A few weeks ago, I was visiting one of my favorite charity donation groups, Sew For Kids Volunteers and was inspired!

Being inspired wasn’t what was unusual. I’m usually inspired by this group of caring people who band together to help provide formula, blankets, quilts, winter coats, shoes, boots, firewood, school clothes, school supplies, diapers, and other items for the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Usually I am inspired to make more quilts, scarves, baby blankets, crocheted hats — things I already make. The poverty there is so extreme that the need is never fully met…so those of us in the group keep making, buying, sending.

However, one of the ladies in the group had posted a picture of four hats and a scarf that she’d made on one of the looms like the one pictured above. Another lady posted that she could loom a hat in an hour or so. The idea of being able to make a hat in an hour appealed to me so I purchased the set of looms above and jumped right into a whole new craft.

After that I started watching videos on how to make hats on a loom. I watched several, but this one really provided all the information I needed to get started.

While I’ve not gotten ANYWHERE close to making a hat in an hour yet I have had a lot of fun and I do expect that I’ll get faster as I practice more. It generally takes me a couple of evenings of TV time to finish a hat…but that’s about the time it would take me to crochet one using a crochet hook…and I’d still have to stitch it up the back, gather the top, and add the pompom at the top…so…basically…for hats…the loom is faster.

Right now I’m using the loom to make hats but I did see a neat video on how to loom knit slippers and so I may at some point loom knit slippers.

The thing that threw me the most with loom knitting is that it is recommended that you work with two strands of yarn at the same time. I’ve always worked with a single yarn when hand crocheting so all of my yarn purchases (and there is a lot of yarn) were purchased with that in mind. I generally buy two coordinating skeins of yarn and then I combine them in some kind of pattern…stripes…bands…etc. But if you want to have say, a solid color hat, with solid color stripes you’d need to have two skeins of the same solid color of yarn. Or at least that’s what I was thinking. But then someone on the Sew For Kids Volunteers Group kicked my thinking out of the box when they suggested that rather than buying more skeins of the same colors of yarn, I  just wind a new ball from one of the skeins I already had. Brilliant idea! And that’s what I did. The first time I wound a second ball of yarn from an existing skein I did it by hand without a winder. It worked. It wasn’t terrible. In actuality it probably didn’t take any longer than it would take with a winder…but it made me want a winder.

I went to Amazon and searched for a winder. The reviews for all of the winders that you fasten to the table and turn with a crank seemed mixed so I ended up getting something different. The Yarn Winder by Valet is basically a cylinder with a groove to hold the yarn at the end. You wind the yarn (manually) around and around kind of diagonally to form a ball which pulls easily from the center or the outside. Since getting the Yarn Winder I’ve been cleaning up a lot of old bits of yarn left over from other projects. It’s a great TV time activity when I’m not in the mood to loom knit, crochet, cut quilt pieces, or do some other hand work. It’s been neat to see the bins which used to be kind of scrambled with a mess of yarn ends getting neater and to feel like I probably will actually use the leftovers in new projects. It seems like I can often make a whole hat from a ball of yarn of a size I normally would have thought of as too small to do anything other than make pompoms. So that is a plus too.

One of the neat things about the Yarn Winder by Valet is that there is  a video that shows exactly how to use it. I think I may need to watch it again. My balls seem more oblong than the ones in the video. There’s probably a different winding technique one is supposed to employ toward the end of the wind that I’m missing. But I enjoyed the video instructions on using the winder.

I’m still really just learning with the loom knitting…but here are my first two completed hats. I’m pleased with them. More importantly, they’ll keep someone warm come winter 2017/2018.

The hat on the left was made with two strands of the same variegated yarn. The hat on the right was made with one strand of the variegated yarn and one strand of white. They are a nice size for a small child.

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