Loom Knitting for Beginners: How to Choose Your First Loom

how to choose your first loom

Are you a beginning loom knitter looking for a loom? You’ll find helpful tips here

Would you like to knit more but find that it seems to require too much concentration and time? Do you suffer hand or wrist pain when you knit? Do you get frustrated by frequent stitch-dropping?

If any of these are the case for you, you may want to try loom knitting!

For beginners, loom knitting is an excellent way to turn out beautiful hats, scarves, and even blankets without requiring deep concentration. It’s also very beneficial on the wrists and hands, because the weight of a project is on the loom itself.

loom knitting for beginners - circular loom
Photo: Linda Snyder

If you want to start loom knitting, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll take a look at knitting looms; different types of looms, how to choose a knitting loom, and knitting loom terms.

As a loom knitting beginner, you may be looking for your first loom. We’ll talk here about the types of knitting looms. We’ll also discuss what you should be looking for. And finally, I’ll help you understand gauge as it relates to knitting looms for beginners.

Let’s get started!

Types of Knitting Looms

knifty knitter looms
Photo: Linda Snyder

Circle Looms: Used to make tubing knit in the round. The bigger the circle, the bigger the tube it makes. The base shape of the loom doesn’t have any effect on the knitted item. As long as the pegs are in a continuous row, the item will be a tube.

Circle looms can be oblong, circle, octagon, square, and heart shape.

For beginners to loom knitting, especially if you’ve struggled with circular knitting in the past? Circle looms can be a revelation!

Double-sided Rake Looms: Also called knitting frames and knitting boards. These looms have two parallel rows of pegs that allow the knitting to fall through the center. Use this loom to create items with double-sides so both sides are the right side.

Single-sided Rake Looms: These looms have only one row of pegs that are not continuous. You can use these looms to create flat panels.

However, you can actually use any loom to make flat objects. You don’t have to have a single-sided rake loom. Much like you can use circular needles to create flat fabric, you can also use circle looms to create single panels.

Remember, just because a loom has a particular name, like sock loom, hat loom, etc. you don’t have to use it for just those items.

Circle looms are sometimes called hat looms because you can use them to make hats. But, you can also use them to make panels for baby sweaters and blankets, scarves, or anything else that you can make by seaming flat panels together.

Here’s an excellent video that demonstrates how to knit flat panels on a round loom!

Terms for the Loom Knitting Beginner to Know

Anchor Peg – The anchor peg is useful to secure your working yarn. By securing your yarn, it keeps it from coming unraveled while you knit. Not all looms have anchor pegs. They’re helpful but not essential.

Pegs – When knitting on a loom, you wrap your yarn around the pegs to create your knitting stitches.

Peg groove – It is very helpful for each peg to have a groove in its side just under the cap of the peg. The groove lets you slip your knitting tool in it to make lifting your stitches off the pegs easier. Specialty looms may not have pegs.

For beginners to loom knitting, it’s best that you look for looms with grooves. When you’re more experienced, you’ll do fine with or without the groove.

Things to consider when buying your first loom:

Durability – It’s understandable to not want to spend a lot of money when you first start loom knitting. So for right now, forego the expensive handcrafted wooden looms. It’s fine to start with inexpensive plastic looms. Just be sure they can hold up to normal use.

Gauge – Pay attention to the gauge of the loom you want to buy. Be sure you can use your desired weight of yarn with the loom. (See “Gauge Guidelines” below.)

Pegs – The pegs on some looms are smooth; others have a little bit of resistance. Which one you choose is your preference, of course. Just keep in mind that the yarn slips off smooth pegs much easier.

If you knit tightly, you might want to choose smooth pegs. If you knit loosely, try pegs with some resistance to keep your knitting for slipping off when you don’t want it to.

Also, check into peg replacements. Accidents happen. You or a child may step or your loom. It just happens. (Though this, of course, is more of a concern with more expensive looms!)

Other things to look for in pegs are grooves and a knob to keep the yarn from accidentally slipping off.

loom knitting
Photo: Linda Snyder

Gauge Guidelines for Beginners to Loom Knitting

Looms are sold according to gauge. Here are the basic sizes, what weight yarn to use with each and what size knitting needle each corresponds to.

Large Gauge Knitting Looms – Use with bulky weight yarns or 2 strands of medium weight yarns. Makes bulky-weight knits and knits that for felting. With this loom, you’ll get approximately 1 1/2 to 2 stitches per inch. Compare to knitting needle size 13.

Regular Gauge Knitting Looms– Use with chunky weight yarns or 2 strands of sport weight yarns. Makes medium-weight knits. With this loom, you’ll get approximately 3 to 3 1/2 stitches per inch. Compare to knitting needle size 10.

Small Gauge Knitting Looms – Use with worsted weight and medium-weight. Makes medium and lightweight knits. With this loom, you’ll get approximately 3 1/2 to 4 stitches per inch. Compare to knitting needle sizes 7 and 8.

Fine Gauge Knitting Looms – Use with sport weight and DK weight. Makes lightweight knits. With this loom, you’ll get approximately 4 to 5 stitches per inch. Compare to knitting needle sizes 5 and 6.

Extra Fine Gauge Knitting Looms – Use with fingering weight and sock weight. Makes lightweight knits. With this loom, you’ll get approximately 7 to 8 stitches per inch. Compare to knitting needle sizes 1 and 2.

For beginners to loom knitting, be sure to review this information (or print it and take it with you!) before you buy your first knitting loom.

Have you already chosen a pattern for your first project? Simply look at the pattern and buy the size and type of loom required for the item.

If you haven’t chosen a pattern for your first project, check these out!