Loom knitting has grown beyond basic hats and scrubbies! Many loom knitters are embracing more complicated projects and stitches, including Japanese style designs and patterns.
The most well-known resources for learning about Japanese knitting are two books by Hitomi Shida: Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible, and 250 Japanese Knitting Stitches. They are available through Amazon and you may also find them in large bookstores or knitting shops. Both books have photos and charts for hundreds of stitch patterns, plus explanations of the stitches and symbols used. You can also find Japanese knitting patterns on Ravelry and other websites.
The explanations and charts in these books (and all the other Japanese patterns I’ve been able to find) are written for needle knitting, but they can be adapted for loom knitting with some practice.
If you’ve adapted other needle knitting patterns for loom use, you know that, in needle knitting, you alternate rows working the right side, then the wrong side of the fabric. But in loom knitting, you are always working the right side. The symbols used in these charts have two meanings: one for the right side (RS) and one for the wrong side (WS.) So it’s easy to follow the carts for loom knitting by always doing the right side stitch for each symbol.
You can work directly from the charts in the books if you keep a couple of things in mind. First, each pattern has a key at the bottom indicating whether it is based on knit stitches or purls. If a blank cell means a knit stitch, then the purls are represented by a horizontal line. If a blank cell means a purl stitch, then knits are shown with a vertical line.
You can work directly from the charts in the books if you keep a couple of things in mind.
First, each pattern has a key at the bottom indicating whether it is based on knit stitches or purls.
If a blank cell means
a knit stitch, then the purls are represented by a horizontal line.
If a blank cell means a purl stitch, then knits are shown with a vertical line.
Also, each chart shows how many rows and stitches are in the repeat, but the chart is generally printed with extra rows and stitches so you can see the bigger pattern. If you work directly from the chart, you need to determine where to begin and end your rows, and how many rows to knit.
For several reasons, I find it easier to adapt the charts for my own use. It is confusing to me to reverse the knit and purl stitches, so I always make my charts with a blank cell for knits and a horizontal line for purls. I also find that, for flat panel knitting, it’s usually necessary to have a border of garter stitch to make the piece lay flat. So I add 5-7 rows to the top and bottom of the chart and 3-4 stitches on each side. The app I use to create charts (which is called Knitting Chart) doesn’t have all of the symbols in the books, but I can usually find something similar to use.
The chart above is one I adapted from the 250 Stitches book using the Knitting Chart app. Notice the border of garter stitch, which alternates rows of knit and purl. I’ve knitted this chart and similar patterns on my Kiss regular gauge loom to make placemats, table runners, and scarves. It uses knit, purl, and twisted stitches, plus a few basic decreases and makes a lovely pattern.
You can learn to knit the stitches in this pattern by watching the video series on my YouTube channel.