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.

 

 

 

Will post more reviews and patterns soon

Sorry it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. I’ve been dealing with a health issue and there was a flurry of activity recently as my 40th birthday just passed. On the plus side, two of my friends got me a book on loom knitting afghans and I bought the Knitting Board Double-Knit Rotating Loom with an Amazon gift card I got on my birthday.

I did work on a few projects in April and May. In April, I was mostly trying to figure out how to do the Criss-Cross stitch, which is a double-knit pattern for the loom. I made a short, round scarf and I’ve started working on a bigger multi-colored scarf in this pattern. I hope to post a pattern review and links, but this one is complicated, so it might take me a while to put it up.

I also made a basket weave hat in May after seeing a stitch pattern in Isela Phelp’s Loom Knitting Primer book. It was the first time that I’ve had to be really careful with my stitches and actually write down each row as I worked the pattern. It’s easy to miss a step and screw up the pattern. I made a pretty green hat for my niece, Taylor, whose birthday is the same week as mine. Go Geminis! 🙂

Here’s a close-up of the basket-weave hat. The lighting doesn’t show all of the shifts in the pattern. I used a folded over rib stitch for the brim.

Basket_Weave_Hat

If you’d like to try the basket weave, I definitely recommend Isela’s book, which you can find on Amazon (click the picture for details). If you just want to learn this stitch, she has instructions for the basket weave in a free loom knitting stitch guide on her blog.

Note: Isela also creates patterns for Knitting Board, so if you check out their free patterns on their website, you’ll see a few that she has created.

This month, I’m working on a triple stitch scarf for a close friend (who coincidentally also had a birthday the same week as my niece and I). My friend wanted a scarf in either olive green or forest green so I found a nice red heart yarn that was a cross between the two. I’ll probably post pictures of it later once it’s finished.

I’m hoping to post a review of the All-in-One loom this month, which is the 18-inch loom by Knitting Board.

My posting schedule might be a little sporadic this summer as things are pretty hectic at work and I will be having a surgery in July. I’m hoping I’ll be able to knit as I recuperate!

Do you have any exciting projects you’re knitting this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy Looming!

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Fun with double knits

Photo by Venus – Adventures in Loom Knitting

Last weekend, I decided to try my first double-knit project. It is a double stockinette stitch (where both sides of the panel are knit (rather than having a knit on the front side and a purl on the back). The double stockinette looks like a zig-zag pattern on the loom where you zig-zag across in one direction and then zig-zag back in the other direction.

I used the anchor yarn cast on. I’ll have to neaten up the edge at the end.

Here is a link to the instructions for knitting the double stockinette on the Knitting Board website. I followed the stitch pattern from the book that came with my KB Loom Knitting Basics Kit. You can purchase this kit at Joann, Amazon, or the Knitting Board website. Or, if you’re an intermediate knitter and don’t need the book or accessories, you can purchase the 32-peg loom by itself from KB.

I’m nearly done with my scarf and so far, I really love double-knitting. The project comes out so clean and pretty and the stitches have a smooth, finished edge and seem to be very uniform.

Photo by Venus – Adventures in Loom Knitting

The scarf is made with one strand of Red Heart Super Saver Ombre (in Purple). I’d originally single-knitted a few rows with 2 strands of ombre yarn, but since the two skeins were starting with different shades of purple, I didn’t like the mixed color effect. Sometimes I love that, but for the scarf I was making, I really didn’t want it to have that speckled look that you get when you use two different colored strands as one.

I found the double-knit stockinette stitch to be very easy to do and I plan to make more projects with it. I also love my new KB 32-peg loom. It’s easy to hold in your hand and it’s small, so it’s a loom you can take with you anywhere. You can also make hats on it, but I haven’t tried that yet.

The scarf will probably be roughly 5 ft long when finished. I only have about a foot left to go!

Do you like double-knitting or single-knitting? Or does it depend on the project?