I love knitting in the round but could not find a way to knit a decent sock on the looms available at local craft stores. Usually the smallest one available to make baby hats or bulky mittens just wouldn't do what I wanted. So then I found the Letter D. It seemed to be perfect for what I had in mind. The best part of round looms is that you can put it down and pick it up any time, and you can do this craft even if you never knitted before. Its easier to regulate the tension on the loom than it is on straight or double point needles when your a beginner. No counting stitches as you cast on. (Unless you want to) Both having their advantages in that traditional knitting can be faster for experienced knitters with other pattern options such as fancier stitch patterns, but you can do some things such as a simple cable, or special wraps on the round knitter.
This is mainly about crafting already available materials into a handy knitter. Your only limited by your imagination, truly fits this situation. I added an additional feature making the peg (nails in this case) removable so you can add or subtract pegs as needed.
I will add more content as I try various things with my knitter.
Discussions on Craftcycle Natural Crafting. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Craftcycle-NaturalCrafts
Step 1: Letters Make Nifty Looms
I happened upon some wooden letters in a discount bin and thought how they might make a great sock loom. I first considered the letter O but none were available, so D was my second choice. I did decide to pick up a P and Q for other tests with peg size and size of opening for various projects in mind.
Step 2: Measuring Up Your Project
When drilling the holes just make sure that the diameter of the hole is the same as the nail or peg your using or else they will either not fit or fall out. The nails I used were 1/16th of an inch in diameter and 1 - 3/8ths inches long . I spaced them at 3/16ths of an inch apart, which should be your minimum for the yarn to work effectively around the pegs without limiting the yarn or your hook around them. (The yarn in this case was less than an 8th in in diameter.)
Measure once and then again as when working this close, it doesn't matter when using every other peg (3/8ths in apart ) for larger yarn the difference is not noticed as much but I did get one hole drilled too close to another, and it makes a slight change in the closeness of those two stitches coming off that peg. I have a size 8 foot. You may need more pegs for a larger foot.
The thickness of the letter gives enough room to figure in how many 8ths you need at 3/8ths between every other peg and get your diameter around the ring. and then remeasure in between to make sure your 3/16ths are equally distant apart. Some find that a compass with a pencil or a sharp pair of points (see photo) are good for fine work.
I just jumped in and marked off the points but next time I will be more careful. For an average adult size foot, I found that you need to have at least 14.5 inches circumference round for your peg points. (minimum) I ended up with a total of 74 holes, but started out only useing38(every other one, and then added a few pegs on the corners to get me up to 40 (make turning the heel easier on closer pegs) for the correct width starting at the toe. (14.5 inches is equal to 116 - 8ths I somehow came up with 114. 38x 3-8ths, because my corners were not spaced evenly apart in measuring, but I had enough pegs to get through the project. I did gradually add pegs for the heel turning and then spaced in between every other empty hole. Then gradually worked up to all but 8holes with a peg. Also when increasing the number of pegs for the heel, I did decrease a few for the ankle and then replace the every other peg to start on the calf. (Photos of the sock included in next few steps)
I will add more photos and info when I try out the other letter shapes.
Step 3: Yarn Onto Your Loom
This is the loom with a few rounds of stitches already on the loom. This is more about the loom process than a knitting lesson. So I am showing how the yarn fits onto the loom. The first row is usually a loop-d-loop round each peg and around the loom. In the first try I looped on counter clock wise. You can go either direction as long as you continue in the same direction once you yarn onto your project. With this more standard weight yarn I had to use every other peg hole as otherwise it would have been very tedious. Plus just by looking it seems we would end up with a nice boot sock. It was fun trying the pegs in different arrangements and not be stuck with one set pattern. The last photo is of a lighter weight yarn and using the loop around method or e wrap.
Step 4: Making a Fine Wool Sock
I had some yarn made for making socks that was tucked away in my craft bin waiting for a project such as this. I have tubular needles and double pointed needles, but really wanted to knit a sock with a round knitter. This gave me the opportunity to play around and have some fun. I love the adjustable peg option as it has been frustrating with the regular round pegged plastic knitters, you are stuck with a set diameter and number of pegs along with diameter of peg. Great for bulky weight yarn or having to double up yarn for it to work in the knitter. Most yarn for sale is much smaller so one would think a knitter with more pegs half the size would seem more appropriate. But that is part of the fun of hand crafting and repurposing items to do what you want them to.
Step 5: The Sock
This shows how I was able to turn a heel by going back and forth between the straight part of the D (double back) once for each full round. So I would go around one turn and head up the straight part of the D. Then use this as my point to turn back and go as far as the bottom of the straight part of the D and then turn and head back up the straight part. Then continue around and repeat this step till you get a heel large enough to accommodate your sock. I did this mostly in the red and then continued a few rows in the dark brown to finish the heel to the right size. I tried it a couple times till I got the right look in the fiber. You could practice just doing a heel turn before starting a whole sock, though doing an ankle sock would be much quicker. I could have gotten a pair of ankle socks out of one ball of yarn. Since I had two, I decided to go for knee socks because I love wearing them with my jeans.
The first photo is to show the extra thickness of the heel, (the toe area is not done yet. My next pair of socks I will start with the top of the sock and work down as closing the tow is easier than taking the end off and then turning a cuff. (Like making a brim for a hat.)
The (2) second photo shows how the sock was expanded just using extra pegs adding one to every other empty peg to space them out. The (3) third photo is so you can better see the knitting and that I have pegs in most of the holes ending near the top. I saved some dark brown to finish the toe. I can just sew the toe closed, but if its a bit tight, I am going to crochet more onto the end with the matching yarn. (More photos to come)
Step 6: Finishing the Length
I finally made it to the top of the sock. This is a great feeling and I could hardly wait to get my sock off and try this on for size. As you can see my toes sticking out as I started at the toe end and stopped where I wanted my heel to be. Thus leaving me a little short on the toes. But I had a method in mind for my madness. The other end of the ball of yarn had some dark brown and I planned on claiming that for finishing the toes. Not knowing exactly how I would attach it and decided to cross that bridge when I got to it. Normally I would just do a zig-zag, blind hem type stitch back and forth with a piece of yarn to close the end of the sock, and add a whip stitch if the ends needed a more finished look. Since the yarn started with 6inches of red I left that dangling and started looping with the dark brown knowing it would be enough for closing the end of my sock. (Not one inch of yarn was left unused.)
I finished off the top by lifting the individual loops off the pegs to crochet them together. Lifting the first loop with the loom hook enough to put through the crochet hook. Then catch the yarn and pulling it through (yarn over) pick up the next loop with a second hook and grab the loop from the first hook and put it through. This way there is a new loop between each of the loom loops and the sock will not be too tight to fit around my knee calf. I left the very last stitch not attached around to the first till I saw how it fit.
Some loomers just wrap their tie off yarn around the loops and pull it through as they go, but I wanted to create some stretchiness to the end of the knit.
Step 7: The Final Finish for the Sock
The toe area was only half finished when I went back to the end of my sock. This gave me an opportunity to shape the toe area some while adding a few foot of dark brown yarn. I decided to crochet the toe area and it worked out perfect.
The first row of crochet stitches is attached around and make sure it's not too tight. Then when reaching the first crochet loop, insert crochet hook into the middle of the first loop and under the side facing towards the outside of the sock. This pulls the loops in and looking more like knit loops than crochet. Also it made the surface smooth.
Make sure that the heel is centered when you flatten your sock and then when you get to each side, just skip one stitch to the next for decreasing (since were working tiny here) instead of the usual of drawing two stitches together. The narrowing curve had a nice even row on top, When I ran out of yarn, there was a row of loops sitting flat across the top.
Next, I took the 6inch red yarn that was left hanging near the toe as I started looping where the dark brown yarn started on the spool instead of using the small bit in the loom, decided to keep it for pulling the end of the sock closed. As shown in the bottom of the first photo; I looped the red yarn back and forth through the outer loops once again and it gave the toe of the sock a nice flat smooth look. It even turned out nice and smooth on the inside where lumps next to toes can ruin a sock for comfort.
One last final try on of the sock confirmed that it was the right size for my foot between the toes and heel. The whole sock fit like a glove.
Step 8: Details and Comparisons
This is a comparison of a typical round knitting loom. The pegs are bigger and usually you have to double the thread to get the right thickness. These are great for hats and scarves and panels but not socks. If anyone would like for me to do a how to on a fancier design using a standard round loom, I would love to hear from you.