Why your child needs a knitting loom

Our six-year-old son had tried knitting in the past. We’d bought him knitting needles and the turquoise yarn* he wanted. I’d YouTubed how to ‘cast on’ and vaguely remembered my grandmother’s instructions from a long, long time ago.

I think the plan was to make a scarf, but he never finished it. The needles were difficult for his little hands to maneuver and the tension was always off. We couldn’t figure out how to keep the yarn from getting a death-grip on those needles — so tight that we couldn’t sneak the second needle under the loop.

Every few months he’d discover it and try again … until he got frustrated (again).

But then we learned our 11-year-old neighbour had been knitting hats for years, and they were flawless — different colour combinations and styles with nice, thick, stretchy brims. She insisted it was really easy, but I was hesitant. I told her about the abandoned scarf (a.k.a. skinny yarn strip of broken dreams) sitting in our craft cabinet in the dining room.

No, she assured us. You don’t use needles. You use a loom!

You just wrap the yarn around the pegs and lift up the loops, basically like the Rainbow Loom bracelets my kids love to make. No eye-pokey needles? I was sold and our son was desperate to give it a try. He actually started talking about opening a hat store.

I headed to my home-away-from-home, Atlantic Fabrics, and picked up a set of four hat looms* (all different sizes) for around $20. It included a little plastic needle (which is only needed for a minute at the very end of the project) and a hook, similar to a Rainbow Loom hook.

You can get the sets in different places and they’re almost exactly the same. Here’s an Amazon one.

I headed to the cash with an armload of turquoise wool (my boy’s favourite colour) but they kindly told me one skein (less than $4) was more than enough for a child-sized hat. Yarn is cheap, and there are so many pretty colours! I could see myself building a yarn stash to rival my fabric stash.

I’m still learning about yarn, but what I know so far is that it comes in different thicknesses and No. 6 is a good thickness for hats. This is the yarn we used for his first hat.*

We used the Bernat Softee Chunky yarn.

My boy was thrilled when he got off the bus and I told him I’d picked up what he needed to start making hats. We tore open the box and I was surprised there wasn’t a page of instructions. Nope — just a few notes printed on the back of the box, interspersed with typos.

After two false starts where I wrapped the yarn too tightly (that’s my thing, apparently), we were off and running. I demonstrated the steps to my son and he excitedly took over. I couldn’t believe how easy it was — despite the not-great instructions. The ball of yarn was turning into an actual, wearable hat. It felt like magic!

Want to try it with your child? Click through for my hopefully-clear instructions on how to use a loom to make a knitted hat.

How to knit a hat on a knitting loom: Full tutorial with photos and GIFs {Heather's Handmade Life}
Full instructions!
I couldn’t believe that our son was finished his first hat in less a day, in which he spent about three hours actually working on it. There are a couple of little holes from missed loops here and there, but he’s immensely proud of himself and wears it constantly.

As for me? I’m totally borrowing his looms and making myself a hat. It’s addictively easy and it will give me an excuse to stock up on pretty yarns!

Why your child needs a knitting loom {Heather's Handmade Life}
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