knitting loom

Loom Knitting a Baby Hat: Casting On

by Crystal Kennedy

  When most people think of round, often plastic knitting looms, they think of hats. While you can knit anything on these looms that you can knit with needles, hats are a good starting project. This series focuses on making your first baby hat.

What you Need

You need a round knitting loom that's the same size as the hat you want to make. Many people begin with the popular Knifty Knitter looms, and in that case, you need the small  blue one. It has 24 pegs.

You also need a ball or skein of worsted weight ( U.S. category 4) yarn. This is the kind of yarn you would use for an afghan, sweater, etc. If you use the blue Knifty Knitter, you need to hold two strands of yarn together throughout the entire hat, as if they were one strand of yarn. To do this, hold both ends of the skein of yarn together, taking one end from the inside, and the other from the outside. Alternatively, you can use two separate balls or skeins, taking one strand from each. Either way, you may want to tie the strands together so you don't lose one.

Pick out a stitch marker or contrasting scrap of yarn. You'll use this to mark your starting peg.

You may find a row counter helpful, but it isn't necessary.

Finally, you need a pair of scissors and a large-eye yarn needle. These are often plastic and are readily available in many department and craft stores.

What you Must Know

Hold the loom on your lap with the pegs pointing upward. You'll be moving clockwise around the loom. You should also note that the inside of the loom refers to the side of the pegs that is not grooved, while the grooved side is the front of the loom. Finally, the yarn coming from the ball(s) or skein(s) is called the working yarn.

There are many cast on methods, and they won't be discussed here. This hat uses the double e-wrap cast on. Don't worry - It's not as complicated as it sounds! First, let's tackle the e-wrap.

To begin, place a slip knot on the starting peg. This can be any peg; make sure you know which one it is. You may want to put a stitch marker or contrasting scrap of yarn around it. Leave it there throughout the project. Tighten the slip knot so it's tight, but can still move up and down the peg slightly.

Now, take the working yarn to the inside of the loom, and wrap it counterclockwise toward the front of the next peg, and back around to the inside. This is called e-wrap, because if you look down at it on the inside of the loom, it forms a cursive letter ee around the peg.

After you e-wrap the second peg, e-wrap it again. You now have two loops on that peg.

Next you need to knit off one loop over one loop. This is very simple, and you do just what it says. Pull the bottom loop over the top loop, and let it fall to the inside of the loom. Now there is one loop on that peg. Pull the working yarn a little to tighten the stitch (the loop on the peg), but make sure it can move up and down the peg slightly.

Repeat around the loom, e-wrapping each peg twice and knitting off. When you get back to the starting peg, e-wrap that peg as well. Now you have two loops on that peg: the one from your starting slip knot, and the one you just e-wrapped around it. Knit off the bottom loop over the top one, but make sure you don't knit off your yarn scrap if you used one as a marker.

Take a break and breathe a sigh of relief, because you've now cast on to your loom!

Sources

Phelps, Isela. Loom Knitting Primer. St. Martin's Press, New York: 2007.

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