As a good devotee of sustainable living, I wanted to start making my own socks for Mr. FC&G and I. True, I have made our fleece socks for a few years, but I wanted to knit some in fine sock yarn without the challenge of using multiple double-pointed needles. So, I was very excited to discover the sock loom.
The sock loom is designed to allow you to knit socks without understanding actual knitting. As you can see above, it is a simple wooden frame with a number of fixed pegs, each corresponding to a stitch. The small crosspiece can be adjusted to make a smaller or larger sock, and you do a bit of simple math based on your food circumference to decide how many pegs you need to use and thus adjust the loom.
The idea is a good one. Theoretically, you wind the yarn around each peg and then use a pointed tool to knit your stitches off, winding more yarn on for each round. You should be able to make any size sock from baby to adult male, and the only counting you need to do is the number of rows completed for each part of the sock: foot, heel, and ankle. The loom comes with a DVD that explains how to increase and decrease number of stitches to make the little pocket your heel goes in, and how to use the same technique to tailor the toe.
However, I found this device extremely frustrating for the following reasons:
- The loom should be able to be used to make any size sock, but my math indicates that I would not be able to make one big enough for Mr. FC&G, who, I hasten to add, has large feet but not freakishly large ones.
- The yarn is difficult to knit off the pegs even with the special tool. And heaven forbid you drop a stitch, because you have the yarn on there with such tension that the dropped stitch immediately creates a run that goes to the bottom of your work.
- See those corners? They are really painful to hold against your body. This may not be a problem for those that sit with the loom on a table as the DVD shows (although I couldn't really get it to work like that), but it is murder for those of us who like to sit on the couch with our knitting in our lap, watching TV.
So, it is back to square one for me with knitting socks. Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and get out the double-pointed needles after all.
Fast: I never could manage to complete a sock, so I have no idea if this is faster than traditional knitting. Certainly, it is more frustrating.
Cheap: If I remember correctly, this was about $25, which I intended as a reasonable sunk cost for a lifetime of quickly knitting our socks. However, I think it is far too expensive for what it does.
Good: The sock loom didn't work all that well for me, and worst of all, it eliminated that nice meditative feeling I get when I am handcrafting goods for my family. I have tried this multiple times with different yarns, different tensions, and a number of body positions, and I still always felt cramped and miserable. Regretfully, I have to recommend taking a pass on the sock loom.