to get the required length.

Step 3: Organise Yarn

To organise the 24 strands of yarn into something manageable, I wound each strand of yarn around a bobbin and borrowed the kumihimo method of tying tama (weighted spools) to prevent the yarn from unwinding uncontrollably.

  1. Tie slip knot.
  2. Place the yarn tail over the long end of the yarn to form a loop.
  3. Insert your index finger and thumb underneath and into the loop.
  4. Use your index finger and thumb to grab the long end of the yarn and pull it through the loop.
  5. Continue pulling the long end of the yarn to tighten the knot.
  6. Insert the bobbin into the loop of the slip knot.
  7. Hold the knot and pull the long end of the yarn to tighten the slip knot around the bobbin.
  8. Wind yarn.
  9. Start winding the yarn onto the bobbin. In the images, I wound the yarn so that it goes over the bobbin towards myself, then under the bobbin away from myself.
  10. Continue winding until ~30cm (1') of yarn remains.
  11. Tie to prevent yarn from unwinding uncontrollably.
  12. With the yarn tail positioned so that it has just passed underneath the bobbin and away from yourself, hold the yarn with your left hand so that the yarn passes under the middle finger and over the index finger and thumb. Use your index and middle fingers to grasp the yarn firmly. Your thumb should be positioned closest to the bobbin.
  13. Rotate your thumb upwards so that the thumb is now furthest from the bobbin and the index and middle fingers are closest to the bobbin. This creates a loop.
  14. Insert the bobbin underneath the yarn tail and into the loop.
  15. Pull the yarn tail to tighten.
  16. Notice that there is now a U-shape around the yarn tail. When the tail is pulled so that it tugs against the bottom of the U, the yarn will 'lock' so that it does not unwind. When the tail is pulled towards the top of the U, the yarn will be able to unwind from the bobbin.
  17. Place clip on yarn tail to reserve excess yarn for fringe.
  18. To ensure that enough yarn remains at the start to tie a fringe, measure the amount of yarn required to create the fringe and place a clip/clothes peg at that position. The clip position indicates where to start knitting. For this tutorial, I placed the clip 8cm (3 5/32") from the yarn end to reserve enough yarn for a 4-5cm (~2") long fringe.

Repeat the steps for all 24 strands of yarn.

Step 4: Cast On

To start knitting, take a bobbin of yarn and wrap the yarn around a peg so that the tail together with its clip/clothes peg hangs inside the knitting loom. Then, wind the working yarn around the peg clockwise (CW) so that the bobbin hangs outside the loom, on the right side of the peg. Repeat this so that every peg is wound with yarn.

Step 5: Right-Going Stitch

Pick up a bobbin and wrap its working yarn counter-clockwise (CCW) around the peg to its right. The bobbin should exit on the left side of the newly wrapped peg. The newly wrapped peg will now have two loops, with the newly added loop above the older loop. Repeat this for every peg.

Then, use the loom hook to pick up the bottom loop and lift it over the top loop, so that only one loop remains on the peg. This is a hook over. Repeat this for every peg. If you find it difficult to lift up the bottom loop because it feels tight, try supporting the bobbin connected to the bottom loop with your free hand. This reduces the weight pulling on the bottom loop, making it easier for you to lift the loop over the peg.

Now, every peg should have only one loop. Push all of the loops to the bottom of the pegs to prepare for the next row.

Step 6: Left-Going Stitch

Pick up a bobbin and wrap its working yarn CW around the peg to its left. The bobbin should exit on the right side of the newly wrapped peg. The newly wrapped peg will now have two loops, with the newly added loop above the older loop. Repeat this for every peg.

Then, use the loom hook to pick up the bottom loop and lift it over the top loop, so that only one loop remains on the peg. This is a hook over. Repeat this for every peg.

Now, every peg should have only one loop. Push all of the loops to the bottom of the pegs to prepare for the next row.

Repeat the right-going and left-going stitches (steps 5 and 6) until the knitted fabric is the desired length.

Step 7: Fringe Bind Off

To match the fringe at the cast on, I used a bind off to create a stable edge with a fringe.

  1. For every alternate peg, move the loop to its neighbouring peg. Now, half the pegs will be empty, and the other half will have two loops.
  2. Hook over.
  3. Use the loom hook to pick up the remaining loop on the peg.
  4. Thread the two strands of yarn that connect to that stitch through the loop. Pull to tighten the knot.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for all the other loops to complete the fringe.

Trim the fringe to your desired length. I chose to tie an overhand knot at the end of each yarn to prevent the plies from splaying apart.

Step 8: Fringe (Cast On)

For the edge that was cast on, remove the clips/clothes pegs and tie every two yarns together to form a fringe, then trim the fringe to an even length. For my fringe, I used an offset overhand bend knot to tie two yarns together, then tied another overhand knot at the end of the yarn to prevent the plies from splaying apart, but you can use any method you prefer.

Step 9: Finished Scarf

The warp knitted scarf is done!

The outside and inside of the scarf will look slightly different. The overlaps (the loop-like parts) will be more visible on the outside. The underlaps (the straight segments that stretch between loops) will be more visible on the inside. You can choose to use the scarf right side out or inside out.

Step 10: Loom Stand

You may have noticed that my knitting loom is placed on a stand. To make it easier to manage the scarf as it is knitted, I made a platform with a hole in the centre so that the scarf can descend through the hole as it grows in length. The structure is vaguely inspired by a kumihimo marudai. My platform is made out of laser cut acrylic rings, acrylic glue, wooden poles with heat shrink plastic sleeves, and masking tape. The platform does its job, but it's a rough and wobbly piece of work so I won't describe it in detail here.

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    4 Comments

    0
    hbmueller
    hbmueller

    3 days ago on Step 10

    Incredible. Thanks for the in depth descriptions and instructions.

    0
    DanPro
    DanPro

    3 days ago

    Being a circular sock machine knitter this caught my eye. I'm sure that with the right size loom, some confusing heel and toe instructions, and lots of cursing my suggestion, Socks could be made like this as well.

    0
    Minimal Pocket Generator
    Minimal Pocket Generator

    Reply 2 days ago

    I think it's possible! The simplest way might be to mix in some regular weft knitting techniques to do the shaping, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's possible to do it entirely with warp knitting, since warp knitting can be used to make seamless garments. An added advantage is that warp knitted fabrics don't ladder like weft knitted fabrics do, so it might make for a more durable sock.