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.

Book Review – Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary

Loom-Stitch-Dictionary

Hi everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. This holiday season, I’ve mostly been resting and recuperating from a recent surgery, so it’s given me time to knit! Recently, I’ve been working with a few stitch patterns from the Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary by Kathy Norris. It is published by Leisure Arts. Kathy has written several other loom knitting books as well.

I bought this book early on in my loom knitting adventures, before I really knew what to do with it. When I first opened the book and looked inside, it was a bit overwhelming. Now that I’m an intermediate loom knitter, it’s very useful for coming up with my own creations and learning new stitches.

So I will say this book is better suited for someone who has already loom knitted a few projects rather than someone who is completely starting from scratch. It is not suited for beginners. If you’re looking for really easy to follow instructions for knitting your first or second project, then I would recommend going to YouTube or Loomahat.com. Or, you can try one of these books:

Loom Knitting Primer by Isela Phelps or Round Loom Knitting in 10 Easy Projects by Nicole F. Fox. Both books assume you know nothing about loom knitting and explain the tools you need, loom gauge, casting on, binding off, knit vs. purl, and they include patterns.

Back to the Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary. If you have already knitted a few items and you know how to read a pattern (or you have experience with needle knit patterns), then you can follow along in this book.

It presumes that you already know how to create knit and purl stitches.

I should clarify because the first chapter assumes that you know how to create a “true-knit”, which is different from the e-wrap knit stitch that most of us learned when we started loom knitting. There are some pictures of this in the very back of the book. I think the instructions should have been at the beginning because new knitters who have only used e-wrap aren’t going to know that knit does not mean e-wrap unless they read the book in order. Ms. Norris does mention at the beginning of the knit and purl chapter that she’s using true knit, but it would be easy to miss if you’re skimming and choosing a pattern by looking at the pictures.

If you’re like me and you prefer a simpler stitch, you can u-knit where it asks for knit (true knit).

In this book, e-wrap falls under the chapter on “Twisted Stitches”. The code in the book for e-wrap is EWK. So patterns will either say K for true knit or they will say EWK. Purl stitches will say P.

Here is a picture of the Table of Contents:

Loom-Stitch-Dictionary1

And here are some of the stitch patterns you can create:

Loom-Stitch-Dictionary2Loom-Stitch-Dictionary3Loom-Stitch-Dictionary4

* These photos were taken of my personal copy of Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary, but I do not own the copyright for the original photographs. These photos were taken for review purposes only.

The book does include patterns for using multiple colors and explains how to change colors and how to skip stitches. I haven’t tried any multi-color patterns from the book yet, so I can’t comment on those.  It also gives instructions for decreasing (which you’ll need to understand to create the lace patterns).

For the most part, Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary is easy to follow, once you know how to read patterns, and it includes instructions for working on a flat panel (i.e., a scarf or blanket) or for circular knitting (such as a hat or cowl). This is very useful as some stitch patterns have to be worked differently depending on whether you are knitting in the round or not.

For each stitch pattern, you’ll find a picture of the stitch, the name of the stitch, and then instructions for how to knit the stitch in a flat panel or in the round.

I think it would have been helpful if there’d been an index so you could find a stitch right away without flipping through. It’s not too much of an issue since the dictionary is short. I just think it would be helpful for those who want to look up a stitch by name, but don’t know exactly what it looks like.

Note: This book contains stitch patterns only and a few loom instructions. It DOES NOT show you how to make a hat, scarf or other finished items.

It is a reference book designed to: 1. Help you find new stitches 2. Look up a stitch by the picture to find out the name of the stitch and how to knit it.

To use this book, you need to know how to cast on and bind off and understand what loom size and yarn weight you need for your project. Though, thankfully, there is a chart on yarn weight in the beginning of the book, on page 5, and another one at the end on page 91.

This is why I say Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary is not for beginning loom knitters, unless you already have experience with needle knitting or crochet. If you’re an intermediate or advanced loom knitter, you’ll get a lot more out of the dictionary.

I like the portable size of the book. It’s light weight and easy to take with you, though it is not pocket-sized. But it will fit in a medium to large purse or a yarn bag.

I accidentally spilled something near my copy, so the top edge of the book got wet, but since the pages are nice and thick for the photographs, the book is still in good condition.

The review score and my final thoughts:

I vacillated on the score because I was tempted to give a lower rating. The reason: I wish it was more accessible for beginners. If it had a few more pictures of looming techniques and maybe a glossary of loom knitting terms, I’d probably give it 5 stars. However, there are other books that are specifically geared for people who are new to loom knitting. This book isn’t trying to be a catch-all book to teach you everything.

It is first and foremost a dictionary of stitches and in that regard, it does exactly what it intends to do – give a name and picture of each stitch and a basic pattern for how it is knitted.

I’d give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Overall, this is a great reference book for intermediate to advanced loom knitters and Kathy Norris has taken the time to convert various needle-knit stitches to loom knitting so that you don’t have to sit and figure it out yourself. Thank you, Ms. Norris!

You can find this book, and other books by Kathy Norris, at LeisureArts.com, Joann.com, Amazon.com, and you might be able to find one at Michael’s (in-store), but they generally have a smaller selection of knitting books.

 

* Disclosure: This book was purchased by me and I did not receive any compensation from the author or publisher. All opinions are my own. This post does include affiliate links, so if you purchase via the link, I would receive a small commission, which helps me keep the blog running.

 

 

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.

 

Loom Review – Loops & Threads 62-Peg Long Loom

Loops & Threads Long Loom (Green)
Photo by Venus / Adventures in Loom Knitting

This President’s Day holiday weekend, I started a new project on my large long loom, the Loops & Threads 62-peg long loom (this is the green one). I bought this knitting loom from Michaels as part of a set of four long looms. If you don’t have a Michaels near you, you can find similar long looms from Darice on Amazon.

I’ve been coveting an S loom (either the Authentic Knitting Board Afghan loom or the Darice infinity loom), but since I don’t have one yet, I thought I’d try out this loom. Most of my projects are done on round looms, and the one long loom project I tried (with the shortest one in the set), made me hesitant to use my other long looms.

But despite my initial hesitation, and the couple of bad reviews I saw about this loom, I decided to give it a go and I was pleasantly surprised.

The issue I had with the shorter, blue long loom from this set was that it was more awkward to use than my round looms, and I felt some hand strain after using it for a while. I didn’t have that problem with this green loom because it is so long that I have to use it on a desk or a table, which minimizes me holding the loom for long periods of time. I’m only picking it up when I have to turn the loom. It is 58 cm (about 22 7/8 inches) in length.

There is a 1/2 inch space between pegs (3/4 inch if you count from the center groove of one peg to the center grove of another). It also has anchor pegs on either end of the loom. There is no “starting peg”, so I marked it with a Clover safety-pin stitch marker to help me keep track of my knits and purls.

The project I’m knitting is a cover for the top of my office chair because my cat Nix likes to sit on top of my desk chair when I’m at the computer. Her sharp, little claws dig tiny holes all over the faux leather fabric. Before she totally destroys it, I figured I should make some kind of chair cover.

I probably won’t make a full slip cover, just something long enough to cover the top of the chair all the way around so that when she jumps on it, it will stay in place and provide a cushion between her and the faux leather material.

Here’s a pic of her sitting on the chair behind me (lately, I’ve been keeping a towel on top of the chair to stop her from clawing it until the chair cover is finished).

Venus' cat Nix sitting on the office chair
Photo by Venus / Adventures in Loom Knitting

I used a #5 Bulky yarn also from Loops & Threads brand. I got the Barcelona yarn in the Peony color. I love the yarn! The #5 yarn works great on the 62-peg loom because you only need one strand. I am so used to using worsted-weight #4 yarn, that I expected to have to double my strands for this project, but it looks perfect with just one strand of #5.

Here’s a picture of the chair cover so far. If you’re wondering which loom knit stitch I’ve used, it’s the garter stitch (alternating knit and purl rows).

Garter stitch on long loom
Photo by Venus / Adventures in Loom Knitting

Pros of the Loops & Threads green long loom:

  • It is fairly light-weight and the spacing of the pegs feels perfect. It’s not too wide, nor is it too close.
  • The pegs feel fully anchored in the holes, so I’m not worried that pegs are going to suddenly fall out or break off.
  • The plastic feels fairly sturdy for the most part.
  • You can make baby blankets, lap-sized throw blankets, or you can make panels for a large blanket. You could also use this for knitting adult-sized clothes.

Cons of the Loops & Threads green long loom:

  • It is a little too flexible. I saw reviews that complained that this loom bends or bows when making a blanket. While I had no problem with this loom using a #5 yarn, I could see the bending/bowing issue being a problem if you’re using a very thick, bulky yarn or you’re doing a lot of double-knit projects. If you press on the loom, you can see it bend in the middle (see my photo below) or if you stick your hand inside and wiggle it, you can see it bow outward. You can also bend it up and down if you press at the sides. This could be a problem if the loom is getting heavy use or you’re trying to double-knit thick yarns.
  • It’s long, but still not long enough if you want to make full- or queen-sized blankets without sewing panels together. You’ll need an S-loom (an infinity loom or an afghan loom). Darice, Loops & Threads, and Knitting Board make larger afghan looms (see the links at the top of this post). Knitting Board also has a 28″ long loom if you want something in-between this loom and the infinity/afghan looms.

See how the loom bends in the middle when I press on it:

Loops & Threads Long Loom Bending
Photo by Venus – Adventures in Loom Knitting

This loom will get you by, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for doing a lot of double-knitting. If you’re mostly single-knitting in a flat panel, this looms seems fine and I don’t think the bending would be a problem. However, doing a lot of double-knits will cause the loom to bend in the center, which will throw off the spacing between stitches over time. If you’re mostly knitting with thinner yarns, then you might be fine to try a double-knit on this loom.

Overall, I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars based on my current experience (4 out of 5 if you’re only going to use it for single knits). You can make scarves, blankets, and other projects. I think this loom would work well for knitting adult-sized clothes, though you might have to knit flat and sew the sides together.

The Loops & Threads Long Loom Set is affordable, especially if you have a 40-60% off coupon from Michaels. So it definitely a good option if you can’t afford an S loom and you want to do blankets, scarves, and hats (though for hats you’d use the smaller looms in the set). If you are interested in seeing reviews about the other looms that come in the Loops & Thread set, please let me know in the comments.

Do you knit with long looms? If so, which ones are your favorites?

 

*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.