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 – 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.

 

 

 

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?