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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Loom Review – Knitting Board All-in-One Loom

I bought the Knitting Board All-in-One Loom several months ago, but didn’t have a chance to play with it until April. The All-in-One Loom is designed to be a single loom that can accomplish multiple projects of different sizes – hats, scarves, blankets, socks, baby clothes and various double-knit and round-loom projects.

The loom is 18 inches and is set up with wooden spacers, bolts, washers, and nuts so that you can adjust the spacing of the loom. You can use the really small spacers for double-knits, and you can use the larger spacers with pegs on them for knitting in the round or for doing blanket panels.

The loom has a smaller gauge than the typical inexpensive, plastic looms you might buy from your local craft store or Amazon. You can knit hats and scarves without having to double your yarn (unless you’re using a fine yarn). A single strand of #4, worsted-weight yarn works great.

The All-in-One is long, so turning it and knitting the little spacer pegs can be a bit awkward until you get used to it (especially if you’re making a smaller item where you have to reach in between the long side pieces to get to the spacer that’s in the middle. Check out the pictures below. I’ve positioned the spacer as if you were making baby booties or something really small.

    

So far, I’ve made a double-knit scarf and a basket-weave hat on the All-in-One loom. Overall, I like it, though initially, I didn’t like that there were only two of the small spacers.

Note for double-knitting:

The small, skinny spacer juts out a little no matter which direction I install it and depending on where you place these spacers, your loom may wobble, especially if you’re knitting on a table or desk rather than in your lap. I asked Knitting Board if it was possible to order an extra spacer to make the bottom of the loom more balanced (they did oblige me and I was able to get two more small spacers). I just need to buy the extra bolts and nuts for them from the hardware store.

Here is an example of how the small spacers jut out at the bottom when you’re using them for double-knitting. This happens even if I turn them in the other direction where they are wider rather than taller.

Oh, I should also mention: when you first change the loom size, it might be hard to get the bolts out. To get my bolts out, I set the loom on its side with the tail/screw end of the bolt on the table and the head of the bolt in the air. I then rock the loom a little and tap it against the table and then the bolt pops out. You could potentially use a hammer or other object to gently tap on the bolts to loosen them from the wood. Just be careful not to damage the loom.

My overall thoughts:

I think the loom is a good buy if you can’t afford to get lots of different looms or you have space constraints and you want one loom that does almost everything. Or if you prefer a small gauge loom and don’t mind the length.

Those with severe arthritis or other dexterity issues might have a harder time with the loom because of the narrow gauge and the awkward size.

Quality-wise, the loom is good. I really like Knitting Board’s looms because they are sturdy, easy to assemble and they are well-constructed.

Overall, I do like the All-in-One loom and will consider it a staple in my collection, but for smaller items, I like my Knitting Board Basics loom because it is more portable, easy to hold in your hand and I don’t have to worry about it wobbling if I’m using a small spacer. I think the basics loom is the same as the 10-inch loom (if you don’t need the booklet and crochet needle). I also have the adjustable hat loom, which is lighter and while it’s also fairly long, it’s a little easier to manipulate when working in the round.

Rating: I give this loom 4.5 stars.

 

*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.

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.

 

Tips for Making a Spiral Hat

I made a hat for a friend of mine a while ago as a belated Christmas gift. It was one of my favorite things I’ve made so far: a spiral knit hat. Though it is a project beginners can do, I would recommend not doing this hat as your very first loom knit project (unless you’re someone who does traditional needle knits or crochet and you’re used to following a pattern where the stitches change frequently). It’s too confusing for a beginner who has never done anything on a loom before.

If you’re brand new to loom knitting and looking for something easier to do, start with a knit stitch, a basic rib stitch, or a garter stitch hat pattern. But if you’ve done a few projects already, or you’re a more experienced loom knitter, here are some basic tips to help you with making a spiral hat.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a step-by-step pattern tutorial, but it does cover how I made my hat, what size looms to use, and the process I used to keep track of the pattern.

I’d recommend using a 31-peg, 36-peg or 41-peg loom (basically any loom that is divisible by 5 plus 1). In the pictures below, I used the Loops & Threads 36-peg loom. I found a spiral hat pattern on Pinterest. It was designed for the Knifty Knitter 36-peg loom. While there are multiple ways to do the spiral design, I’ve seen this basic pattern used in a few tutorials.

What you will need to do this project:

  • A round knitting loom (preferably a 31, 36, or 41-peg loom)
  • Two skeins of worsted weight yarn (use a solid color)
  • Your knitting tool / knitting hook and a tapestry needle
  • A crochet hook (optional, for working in the ends when your project is done).
  • Removable stitch markers in 2 different colors or washi tape (make sure you have at least 10-15 stitch markers of each color)  – If you don’t have stitch markers that easily open and close, then you will need to use a different method to track your stitches.

Making the Spiral Hat:

The first step in creating the hat is to make a brim. A lot of times, you’re working with some variation of a rib stitch or a garter stitch. I followed what was in the pattern above. However, you can do knit 1, purl 1 or knit 3, purl 2 if you want the lines of the rib to match the spacing of the spiral pattern.

Here’s a picture of the start of the brim of my hat.

Spiral Hat - Starting the Brim
Photo by Venus – Adventures in Loom Knitting

I’m going to assume that most of you know how to make a brim already and skip that part of the instructions. This post deals with how to work the spiral pattern itself.

Basically to do the spiral, you’re working in a pattern of alternating knit and purl stitches.

A few of the patterns I’ve seen for spiral hats use a combination of knit 3, purl 2 or knit 4, purl 1. This sounds similar to the rib stitch, but the key to the spiral is that the stitches move EVERY round/row.

If you’re like me and you are bad at counting stitches, the best way to make this pattern work is to use peg markers that are removable.

My favorite peg markers for this purpose are the Boye Stitch Markers, which have a clasp that you can open and close. You could also use Clover safety-pin style markers or removable washi tape. It doesn’t matter what kind of stitch marker you choose as long as it is easily removable. The Boye ones are very flexible though, so I tend to prefer them if I’m moving my peg markers a lot. The Clover ones are rigid.

My method of creating the spiral:

If you want to try my method for the spiral pattern, you will need around 10-15 stitch markers in TWO colors if you are making an adult-sized hat (20-30 stitch markers all together).

Essentially, what you will do is mark the start of the knit stitches in one color and the start of purl stitches in another color. You have three knit, and two purl. Repeat.

Stitch Markers for Spiral Hat
Photo by Venus – Adventures in Loom Knitting

In the left side of the picture above, you’ll see that I have put a yellow marker on peg 1 where the knit stitches begin. Peg 4 is the start of the purl stitches and it has a blue stitch marker (see the middle of the photo). Skip one peg to account for the second purl stitch. Then, I’ve put another yellow marker on peg 6, which is where the second set of 3 knit stitches begins. I count three down and put another blue marker on peg 9.

Hopefully this isn’t too confusing. Basically, you just mark every peg where you are switching over from knit to purl or purl to knit.

Continue this k3, p2 pattern as you work your way around. When you get to the end of the row, you will have an extra peg between your last purl and the peg where you started. This is where you are going to start your second row. Now your pattern has moved one peg to the left of where you started (peg 1).

Now move your each of the stitch markers one peg to the left. After you’ve moved all the stitch markers to their new position, you’ll then start doing your knit 3 and purl 2 around the loom.

Every time you start a new row, your starting peg will move to the left.

Note: There are other methods that you can use to make a spiral hat without using a marker at the start of your knit and purl pegs.

And, if you don’t have enough stitch markers or moving that many stitch markers every row is too time consuming, you can just mark where your purls start, if that is easier.

The main reason I use stitch markers is that I know myself and I get easily distracted. If the phone rings or if I’m watching a movie and I get caught up in what is happening, I might not realize I’ve skipped a stitch on the pattern. Having colored markers makes it so that I always know where I am on the pattern—as long as I move the stitch markers after I complete each row.

Once you get the hang of the pattern, you’ll keep going one row/round at a time until you get the hat long enough. To gauge the length, I basically tried the hat on (still attached to the loom) to see if it was long enough. I’m not good at counting an exact number of rows. I either have to eyeball the project or I need measure by inches/cm.  Since I was making a hat for an adult woman, I used my own head to test the hat until it was long enough.

[Here is a guide I found on Goodnight Kisses which gives a length and circumference for loom knitted hats]

I used the basic method for closing a hat – sewing each loop on the pegs with a plastic tapestry/darning needle and then taking it off the loom and pulling it like a drawstring and sewing it closed. You can find tutorials for this Youtube. TIP: I do use a jumbo Clover needle for a lot of my projects as it has a large eye which can accommodate bulky yarns or multiple threads of worsted-weight yarn. You can find these at JoAnn, Amazon, and Michaels.

I made my spiral hat without a pom pom, but you can definitely add one at the top.

Color Choices:

The friend I designed the hat for loves yellow, so I made this with two Red Heart Super Saver yarns in two different shades of yellow (bright yellow and pale yellow). The hat reminds me of popcorn.

For the spiral to show really well, you want to use solid color yarns rather than a multi-color/variegated yarn. You could use two similar colors as I did. But you don’t want to use a rainbow yarn as it might not pick up the spiral as well.

Hopefully this made sense! It’s a little hard to explain without a video, but I hope this was helpful.

What is your favorite method for marking stitch changes in a loom pattern?

Blue hat for my niece (hurdle stitch)

Photo by Venus / Adventures in Loom Knitting

My niece’s birthday is this weekend. Happy Birthday, Alayna! So in honor of her birthday, I decided to loom knit a hat in one of her favorite colors (blue). I wanted to make something new that I’d never tried before. In the past, I’ve made garter-stitch, rib-stitch, and spiral-knit hats.

As I was browsing for something new to try, I saw a hat pattern posted on Knitting with Looms and thought it would make a cute hat. I had a skein of blue Red Heart with Love yarn and some multi-colored Red Heart Super Saver yarn so I decided to combine them. I used my Loops & Threads 36-peg round loom.

I used a basic rib stitch for the brim (knit 2, purl 2). The body of the hat uses an alternating knit and purl stitch pattern (see the link above for the exact pattern). It’s called the Hurdle Stitch. To track my stitches, I used my Boye stitch markers. If you’re new to loom knitting, stitch markers are your friends! It’s very helpful to mark your pegs in some way so that you can track where you are in the pattern and where you left off.

Close up of stitches. Photo by Venus / Adventures in Loom Knitting.

You can use actual stitch markers such as the Boye stitch markers or Clover stitch markers or you can use a rubber band or washi tape. I tried using a sharpie on my first loom, but after a while, the sharpie color wears off. Some people just tie a piece of yarn on the loom (in a different color than the project).

Tip: If I am marking pegs for a pattern that changes during the project, I like the Boye ones because they snap open and closed and you can remove the stitch marker and place it on a new peg at any point in the project. This is helpful for a pattern where you have to change the stitches in the middle.

For this hurdle stitch hat, you could use rubber bands, tape, or closed stitch markers because you’re basically just marking every other peg. You don’t need to remove the markers until the project is over.

The hurdle stitch pattern is suitable for beginners, though if you’ve never knitted before, I would probably start with a basic knit or garter stitch pattern until you get the hang of the knit and purl stitches.

I like the way it came out. Hopefully my niece will like it too!

If you like to loom, what is your favorite stitch pattern?