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!

 

 

 

 

Fun, Easy Loom Project – Scrubbies!

Blue_Scrubbies

I was on bed rest yesterday after hurting my back and wanted an easy knitting project to do with one of my smaller looms, so I decided to knit a few scrubbies for cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom. This was my first time making them. I’d been seeing a lot of people posting pictures of scrubbies in one of my online loom knitting groups and thought it would be a fun project to try.

I found a set of blue Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn and Red Heart scrubby yarn on eBay a couple weeks ago and decided to buy it in case I got the urge to make these.

The first scrubby took me about two hours to make and the subsequent ones took me about an hour and a half to an hour and forty-five minutes. So it’s not a super fast project, but it’s definitely much faster than making a hat or scarf.

The hardest part about making a scrubby is dealing with the cotton and scrubby yarns because they have no give. Acrylic yarns have a little bit of stretch to them, so they are easier to yarn over the pegs as you knit.

Materials needed to make a scrubby:

  • 24-peg loom (or 32-peg loom)
  • 1 skein of Red Heart Scrubby yarn
  • 1 to 2 skeins of cotton yarn such as Sugar ‘n Cream or Premier Home brand yarn (you need a cotton yarn since the scrubby will be getting wet; it will better absorb the water and soap)
  • Knitting tool/hook
  • Tapestry needle

To make a scrubby, you are essentially going to knit as if you’re making a baby hat. You’re going to use the same techniques you’d use for folding over and closing a brim and doing a draw-string closure for the top of a hat. So it is a very good project for a newbie (for a video tutorial, see the links at the bottom of the post).

I made these with an e-wrap knit and I recommend wrapping a little loosely so that your yarn doesn’t get too tight as you’re working. If you are used to using a flat stitch to knit, I would recommend not doing that for this project because the yarn will be nearly impossible to work with. Even with the e-wrap, there were a few times when my wrist was getting sore from trying to yarn over when the cotton yarn got too tight.

Yarns I used to loom knit these scrubbies: Sugar ‘n Cream in Dazzle Blue, Sugar ‘n Cream in Light Blue and Red Heart Scrubby in Waves.

Here is a close-up of the scrubby as I was making it.

scrubby_loom

I made my scrubbies an oblong shape rather than round because it was easier for me rather than pulling super tight on the yarn to get it into a disc shape. I also think that the oblong shape is nice because it basically fits perfectly in my hand.

For detailed, step-by-step instructions, here are some tutorials and videos on the process of making a scrubby on a loom.

Gina Lay has a very easy video on loom knitting scrubbies. She also has another video using an alternate way of casting on with the drawstring method.

If you don’t have scrubby yarn, you can also use tulle. Here is a tutorial from Joys of Creating on making a scrubby with tulle and cotton yarn, instead of scrubby yarn.

And, if you’d prefer a written pattern, I saw this one by Brenda Myers on Ravelry.

Happy Looming!

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did. If you decide to make them, please let me know how they turned out.

 

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.

 

 

10 Tips for Beginners

I’ve been loom knitting for approximately four months. It’s been a wonderful experience, and so far, I’ve knitted close to 20 projects (I have a couple that are still in-progress).

Today, I thought I’d share a few general tips for those who are just starting out with loom knitting or who are thinking about learning to loom knit.

Tip #1 : If you don’t own a loom yet, either buy a set of looms or think about what you want to make first and then pick out a loom. If you have no idea what you want to make, that’s fine, but if you already have a knitting project in mind, it’s helpful to know what you want to make and then buy the loom, so that you can make sure that you have the right size loom for your project.

For example, if I’m making adult hats, I’m going to want a 36-peg, 40-peg, or 41-peg loom. If I buy a loom with less pegs, then chances are the hat is going to fit a child, but not an adult.

If I wanted to make a scarf, though, I could pick almost any loom. The main difference would be whether I want to double-knit or single knit. If I want double-knit, I will need a long loom (basically, a rectangular loom). If I am single-knitting, I can use round looms or long looms. Personally, I find round looms to be more comfortable if I’m knitting in bed or somewhere where I don’t have a table or desk in front of me.

If you’ve already picked out a loom knitting a pattern, many times the designer will tell you what size loom you need to complete the project.

Tip #2: Youtube is your friend! If you don’t like reading patterns or if you have a hard time understanding how a certain stitch or pattern works, there are TONS of tutorials on Youtube for loom knitting. Loomahat makes a lot of easy-to-follow beginner videos. Goodnight Kisses also makes various tutorial and product review videos. I’d also recommend the Knitting Board website and Isela Phelps’ blog as they have patterns and tutorials as well (Isela often designs patterns for KB). And there are many more tutorials out there!

If there is something you’d like to learn to make, just go to Youtube, type in the type of project (hat, scarf, cable, double-knit, etc.) and “loom knitting” and you’ll find a lot of videos available.

Tip #4: Learn a basic pattern that uses both knit and purl stitches. Some people just start out with a basic knit hat only using knit (stockinette) and that’s totally fine. But I’d personally recommend learning the rib stitch or the garter stitch as one of your first 5 projects because these involve alternating knit and purl stitches. These two basic techniques are the building blocks on which all other patterns and stitches are based.

Tip #5: Learn the different ways of making the knit stitch. A lot of looms come with a booklet that will show you what is called the e-wrap stitch. You basically wrap all your pegs then wrap them a second time and knit off/yarn over. This is the most basic way to loom knit a knit stitch. However, it makes your cast-on row and your stitches very loose.

There are alternate ways of doing the knit stitch: the u-wrap (my personal favorite), the flat stitch, the true-knit stitch and the double-knit stockinette. Each have their pros and cons. Some patterns will tell you specifically which style of knit stitch to use to make your project look closest to the picture of the finished item. If a pattern does not say, then you can use your favorite version of the knit stitch.

I find the u-wrap knit stitch to be a happy medium between e-wrap and the flat-stitch. It creates a tighter knit, but it is not as challenging to work with as a flat stitch and I just haven’t gotten the hang of the true-knit stitch yet.

Here is a good tutorial from Loomahat explaining the different types of knit stitches and how to do them. There is also a video.

The double-knit stockinette really only applies to double-knitting. Double-knitting is it’s own animal, but it can create beautiful, thick knitted projects where the front and back of the piece look exactly the same. Normally, if you e-wrap or u-wrap a scarf, the front of it will be knit, but the back will look different.

Tip #6 Sometimes you have to frog it and that’s okay. I’ve heard knitters affectionately use the term “frogging”, which basically means unraveling a project. Maybe you’re learning a new stitch pattern and you skip a stitch somewhere or you lost track and knitted where you were supposed to purl and your pattern looks wonky.

Or maybe the project you’re making is just not coming out the way you want and it’s driving you crazy. It’s totally normal to have to unravel a few rows (or sometimes a whole project). It happens to everyone, especially in the beginning as you’re learning new stitches and techniques. Again, it happens to everyone and it’s part of the process, so don’t beat yourself up if you have to start over or re-do half of your project.

Tip #7 Different looms have different gauges, so some looms require you to use a single strand of yarn, whereas other looms require you to knit two strands as one. Most round loom sets come with wide-gauge looms and if you’re using a #4 worsted weight yarn, you’ll need two strands. For example, if you have a Loops & Threads, Knifty Knitter, Darice or Boye loom, then you have a wide-gauge loom and you’ll need two or three strands of thin yarns or your project will have a loose weave. However, if you have a bulky yarn, you only need one strand of yarn.

If you are using a Knitting Board (KB) loom, CinDWood, or a loom that lets you add pegs to make the gauge smaller, then you can use a single strand of medium-weight yarn. If you have a very thin yarn, you might still need to double-up, but most yarns you’ll see at a general craft store like Michaels and JoAnn are going to be a #4 or #5 yarn. They do carry other yarns, but a lot of the yarns they carry are in this weight range.

Tip #9 You can make blankets on small looms or large looms. There are looms specifically-designed for making blankets, which are usually called S-looms, infinity looms, or afghan looms. They look like a gigantic figure 8 and have two rows of pegs that curve around the loom. I own the Knitting Board Super Afghan Loom which you can find at JoAnn and Amazon, but there are other brands like Darice, Loops & Threads, CinDWood, and Knifty Knitter that make them as well.

You can also use long looms or round looms to make blankets. Depending on the size of your loom, you might be able to make a baby blanket or lap blanket or you can make a blanket in panels. One blanket that can be made on almost any loom is the 10 stitch blanket.

If you have a long loom set, the largest loom (around 2 feet long) can make a lap-sized blanket/throw blanket.

Tip #10 Buying looms can become addictive! A couple months ago, I polled an online loom knitting group and asked how many looms everyone owned. Most people owned about 10-25 looms, some owned as many as 40-60 looms! There was even one person who had around 100!!

You can make wonderful projects with just one or two looms. It is totally doable to start out small or to just buy a round loom set or long loom set of 4 looms and make many, many projects with them. But I have to admit there is something about having different gauges of looms and different sizes for different projects. And then there are small flower looms and spool/French knitter looms that you can use for embellishments or for making knit toys for children.

Go at whatever pace is comfortable for you. Also, think about what you most want to make and use that to determine whether you want one or two looms to get started or if you need multiple looms.

You can also opt for an adjustable loom that allows you to do a lot of different projects. The three that I can think of off the top of my head are the Knitting Board All-in-One, the KB Adjustable Hat Loom, and the Martha Stewart Crafts Knit and Weave Loom Kit.

The All-in-One is a wooden loom that has different spacers that allow you to change the size of the project you want to make. Goodnight Kisses did a nice review of this loom. The KB Adjustable Hat Loom and the Martha Stewart Loom Kit have interlocking pieces that you’ll use to make your loom large or small. Please note, some users have complained about the pegs falling out of the Martha Stewart kit, so if you buy this one, you might need to glue your pegs in to make sure they don’t come out.

Bonus Tip – You can get good deals on looms if you are a bargain shopper. If you plan ahead and use coupons (and rebates where appropriate), you can often get looms at a large discount.

For my U.S. readers: JoAnn regularly offers 40% and 50% off coupons, which you can use on Knitting Board or Boye looms. You can also get really good cash-back rebates for Joann via iBotta. Michaels carries their own Loops & Threads brand and if you use a coupon, you can usually get 40% off. Amazon carries most loom knitting brands, though the best deal on Amazon right now is for the Darice round loom set, which you can often find for $10-$13.

I’ve also heard of people scoring deals on looms and yarn at the thrift store, but that is a bit hit or miss.

For my UK readers: I’ve heard that Aldi has very good prices on knitting looms (I see a round loom set for £7 on their website). eBay also has inexpensive looms, though some are directly from China, so you might save money, but have to deal with longer wait times. On Amazon UK, they have H&S looms and Tmade looms for about £14-£16. Note: I’ve never used these brands, but the H&S might be worth checking out as it has 4.7 stars on Amazon.

Bonus Tip #2 – Keeping a log of your projects is a nice way to see what you’ve done and which stitches you’ve practiced. I keep a running list of my projects in Evernote and periodically update it here on my blog. I find it helpful to remind me of what I’ve accomplished in the last four months and it’s also really useful when I’ve set aside a project for a few weeks and I need to remember which stitch pattern I was working on. I can go back on my list and see I was making a hat with the seed stitch or a scarf with a figure 8 stitch.

Sometimes I also note what yarn I used. Over time, you might not remember what stitch and yarn you used for a certain gift or project and the list is a handy way to remember what you did last time, in case you want to make that item again, or if you didn’t like the way something came out, you’ll know what not to do.

I hope these were helpful! If you have a tip for newbies, feel free to post it in the comments below! Happy looming!