Not that it gets much attention here on this blog, but I also do a little loom knitting on the side. The lovely Isela Phelps introduced it to me when I broke my arm and she was kind enough to send me her latest booklet, “Learn to Knit Cables on Looms” to review. Oh! I get to interview her too! (Either she is really brave, or I’m really nice under this gruff exterior – you decide) Even “I of short attention span” have cast on for a project or two out of the book and if they weren’t gifts, you’d get to see them now.
While the focus of the booklet is cables, and the projects are all marked for an intermediate skill level, Isela has also included the instructions for the basics such as casting on, creating knit and purl stitches and how to bind off. The booklet has full sized photos and clearly written step-by-step instructions for not only the basic stitches and cable techniques, but also for the 9 beautiful projects.
This booklet contains a little of everything; from the Classic Cables Scarf where you can hone your new found cable skills to the sophisticated and easy Aran Throw. You can get your sock on with the cozy Adestan Slipper Socks or make the cute Felted Backpack so your arms are empty for your next LYS shopping spree.
In her usual fashion, Isela has also has provided a series of tutorial videos on her website that work in tandem with this booklet. ( Video 1 Video 2) If you purchased the first edition, she has also provided an errata sheet that you can download. Go. Buy. Now.
Hi Isela! Thank you for “sitting down” with me. So, tell me, what’s on your loom right now?
On my loom: dust! LOL. I am terrible. Since I finished the last book, Loom Knitting Pattern book, you remember this one right? I hope you do since some of your patterns are in there. Anyways, since I finished it, I got burned out and I haven’t been looming much. I am taking a break.
Although you are a loom knitting maven, you also have a passion for needle knitting. So, what’s on your needles?
On my needles: I have the chevron scarf. I am working with Koigu and it is a delight to sit there for a few minutes and knit. The stitch pattern is so easy that I have memorized it and I can knit on the scarf when I am outside watching the kids.
Do you think your needle knitting has helped your looming or vice versa?
Absolutely. Without my needle knitting background, my looming would have stagnated. What am I saying? It was stagnated. I didn’t know where to go because I didn’t have the foundation needed and needle knitting provided me with that foundation. There is not much difference between loom knitting and needle knitting. In essence they are the same: creating fabric from live loops. The only difference is the tool used to create this fabric.
How many designs a year do you create?
I have never counted. I don’t think there are that many and my “designs” are so simple that I couldn’t really call them designs. But I do write down instructions to what I create on a constant basis.
What’s the best part of being a designer?
The best part I guess is the yarn that I get in the mail sometimes. I don’t request it or expect it but every so often I receive yarn to try out. It is not so much the free part but the part of trying out the new swag that excites me.
What inspires you?
In my loom knitting, I receive inspiration from my surroundings, my background.
Which design (from the booklet) came the easiest to you.
The scarf at the beginning was the easiest one to create. Not much to it. I just wanted 2 cables right next to each other.
Which one made your brain melt?
The Cion earflap hat. The cable at the crown shaping gave me some fits. I wanted them both the same (child and adult) but the decreases didn’t work out the same so I had to sit down and work out the differences.
Seriously, how long did the afghan take to actually loom?
Since I was on a tight deadline, I had to work fast. I took me about 2 days to knit it and 1 day to block and seam. We are talking full days of work though, not only afternoons.
Any more books in the works?
Right now, there are no books in the works, except for the upcoming sequel to Loom Knitting Primer, Loom Knitting Patternbook. I however do have a couple of needle knit designs coming out in a few publications
If you could only offer one tip to new loomers, what would you say? (or what is the most important thing new loomers should know).
One tip: learn to needle knit. If you want to expand on your loom knitting skills, learn the basics of needle knitting. You don’t necessarily need to become an expert at needle knitting but knowing the foundation: stitches, how stitch patterns are made (with the use of the two basic stitches), reading patterns/charts, knowing this information can become the greatest treasure in your loom knitting vault.
Finally, the infamous “how the heck do I answer THAT” question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years. I don’t know if I will be writing anything fiber specific. It was never my dream to write a book(s) on my hobby, so if I don’t write any more, I am okay with that part. However, I do have plans in other areas of my life: as you know, I am avid cyclist, part of my goals are to ride a few centuries and the biggest goal is to ride Lotoja. A bike ride that goes from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole Wyoming, about 206 miles; all in one day. A marathon is also in the dreams, currently I am working on getting ready for two half marathons.
Thanks Stacey for having my booklet and myself over on your fab blog! One of my favorites to visit every day. I have to have my daily dose of Dervish ;).