Make your own knitting looms

I stumbled across an article a month ago explaining how to make your own knitting looms and I thought that was a cool idea! I was looking for a friend of mine who is just getting into loom knitting (and who has a table saw and woodworking equipment at home).

Are you, or your partner, very handy with tools? Do you have a saw or a sander? If so, then this post is for you. (Or, if you want to do a kid-friendly craft project and make a smaller loom/french knitter, scroll to the bottom)

I will admit that cutting wood and sanding is not my forte. That is the domain of my fiancé who is very good at making things like wooden pens, mugs, boxes, bookcases, etc. He’s the one who can look at a piece of wood and know what tree it is from and who can wax on about different types of nuts, bolts, and screws and what you’d use them for.

While I am not confident enough with these things to make my own looms, I love the idea that with a few pieces of wood and certain nails or screws that you can have a knitting loom! So I wanted to share some resources with those of you who are far more adventurous than I am.

Wooden Loom Tutorials (Written Instructions)

Instructables – Make an Adjustable Knitting Loom

This Instructables tutorial shows you how to make a knitting loom similar to the KB All-in-One loom, where you can adjust the side pieces to the size you want. You can use it to make a hat, socks, or scarves and flat-panel items. What I like about this loom: 1. It is adjustable. 2. The pegs have grooves in them. 3. You can make it in different gauges (there are two versions/instructions for the loom, depending on the spacing you need). There is even a tutorial for making a knitting tool/hook!

The only potential drawback I see is that over time, the pegs might get worn down from the loom hook scraping the wood. I suppose you could put some sort of epoxy or finish on the wood to minimize this or just make the pegs replaceable.

This tutorial is probably a little more advanced than some of the other tutorials.

Knitting Naturally – Make Your Own Knitting Loom

Knitting Naturally covers making a basic knitting loom with wood and nails. It uses more basic tools, so if you don’t have a fancy table saw and router table or a drill press, you can still get the job done if you have sandpaper, a hammer, nails, wood, and a saw. While the instructions are not too complicated, the only drawback to this tutorial is that there aren’t pictures of what each step looks like, so you’re just reading the instructions.

Video Tutorials

I know some of you are visual learners and need to actually watch someone do each step, so here are some video tutorials that I saw on Youtube which teach you how to make wooden looms.

Alison Russell has a tutorial on making a rake loom with wood and nails.

Alison Russell’s Craft Channel – How to make a long knitting loom. Rake loom.

Note: a rake loom only makes a single-panel item like a scarf or a dishcloth. You wouldn’t be able to knit a hat on this loom as it is. However, you could follow the instructions on one of the other tutorials above and make a second rake and add spacers to be able to make double-knits or hats.

She makes each peg with two nails, so the space in between the nails is the “groove” that you’d find on other looms, rather than having to run your knitting tool on the surface of the nail with no groove – or having to use a tool to scrape a groove into the nails.

Living Wilderness Bushcraft School –

This tutorial shows you how to make a round loom and then how to knit a hat on that round loom.

Workshop Series part 1: Making a hat loom

Workshop Series part 2: Making a woolen hat

The instructor, Johnny Walshe, uses plywood and cotter split pins. Make sure to read the description of the video as he offers a link to a template to help you make the loom. He doesn’t give the exact spacing for the pegs in the video, so you’d have to decide that for yourself or use his template.

Johnny shows you an example of knitting looms made with nails and looms made with the cotter pins (which have an open groove in the middle). I love that he offers various ways to make the loom, depending on what tools you have available. He does it with hand tools and with electric tools.

The style of loom he makes is very similar to looms offered by Cottage Looms.

Easy looms for kids / Simple looms with household items:

If you’re not good with woodworking, but you want a kid-friendly craft project, or if you just want to try making an impromptu loom with household items, this section is for you!

In my search, I did see a couple of kid-friendly tutorials on making a knitting loom with things like Popsicle sticks and a toilet paper roll (or similar cardboard tube). These are what I would call french knitter or spool knitter looms. They are designed for small projects or for knitting an i-cord, which you can then work into other projects.

Hands Occupied – How-to: DIY a Knitting Loom & Knit with it

This is a kid-friendly and simple tutorial on making a loom with Popcicle sticks and a tube (could be a toilet paper roll or another similar tube). The tutorial is long, but she does show you how to actually knit on the toilet paper loom. She also gives examples of things you can make on this style of loom.

Knit Chat – Make Your Own Knitting Loom

The Knit Chat tutorial shows you how to make two looms: 1. a small loom with a toilet paper roll and Popsicle sticks and 2. a loom made out of a plastic bottle/plastic container.

I hope that was helpful. And if you’re like me and you love the idea of a wooden loom, but don’t have the patience, or the skill, to make one, you can find wooden looms like this from Knitting Board, Cottage Looms, and CinDWood looms. Keep in mind that wooden looms tend to be more expensive, so a single loom from these companies will run you between $11-$80 depending on the size of the loom.

You can find Knitting Board looms on sale at JoAnn, Amazon, and eBay (or you can get 10% off your first order if you sign up for the Knitting Board newsletter and order off of their website). Cottage Looms are sold on Etsy and CinDWood sells on their website. Once in a blue moon you can find a used one on eBay.

If you’ve made a loom of your own, please show us a picture in the comments or let us know what you made!

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.