Loom Knitting Resources: Hat Size, Loom Gauge & Converting Patterns

I often see certain questions pop up in my loom knitting groups online, so I thought I would post a few resources for beginners (and for those experienced knitters who might like to have a few popular resources linked all in one place).

1. What size loom do I need to make a hat? How long does a hat need to be?

Whether you are making a hat for a baby, child, teen, or adult, there is a loom for that! And a hat length.

Wide Gauge Loom Hat Sizes:

To take the guesswork out of figuring out hat sizing and looms, Denise from Loomahat.com has created a handy dandy Loom Size / Hat Size Chart.

This page is wonderful because it not only includes the hat size chart, but it then goes further for each type of hat to show you what the appropriate loom looks like and what color it is! If you’ve bought a loom from one of the four main brands – Knifty Knitter, Boye, Darice, or Loops & Threads – this is extremely helpful.

Venus’ Tip: Keep in mind that if you are using say a 36-peg loom which could be used for a child’s hat, teen hat or a lean adult hat, which stitch you use can make a difference. If I’m making a child’s hat, I’m going to use a tighter stitch like the u-knit, but if I’m making a hat for an older teen or lean adult, I will use the e-wrap knit stitch.

Note: The Loomahat chart is for wide-gauge looms. If you are making a hat with a small gauge loom, you need a different way of gauging sizes.

Small Gauge Loom Hat Sizes:

According to Authentic Knitting Board, which sells small gauge looms, a child size hat is 64 pegs, a teen hat is 72 pegs and an adult hat is 80 pegs. You’re roughly doubling the amount of pegs you’d use with a wide gauge loom.

2. What gauge is my loom? What brands make 1/2″, 3/8″, or 5/8″ gauge looms?

When you’re starting out, loom gauge can be confusing. What size loom gauge do I own? My pattern calls for a 3/8″ gauge, who makes that? What is the difference between a 1/2″ and a 5/8″ gauge?

Loom gauge is determined by measuring the groove of one peg to the next peg with a ruler or measuring tape. The smaller the gauge, the finer the yarn you need.

Generally speaking, you’d use a thick yarn or two strands of #4 for a 5/8″ gauge loom, one strand of #4 for a 1/2″ gauge loom, and #3 yarn for a 3/8″ loom.

But to help you work out which brands make which sizes, here is a great reference page from Goodnight Kisses.

Some of the brands originally included in the database are no longer manufactured. But it will give you the gauge for several brands still sold today: Boye, CinDWood, Knifty Knitter (sold on eBay), Loops & Threads, and the Martha Stewart Loom. For those who have the Darice loom, it is similar to the Boye, Knifty Knitter and Loops & Threads looms.

It is worth skimming the whole page as there are updated charts at the bottom and information about knitting needle to loom comparison and additional tips.

3. How do I convert a needle knit pattern to loom knitting?

This is one that still confuses me a bit, but there are guides for this as well!

Goodnight Kisses has a needle to loom conversion guide HERE.

The Vintage Storehouse also has a conversion guide, which includes a video.

4. What the does this abbreviation mean? Help, I don’t understand!

If you have come across a pattern that uses a code word that you don’t understand, here is a list of loom knitting abbreviations and what they mean. Unfortunately, there is no link on the page to explain how to do each thing, but it is at least a start to figuring out what the heck certain pattern abbreviations mean.

Isela Phelps also has an abbreviations list that does give a short description of each loom knitting term. Isela is the author of the Loom Knitting Primer and several other loom knitting books and patterns.

5. What is the difference between true knit, u-knit, flat knit, and e-wrap?

Knitting is knitting, right? Well, sort of. There are actually four ways to create a knit stitch. Some patterns specify which knit stitch to use and some let you decide for yourself.

If you’ve wondered what the difference is between the four knit stitches and want a visual comparison and instructions on how to do them, please check out the link above, from Loomahat.com.

Sometimes patterns do not specify which version of the knit stitch to use. Most of the time, I tend to err on the side of caution and assume that the pattern needs a true-knit or u-knit unless it says otherwise (sometimes I get lazy and do e-wrap).

True knit is essentially the opposite of a purl stitch. U-knit is similar to e-wrap, but you are only wrapping around the front of the peg. Flat-knit makes the tightest stitch.

The difference between true knit, u-knit, and flat knit is basically tension on the loom – how tight do you want your stitch to be? E-wrap is very easy, but it creates a twisted stitch, which can effect the look of the pattern.

6. Where can I find free patterns to try?

YouTube is your friend. You can find all kinds of loom knitting tutorials on YouTube. Hats, Scarves, Plush Toys, etc.

Authentic Knitting Board also has a lot of free patterns on their website as well. Keep in mind that these patterns are for small gauge looms, so they won’t work on a Knifty Knitter, Darice, Loops & Threads or Boye Loom. You would need a Knitting Board, CinDWood, Cottage Loom or similar.

Loomahat has a list of free hat patterns on the website. Generally, the patterns are for wide-gauge looms.

Ravelry is another great resource. Some patterns offered there are free and some are for sale.

 

I hope these were helpful. Happy Looming!

If you have a favorite loom knitting chart or resource, let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

Loom Review – Darice Round Loom Set

Recently, I misplaced a couple of my Loops & Threads round looms. I’m very sad about this, but because I had some hats to knit and wanted to use a wide gauge loom, I bought the Darice Round Loom set.

Darice-Looms

It was on sale at Amazon for $10.99 in December. I’ve seen the set priced between $10.99 – $16.99 USD. It just depends on the time of year, I think. I’ve also seen this set at Consumer Crafts online for around $10, plus shipping.

The Darice set is very similar to the Loops & Threads, Knifty Knitter, and Boye looms and comes in the standard 24-peg, 31-peg, 36-peg, and 41-peg wide gauge looms.

The construction is very similar to my Boye loom, but doesn’t have the ragged plastic edges that the Boye loom has and it does not have the crochet hook head. Some parts of the loom had a whitish tinge (such as when you bend plastic out of shape). I’m a little nervous that after heavy use, the plastic grooves will get scratched up.

I would say for quality, the Darice loom set is in between the Boye looms and the Loops & Threads looms. After using all three, I’d say I’m partial to the Loops & Threads, personally. I have not used Knifty Knitter, so I can’t compare.

My Authentic Knitting Board looms are better as far as quality goes, but those are more expensive, so its not exactly a fair comparison. I would definitely pick the Darice looms over the Boye loom set, unless you have dexterity issues and you need the crochet hook tops on the pegs.

I do think the Darice looms are great for the price. They are inexpensive, easy to use, are fairly sturdy, and will make a lot of projects: hats, scarves, blankets, etc. You can use these looms to make many sizes of hats from premie to adult size. It would be a great loom set for a beginner or to give to your kids or grandkids.

The looms aren’t heavy and they seem easy to learn on. I did pull on some of the pegs and didn’t feel like they would break or fly out. The wide gauge makes hats and scarves quick to knit. You’ll need a chunky yarn for these (or two strands of #4 worsted weight yarn). It’s a great set to add to your collection.

Darice-Looms-Tools

The loom comes with a knitting hook and a tapestry needle. I give an A+ to the tapestry needle which is long and has a very wide eye. This thing is great for chunky yarns. It can compete with my beloved Clover jumbo tapestry needles. Both have a very big eye, which is super helpful when you have to squeeze a thick yarn through the eye.

Sadly, I did not like the knitting hook. It has a rubberized coating that I thought would be great, but when I tried using it, the hook made my hand hurt after a while. I had to switch back to the KB Ergonomic Knitting Tool, which is my go-to knitting hook.

If you can loom for long periods without an ergonomic hook, you’ll probably be fine with the Darice knitting hook. If you have carpel tunnel or sensitive wrists, you can get an ergonomic hook at Joann, Authentic Knitting Board, Amazon or on Etsy.

The looms do come with brief instructions on the package. If you’ve never loom knitted before, go onto YouTube for detailed instructions on how to loom knit. Or, try one of the tutorials on Loomahat.com.

Overall, the Darice looms are good and I think they make a long loom set as well.

I was talking with a woman in my facebook loom knitting group and she said she buys extras of the Darice round looms to have around for gifts. I might end up getting a few extras myself, if I ever teach a beginner class.

For quality, I’d give this around a 4.

For the convenient price, sturdiness, ease of use, I’d give the Darice loom set a 4.25. I think it’s a great starter loom set.

 

 

*Disclaimer: I purchased this loom set and did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. This post does include affiliate/advertising links.

Loom Review – KB Baby-Knit Looms

My Baby-Knit Looms from Authentic Knitting Board came in this past week! I was very excited to try them out.

Sometimes it is hard to gauge whether you need to use a 24-peg loom or a 31-peg loom when making baby hats (or how many pegs to use on a small-gauge loom like the All-in-One), so this loom takes the guesswork out of the process of making baby hats and baby booties.

My first impressions:

As you can see from the photos, the set comes with a 56-peg loom in a sea-green/blue-green color and a small 24-peg loom in purple. The sea-green loom is designed for infant hats and the purple loom is for baby booties. Both looms are 3/8″ gauge, so you can use one strand of thin yarn. The booklet suggests one strand of #3.

You’ll also find a knitting hook and a booklet that offers basic instructions, which includes one hat pattern and one baby booties pattern. The booklet covers basic stitches: e-wrap, true knit, purl, and u-knit and shows you methods for casting on and binding off. The instructions are written in English and in French (sorry, no Spanish).

   

According to the booklet, a hat made in true-knit or u-knit will fit infants 0-6 months and e-wrap will fit 6-12 months (up to a 17.5″ circumference).

The first thing I noticed when handling these looms is that they are sturdy. The plastic is dense and the quality is good. I tried pulling on some pegs and they are very securely attached, but they have enough give to bend a little. They don’t feel cheap like my Boye looms. They feel heavier, too. Surprisingly, the material feels very soft in the hand.

I think it might take me a minute to get used to the weight, but I’m very impressed with the quality. I have never been disappointed in the quality of any KB loom I’ve purchased.

One plus of this yarn is that you can use a fine baby yarn for a more delicate look (like you’d get with needle-knit or crochet). Of course you can double or triple a thin yarn, but this loom allows you to use one strand, which is nice if you don’t want your hat to feel too thick, such as for a newborn hat in the summertime.

 

Thoughts after knitting with it for an hour:

The gauge is pretty narrow. I think it might be a little smaller than my KB Basics 32-peg loom, but I’d have to measure to be sure as KB doesn’t list the gauge for on the 32-peg loom on their website.

When I got the Baby-Knit Looms, I didn’t have a #3 yarn handy except for a wool yarn I didn’t want to use, so I knitted with a Caron soft #4 and that worked.

So far, I like the loom and as mentioned, I think one of the big selling-points of this loom is it takes the confusion out of making baby sets.

For beginning knitters, if you don’t have an exact pattern you’re working from that calls for a specific size of loom, it can be a little confusing to know whether you should use a 24-peg or a 31-peg loom. I like that this loom can make hats for babies up to 12 months and all you need to do is change the stitch to make the hat smaller or larger. For babies older than 12 months, you’d need to use a wide gauge 31-peg loom or you can make it on the All-in-One loom. Here is a link to some of the baby patterns on the KB website. Right now, KB has 3 patterns for the Baby-Knit Loom.

I would give this loom 4.5 stars.

It’s sturdy and well-made, it takes the guesswork out of sizing, and it is very affordable. I’d like to see more patterns for it, but the product is new and I’m sure designers will start coming up with more adorable baby sets to suit this loom.

 

*Disclosure: I purchased this loom set and did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. This post does include affiliate/advertising links.

 

 

 

Fun, Easy Loom Project – Scrubbies!

Blue_Scrubbies

I was on bed rest yesterday after hurting my back and wanted an easy knitting project to do with one of my smaller looms, so I decided to knit a few scrubbies for cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom. This was my first time making them. I’d been seeing a lot of people posting pictures of scrubbies in one of my online loom knitting groups and thought it would be a fun project to try.

I found a set of blue Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn and Red Heart scrubby yarn on eBay a couple weeks ago and decided to buy it in case I got the urge to make these.

The first scrubby took me about two hours to make and the subsequent ones took me about an hour and a half to an hour and forty-five minutes. So it’s not a super fast project, but it’s definitely much faster than making a hat or scarf.

The hardest part about making a scrubby is dealing with the cotton and scrubby yarns because they have no give. Acrylic yarns have a little bit of stretch to them, so they are easier to yarn over the pegs as you knit.

Materials needed to make a scrubby:

  • 24-peg loom (or 32-peg loom)
  • 1 skein of Red Heart Scrubby yarn
  • 1 to 2 skeins of cotton yarn such as Sugar ‘n Cream or Premier Home brand yarn (you need a cotton yarn since the scrubby will be getting wet; it will better absorb the water and soap)
  • Knitting tool/hook
  • Tapestry needle

To make a scrubby, you are essentially going to knit as if you’re making a baby hat. You’re going to use the same techniques you’d use for folding over and closing a brim and doing a draw-string closure for the top of a hat. So it is a very good project for a newbie (for a video tutorial, see the links at the bottom of the post).

I made these with an e-wrap knit and I recommend wrapping a little loosely so that your yarn doesn’t get too tight as you’re working. If you are used to using a flat stitch to knit, I would recommend not doing that for this project because the yarn will be nearly impossible to work with. Even with the e-wrap, there were a few times when my wrist was getting sore from trying to yarn over when the cotton yarn got too tight.

Yarns I used to loom knit these scrubbies: Sugar ‘n Cream in Dazzle Blue, Sugar ‘n Cream in Light Blue and Red Heart Scrubby in Waves.

Here is a close-up of the scrubby as I was making it.

scrubby_loom

I made my scrubbies an oblong shape rather than round because it was easier for me rather than pulling super tight on the yarn to get it into a disc shape. I also think that the oblong shape is nice because it basically fits perfectly in my hand.

For detailed, step-by-step instructions, here are some tutorials and videos on the process of making a scrubby on a loom.

Gina Lay has a very easy video on loom knitting scrubbies. She also has another video using an alternate way of casting on with the drawstring method.

If you don’t have scrubby yarn, you can also use tulle. Here is a tutorial from Joys of Creating on making a scrubby with tulle and cotton yarn, instead of scrubby yarn.

And, if you’d prefer a written pattern, I saw this one by Brenda Myers on Ravelry.

Happy Looming!

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did. If you decide to make them, please let me know how they turned out.

 

Looming Adventure: Rib & Garter Stitch Hat

rib-garter-hat1

So last weekend, I decided to try a pattern of my own. Though it didn’t quite come out the way I envisioned, the overall concept did work out. The picture above is of a baby-sized hat.

I wanted to make a hat that combined a rib stitch and a garter stitch. I will probably make this again and write up more detailed instructions. Essentially, I used a 2×2 rib stitch and in the middle I used garter stitches. But somehow I got a little off, so I think it was more like k1, p1, k2, p1. Then I repeated the rib stitch pattern until I was ready to do a decrease.

When I was ready to start the decrease, I used a garter stitch and then I did the k2tog where you’re taking the loop off a peg and moving it to the left to knit 2 together so that you end up with a loop on every other peg. I kept decreasing until I could close the hat and then I stitched it up with my tapestry needle to make sure the top was secure and flipped the hat inside out (since the rib stitch and garter stitch are pretty much reversible).

I made the hat on the Knitting Board Loom Knitting Basics Loom, which is the small 7 inch loom with 32 pegs. You could similarly use the 10 inch KB loom, the KB All-in-One loom or one of the small KB hat looms. If you’re using a wide-gauge round loom, you could use two #4 worsted weight strands and make the baby/child-sized hat on a 24-peg loom or a 32-peg loom. You could also use a larger loom to make an adult-sized hat.

If you like this pattern, please let me know and I’ll re-make this and write up more detailed instructions for it. But it was nice to try out a different pattern and also to practice a new technique (this is my first hat using a k2tog decrease).

I used Red Heart Ombre Yarn in purple.

 

Loom Review – KB Loom Knitting Basics Kit

KB-Loom_Knitting_Basics-Kit

About a month ago, I bought the Knitting Board Loom Knitting Basics Kit. I got it on a whim at JoAnn when I bought my KB Super Afghan Loom. I’ve fallen in love with this little loom!

The kit is designed for beginners. Inside the kit, you will get:

  • 32-peg small gauge knitting loom
  • Loom Knitting Basics booklet
  • Knitting hook / knitting tool
  • 5mm crochet hook
  • Small stitch markers
  • Tape measure

The booklet covers single knitting and double-knitting basics. You’ll learn e-wrap, u-wrap, flat knit stitch, and purl stitch and a few double-knitting stitches: stockinette (knit), rib, and figure 8. You’ll also learn casting on and binding off methods, including the chain cast on and the crochet bind off (which both use the crochet needle).

The book also includes a few other techniques, such as closing off/binding hats, increasing and decreasing stitches, cable knitting, seaming (sewing pieces together), knitting sock heels and toes, and instructions for how to do the kitchener stitch with double-pointed knitting needles. Note: the kit does not include knitting needles.

To get an idea for what the instructions in the book look like, you can see some examples here on the Knitting Board website. Many of the written tutorials on their website are also in the booklet.

I found the knitting instructions to be helpful with learning to double-knit and decrease stitches.

The loom is well-made and has a wooden base with plastic pegs. I believe they are nylon, but I’m not sure. You can see a close-up of the loom below. This loom seems durable and made of quality materials. Which is pretty much what I’ve come to expect from KB. You might spend a bit more on these looms than say buying a set of Boye or Loops & Threads looms, but the quality is superior.

So, what can you make on this loom?

Scarves, hats, amigurumi (little knitted animals), washcloths, cords, water-bottle holders, headbands, baby booties, and blankets if you knit in panels or do the 10-stitch blanket.

The book cover says it has 4 patterns: a hat, scarf, baby blanket, and a washcloth. Only 3 patterns have actual written instructions. I didn’t see the hat pattern in my book, though it does tell you how to bind off a hat. You might be able to find the hat pattern online somewhere if you want to make that exact one. I did not see it on the KB website.

I think this is a great kit for anyone who is a beginner/intermediate loom knitter or who wants a small, portable loom to take while traveling. It has pretty much everything you need except the yarn!

I made my first double-knit stockinette scarf on this loom and I have to say that it was so easy and I am ready to tackle more double-knit projects!

You can find this kit via the Knitting Board Website, JoAnn, Amazon or eBay. I’ve heard some JoAnn stores are putting KB looms on clearance right now, so if you’re planning to buy it there, get it quickly while supplies last. It is still regular price on http://www.joann.com but I’m not sure if they are discontinuing the KB line at JoAnn or if certain stores are downsizing their loom knitting products.

For those who just want the loom itself: Knitting Board does sell a somewhat similar 32-peg loom on their website for $10.99. The 10″ loom is a little longer than the one in the kit and it has spacers that can be adjusted. The Loom Knitting Basics loom is not adjustable at all.

I’d give this loom kit 4.75 stars out of 5.** The only reason I’m knocking it down is that you cannot make an adult-sized hat on this loom without seaming panels together, so the picture on the cover is a little deceiving. And the pattern for this hat is not even in the book!

If you want to make hats on this loom, keep in mind that if you are knitting in the round, you’ll be making an infant-sized hat.

I checked the KB website, and if you look at this hat project for the 10″ loom, it says that the hat has to be done in two pieces; you need the 54-peg loom in order to knit in one piece.

Apart from the issue of making hats, this is a great loom and I think it is useful for times when you want to knit away from home and you don’t want to lug around a big loom. This is small enough you could fit it into a medium/large purse. I would also recommend it for teens and older children.

The double-knit scarf I made came out so neat and pretty. I look forward to making more with this loom. The double-knit scarf is a thinner scarf. If you want a wide scarf, knit in single-panel.

Hope you like this loom as much as I do!

Do you have the 32-peg loom or the tadpole loom? If so, how do you like it?

**Edited 12/23/18: I am changing the review rating from 4.5 to 4.75 because after using it for several months, it is one of my favorite looms. I would give the loom by itself a 5 out of 5. I would give the kit itself a 4.5 only because the hat pattern was not included and you cannot knit a hat in the round on this loom.

 

*Disclosure: I purchased this loom and did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. This post does include affiliate/advertising links.

10 Tips for Beginners

I’ve been loom knitting for approximately four months. It’s been a wonderful experience, and so far, I’ve knitted close to 20 projects (I have a couple that are still in-progress).

Today, I thought I’d share a few general tips for those who are just starting out with loom knitting or who are thinking about learning to loom knit.

Tip #1 : If you don’t own a loom yet, either buy a set of looms or think about what you want to make first and then pick out a loom. If you have no idea what you want to make, that’s fine, but if you already have a knitting project in mind, it’s helpful to know what you want to make and then buy the loom, so that you can make sure that you have the right size loom for your project.

For example, if I’m making adult hats, I’m going to want a 36-peg, 40-peg, or 41-peg loom. If I buy a loom with less pegs, then chances are the hat is going to fit a child, but not an adult.

If I wanted to make a scarf, though, I could pick almost any loom. The main difference would be whether I want to double-knit or single knit. If I want double-knit, I will need a long loom (basically, a rectangular loom). If I am single-knitting, I can use round looms or long looms. Personally, I find round looms to be more comfortable if I’m knitting in bed or somewhere where I don’t have a table or desk in front of me.

If you’ve already picked out a loom knitting a pattern, many times the designer will tell you what size loom you need to complete the project.

Tip #2: Youtube is your friend! If you don’t like reading patterns or if you have a hard time understanding how a certain stitch or pattern works, there are TONS of tutorials on Youtube for loom knitting. Loomahat makes a lot of easy-to-follow beginner videos. Goodnight Kisses also makes various tutorial and product review videos. I’d also recommend the Knitting Board website and Isela Phelps’ blog as they have patterns and tutorials as well (Isela often designs patterns for KB). And there are many more tutorials out there!

If there is something you’d like to learn to make, just go to Youtube, type in the type of project (hat, scarf, cable, double-knit, etc.) and “loom knitting” and you’ll find a lot of videos available.

Tip #4: Learn a basic pattern that uses both knit and purl stitches. Some people just start out with a basic knit hat only using knit (stockinette) and that’s totally fine. But I’d personally recommend learning the rib stitch or the garter stitch as one of your first 5 projects because these involve alternating knit and purl stitches. These two basic techniques are the building blocks on which all other patterns and stitches are based.

Tip #5: Learn the different ways of making the knit stitch. A lot of looms come with a booklet that will show you what is called the e-wrap stitch. You basically wrap all your pegs then wrap them a second time and knit off/yarn over. This is the most basic way to loom knit a knit stitch. However, it makes your cast-on row and your stitches very loose.

There are alternate ways of doing the knit stitch: the u-wrap (my personal favorite), the flat stitch, the true-knit stitch and the double-knit stockinette. Each have their pros and cons. Some patterns will tell you specifically which style of knit stitch to use to make your project look closest to the picture of the finished item. If a pattern does not say, then you can use your favorite version of the knit stitch.

I find the u-wrap knit stitch to be a happy medium between e-wrap and the flat-stitch. It creates a tighter knit, but it is not as challenging to work with as a flat stitch and I just haven’t gotten the hang of the true-knit stitch yet.

Here is a good tutorial from Loomahat explaining the different types of knit stitches and how to do them. There is also a video.

The double-knit stockinette really only applies to double-knitting. Double-knitting is it’s own animal, but it can create beautiful, thick knitted projects where the front and back of the piece look exactly the same. Normally, if you e-wrap or u-wrap a scarf, the front of it will be knit, but the back will look different.

Tip #6 Sometimes you have to frog it and that’s okay. I’ve heard knitters affectionately use the term “frogging”, which basically means unraveling a project. Maybe you’re learning a new stitch pattern and you skip a stitch somewhere or you lost track and knitted where you were supposed to purl and your pattern looks wonky.

Or maybe the project you’re making is just not coming out the way you want and it’s driving you crazy. It’s totally normal to have to unravel a few rows (or sometimes a whole project). It happens to everyone, especially in the beginning as you’re learning new stitches and techniques. Again, it happens to everyone and it’s part of the process, so don’t beat yourself up if you have to start over or re-do half of your project.

Tip #7 Different looms have different gauges, so some looms require you to use a single strand of yarn, whereas other looms require you to knit two strands as one. Most round loom sets come with wide-gauge looms and if you’re using a #4 worsted weight yarn, you’ll need two strands. For example, if you have a Loops & Threads, Knifty Knitter, Darice or Boye loom, then you have a wide-gauge loom and you’ll need two or three strands of thin yarns or your project will have a loose weave. However, if you have a bulky yarn, you only need one strand of yarn.

If you are using a Knitting Board (KB) loom, CinDWood, or a loom that lets you add pegs to make the gauge smaller, then you can use a single strand of medium-weight yarn. If you have a very thin yarn, you might still need to double-up, but most yarns you’ll see at a general craft store like Michaels and JoAnn are going to be a #4 or #5 yarn. They do carry other yarns, but a lot of the yarns they carry are in this weight range.

Tip #9 You can make blankets on small looms or large looms. There are looms specifically-designed for making blankets, which are usually called S-looms, infinity looms, or afghan looms. They look like a gigantic figure 8 and have two rows of pegs that curve around the loom. I own the Knitting Board Super Afghan Loom which you can find at JoAnn and Amazon, but there are other brands like Darice, Loops & Threads, CinDWood, and Knifty Knitter that make them as well.

You can also use long looms or round looms to make blankets. Depending on the size of your loom, you might be able to make a baby blanket or lap blanket or you can make a blanket in panels. One blanket that can be made on almost any loom is the 10 stitch blanket.

If you have a long loom set, the largest loom (around 2 feet long) can make a lap-sized blanket/throw blanket.

Tip #10 Buying looms can become addictive! A couple months ago, I polled an online loom knitting group and asked how many looms everyone owned. Most people owned about 10-25 looms, some owned as many as 40-60 looms! There was even one person who had around 100!!

You can make wonderful projects with just one or two looms. It is totally doable to start out small or to just buy a round loom set or long loom set of 4 looms and make many, many projects with them. But I have to admit there is something about having different gauges of looms and different sizes for different projects. And then there are small flower looms and spool/French knitter looms that you can use for embellishments or for making knit toys for children.

Go at whatever pace is comfortable for you. Also, think about what you most want to make and use that to determine whether you want one or two looms to get started or if you need multiple looms.

You can also opt for an adjustable loom that allows you to do a lot of different projects. The three that I can think of off the top of my head are the Knitting Board All-in-One, the KB Adjustable Hat Loom, and the Martha Stewart Crafts Knit and Weave Loom Kit.

The All-in-One is a wooden loom that has different spacers that allow you to change the size of the project you want to make. Goodnight Kisses did a nice review of this loom. The KB Adjustable Hat Loom and the Martha Stewart Loom Kit have interlocking pieces that you’ll use to make your loom large or small. Please note, some users have complained about the pegs falling out of the Martha Stewart kit, so if you buy this one, you might need to glue your pegs in to make sure they don’t come out.

Bonus Tip – You can get good deals on looms if you are a bargain shopper. If you plan ahead and use coupons (and rebates where appropriate), you can often get looms at a large discount.

For my U.S. readers: JoAnn regularly offers 40% and 50% off coupons, which you can use on Knitting Board or Boye looms. You can also get really good cash-back rebates for Joann via iBotta. Michaels carries their own Loops & Threads brand and if you use a coupon, you can usually get 40% off. Amazon carries most loom knitting brands, though the best deal on Amazon right now is for the Darice round loom set, which you can often find for $10-$13.

I’ve also heard of people scoring deals on looms and yarn at the thrift store, but that is a bit hit or miss.

For my UK readers: I’ve heard that Aldi has very good prices on knitting looms (I see a round loom set for £7 on their website). eBay also has inexpensive looms, though some are directly from China, so you might save money, but have to deal with longer wait times. On Amazon UK, they have H&S looms and Tmade looms for about £14-£16. Note: I’ve never used these brands, but the H&S might be worth checking out as it has 4.7 stars on Amazon.

Bonus Tip #2 – Keeping a log of your projects is a nice way to see what you’ve done and which stitches you’ve practiced. I keep a running list of my projects in Evernote and periodically update it here on my blog. I find it helpful to remind me of what I’ve accomplished in the last four months and it’s also really useful when I’ve set aside a project for a few weeks and I need to remember which stitch pattern I was working on. I can go back on my list and see I was making a hat with the seed stitch or a scarf with a figure 8 stitch.

Sometimes I also note what yarn I used. Over time, you might not remember what stitch and yarn you used for a certain gift or project and the list is a handy way to remember what you did last time, in case you want to make that item again, or if you didn’t like the way something came out, you’ll know what not to do.

I hope these were helpful! If you have a tip for newbies, feel free to post it in the comments below! Happy looming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting hooks & Tapestry Needles – For Beginners

Today, I’m going to talk about knitting hooks (sometimes called knitting tools) and tapestry needles. These are the essential tools you need to loom knit, apart from the loom itself. Most looms you buy will come with a knitting hook and a tapestry needle.

The best way to start, is by using whatever came in your kit, but as you begin adding more looms, you start to become discerning about which hooks and needles are going to be the most useful and which to give away or use as a backup in your tool box.

I have over 15 looms at this point, so I have a variety of knitting hooks and needles. At first glance, the knitting hooks look the same, but there are definitely differences in the size and angle of the needles across different brands. I’ll post a few here so you can see some of the differences and why I have certain tools that I prefer.

Knitting Hooks

This picture gives a good comparison of the knitting hooks, though it doesn’t include my favorite hook, which I’ll post about below.

One thing to notice is that the Boye knitting hook and the Loops & Threads hooks are much duller than the wooden KB knitting hook. Generally speaking, I find Knitting Board brand hooks to be sharper than other brands. It may be because they use narrow gauge looms and the sharper hook makes it easier to catch the yarn and pull it over the rounded peg heads.

The advantage of the duller knitting hook is that it is less likely to damage your loom over time. I’ve seen pictures of looms that have been heavily used where the plastic grooves on the pegs are frayed and scraped from long-term use. (Though I have to say that the quality and workmanship of the KB looms is far superior to the cheaper looms out there, so their nylon/plastic pegs are probably more durable).

I can’t remember for sure if the blue knitting hook was a KB hook or a second Loops and Threads hook, but I believe that was a KB hook.

Here is a close-up picture of the red Boye hook.

My first loom (the Boye medium round loom) came with a red hook that had a flattened center, which is for your thumb to rest while you’re using the knitting tool. Overall, I like this concept, and for a while, I really enjoyed using this hook. My hands weren’t overly stressed and I could loom knit for hours, unlike crochet (when I crochet, I have to use ergonomic needles and wrist braces or I’m in a lot of pain).

The only drawback for me with the Boye knitting hook is that it is short. I didn’t notice this at all when I started using it, but compared to the one I use now, there is a noticeable difference.

My second loom was the Knitting Board Adjustable hat loom, which came with the wooden knitting hook (you can see it in the image above). I also purchased the KB Ergonomic Knitting Tool, which is the one I use the most. I’m not a big fan of the wooden KB hook because it’s not comfortable for me to hold. The pros of the wooden one are that it is lightweight and has a long, sharp hook which can be helpful for picking up the yarn. Thus far, I’ve only seen the wooden hook in kits like the KB Adjustable Hat Loom and the Knitting Basics Kit, not with the stand-alone looms.

The Loops & Threads green hook worked pretty well. It wasn’t uncomfortable to hold and it is something in between the dull tip of the Boye style and the pointy tip of the KB hooks. I would definitely use this if I needed a backup or if I was traveling and didn’t want to risk security throwing away my favorite hook because of the sharp tip.

My favorite though is the KB Ergonomic Knitting tool! It’s larger, has a rubberized handle, and the pick is sharp and angled to make it easier to pull the yarn over the loop. It’s very well made and you can get it fairly inexpensively at JoAnn, especially if you have a coupon.

The Ergonomic tool makes it easy to knit for hours and puts less strain on your hands and wrists. It does what it says. If you have severe pain when knitting, you may also want compression gloves or wrist braces, but this tool definitely does help with minimizing carpel tunnel/tendonitis pain.

If you do not like the knitting hooks that come with your loom, another alternative, aside from the KB Ergonomic Knitting Tool, is buying a hook and pick set (the kind you’d find at a hardware store or automotive shop). Here’s an example. I know some knitters like using these. They are inexpensive and there are many brands that make them. I’ve seen them anywhere from $4-$25.

Tapestry / Darning Needles

Another essential tool for loom knitting is a tapestry needle (or a darning needle). Generally, looms come with little plastic needles which you’ll use to close the top of a hat or to sew panels together.

Here is an example of the tapestry needles used for looming.

I mostly use the Super Jumbo Clover Tapestry Needles. There’s an obvious reason why. If you look at the size of the eye of the various tapestry needles, the Clover brand needle is 2-3x bigger than the other ones. This is very helpful when you are knitting something that requires a bulky yarn. It is much easier to get the yarn through the larger eye. The crooked tip of the needle also works well when you’re making hats and you want to angle the needle up the groove of the pegs.

I bought the Susan Bates needles because I’d seen a LoomAHat video recommending them. I think they are a good alternative if your loom comes with a flimsy needle and they definitely have a longer eye than the Boye ones, but they aren’t as large for bulky yarns.

I don’t remember for sure, but I believe the purple needle at the bottom was from one of my KB looms. It does have a nice-sized eye, so I’d probably use that as a backup for my Super Jumbo Clover Tapestry Needle. Clover also has a different “jumbo tapestry needle” which is yellow or gold but I haven’t tried it yet, so I’m not sure of the size difference between the jumbo and the super jumbo size.

I also have metal tapestry and darning needles, but I bought these more for attaching embellishments or for embroidering onto the projects as the eyes are pretty small for using yarn and the tips might scratch up my loom pegs.

Another tool/accessory that many loom knitters use is a crochet hook. They are handy for finishing touches, working in the tail end of a yarn, fixing mistakes in your knitting, and for making decorative edges around a piece. You can also use them to do a chain cast on or a crochet cast on (two slightly different techniques using a crochet hook).

There are various other accessories you can get, like stitch markers, but the knitting hook and the tapestry needle are the two most important tools you’ll need – aside from the loom itself.