If you’ve mastered knitting hats and other projects on round looms, you may be eager to try flat panel knitting, which lets you create many more versatile projects. But some loomers are intimidated by knitting back and forth instead of round and round. How do you knit in the other direction? And what do you do at the end of the row?

The answer to the first question is pretty simple: practice! You can try switching your knitting tool to the other hand. But if you’re like me (with a hopelessly stupid non-dominant hand!) you’ll probably be better off just adapting your methods while keeping the working yarn and knitting tools in the same hands. You’ll eventually find a way that works for you.

But the question of what to do at the end of the row is a little more complicated. When knitting flat panels, it’s often helpful to include a garter stitch border on all four edges, to avoid curling. (Garter stitch, in loom knitting, is alternating rows of knit and purl stitches. More about that in another post!) In the chart below, you can see rows of garter stitch on the top and bottom, as well as 3 columns of garter stitch along both sides.

 

I also use a technique called turning pegs. (In needle knitting patterns, you might see instructions to slip the first stitch of the row.) When casting on, I add one extra stitch to each end. These are the turning pegs. (If you’re knitting on a plastic loom don’t confuse these with the pegs that stick out the sides. You must use the regular pegs for this to work.) The turning peg always gets a knit stitch at the end of the row, then you turn the working yarn back and begin the next row with the peg next to the turning peg. Be sure to do a knit stitch on the turning peg, even in rows where the border stitches are purls.

This technique gives you a nice clean edge to your panel. The stitches are very uniform, so you can easily sew panels together for a larger project. When I knit projects that are just single panels; such as placemats, scarves, or table runners; I often add a crochet border. (This is an easy way to add a contrasting color. And, when used in combination with the garter stitch border, it usually eliminates the need for blocking.) The edge stitches using this technique are very easy to find with a crochet needle!

For your next flat panel project (or your first one!) try using turning pegs on the ends of the rows. I’m sure you’ll like the results!

 

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