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.

Roman Stitch Hats

Roman-stitch-hat-closeup1

One of the projects I worked on over the holidays was a Roman stitch hat for a little girl who is like a goddaughter to us. I knitted a Roman stitch hat for her and a garter stitch hat for her sister.

I got the idea while perusing the Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary by Kathy Norris. You can find my review of it here.

I ended up making two of these because I realized the first hat I made was more of a baby/toddler hat, so I made it again on a 36-peg loom so that it would fit an older child.

You can see both hats here:

Roman-stitch-hat-sm-med1

Since I’ve only seen the Roman stitch mentioned in a couple of places, I’m not sure if this is a common stitch, so I won’t post the exact instructions here. If you’d like to make one of these, I’d recommend getting the stitch dictionary.

If you know how to u-knit, purl, and do the gathered bind off, you can make this hat.

I used the Darice 36-peg loom and made a garter stitch brim. This is a wide gauge loom. You could make this on a small gauge loom, but you’d need two strands of thin yarn or one strand of worsted weight.

For the brim, I did three sets of garter stitch, but I did it as purl one row, knit one row instead of starting with the knit row first. The knit stitches are u-knit, not ewrap. I wanted the hat to fit an older child (6-11), not a teen, so I used u-knit so that the stitches would be a little tighter.

I used two skeins of yarn and knit as one. The yarn was Red Heart Super Saver in Country Blue and I think the multi-colored one was the Monet Print colorway, but I’m not sure. It was blue with pink, purple, and yellow mixed in.

Note: The Roman Stitch works best with an EVEN number of pegs, so if you are not using a 36-peg loom, make sure you choose one with an even number.

The hat “pattern” for the child’s hat went like this:

Brim:

E-wrap cast on
Row 1: Purl across
Row 2: Knit across
Row 3: Purl across
Row 4: Knit across
Row 5: Purl across
Row 6: Knit across

Body of the hat:

Roman stitch x 6
(The Roman stitch is essentially made up of knit rows and then a combination of knits and purls. Again, for the exact instructions, see the Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary).

Last row: Knit across then do the gathered bind off. For those new to looming, you will need a tapestry needle for the gathered bind off.

Here is a close-up of the Roman stitch:

Roman-stitch-close-up1

You can see in the photo that one of the Roman stitches in the middle has an extra “knit” as I’d lost track of my count so that one section in the middle is a little longer that the rest.

And for those who are curious as to what the inside looks like, here is the reverse side (inside) of the hat:

Roman-stitch-hat-reverse1

This was a fun and relatively easy hat to make! If you’re looking for something new to try, I recommend it.

I also used this yarn combination when I made the hurdle stitch hat for my niece last year.

If you are interested in checking out the Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary, written by Kathy Norris, you can find it at Joann, Amazon, and the Leisure Arts website. The author has written several books on loom knitting.

Do you have a favorite hat stitch or pattern you like to use? Let us know in the comments.

 

Yarn Winder – Loops & Threads / Darice

Darice_yarn_winder

So I bought a yarn winder that arrived over the weekend! I’d been seriously thinking about buying one for a couple weeks and ended up getting the Darice yarn winder (which is the same as the Michaels brand Loops & Threads yarn winder).

I’d been looking at different styles and brands. I found this post which talks about different yarn winders and picking the right winder for your needs. I was actually thinking about Windaze knockoff or a Lacis yarn winder, but since my budget was limited and I couldn’t get the jumbo Lacis that I would’ve wanted, at the last minute, I decided to get the Darice / Loops & Threads yarn winder from Amazon.

I looked at a few youtube reviews and tutorials like this one. Initially, I was worried about the winder because there were a few negative reviews on the Michaels website. But after looking at youtube reviews and tutorials, I was fairly sure of what to expect and how to make the winder work for me.

Yarn winders operate similarly to the way a bobbin winder works on a sewing machine. There’s a tension guide that you feed the yarn through and you have to wrap your yarn around the shaft of the yarn winder a couple of times and then you just crank it and the little metal yarn holder/tension guide moves back and forth until the yarn fills up.

To use this winder, you need to 1. Put your yarn through the notch on the plastic brim of the winder. 2. Wrap the yarn around the shaft a couple times 3. Feed it through the metal holder/tensioner and then hold the yarn in your hand either up at an angle or parallel to the machine and let your hand control the tension (see the tutorial link above to get a visual example).

You’ve got to crank the yarn at a decent speed. In that respect, I agree with Laura Felicia’s review, where she says that the key to using this machine is managing the speed and tension so you don’t have floppy yarn. You want to go at a good clip, not too slow.

The Darice / Loops & Threads machine will hold about 4oz of yarn. It comes with a metal clamp that you slide into the back and then clamp onto a sturdy table. The clamp secures and stabilizes the machine as you’re winding.

I was able to make four yarn cakes on the machine and it was a lot of fun!! In the picture below, you can also see the little turquoise ball I made from leftover yarn.

Note: since this yarn winder holds 4oz, you cannot fit a large skein of yarn into just one cake. You will have to make two (more if you’re winding a one pound skein). The purple ombre yarn was too big to fit the whole thing on the winder, so I had to hand-wind the last bit of yarn. It was a partial skein, so if I was winding the yarn from the beginning, I would’ve made two balls of yarn.

Some people like to use the smaller 4oz yarn winders just for leftover yarn. Others prefer to wind entire skeins into cakes or balls so that it’s easier to use while knitting so they don’t have to worry about knots or unwinding a skein from the outside. The winder makes center-pull cakes.

The Darice winder is relatively small and portable and doesn’t have a lot of confusing parts. You don’t have to “assemble” it apart from sliding the clamp through the slot in the back so that you can attach it to your table. The box is relatively small too, so you could save the box it comes in for easy storage.

Note: the winder is not quiet. It makes a sound very similar to a sewing machine when it is running. The sound is not an issue for me, but it might be an issue if you have an infant or if you like to do your knitting late into the evening when family members are asleep.

Overall, I’d recommend the Darice / Loops & Threads yarn winder. You can find it at Michaels for around $29-$32 (less if you have a 40% off coupon). Amazon has it for around $23.

I’d give it 4.5 stars for ease of use out of the box and the sturdy quality of the machine. I wish it could hold more yarn, but overall, I’m happy with my purchase.

For those that don’t have the budget to spend on a yarn winder, but who want center-pull yarn balls, I did see this tutorial on how to use a hand mixer and a paper towel roll to make yarn balls. I’m not sure I’m brave enough for this one! 🙂

Happy Looming!

If you have a yarn winder you love, tell us about it in the comments.

 

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