Loom FAQs: How do I convert?

Loom-FAQs1When looking through all the questions regarding loom knitting, there are always several different questions pertaining to patterns that are not loom knit.  Can I use knit patterns for needles on the loom?  How do I convert a needle pattern to the loom?  How can this crochet pattern be made on a loom?  And usually a lot of begging and pleading for someone to PLEASE convert this for good of loomers everywhere…

How do I convert this crochet pattern to the loom?

That one is easy because crochet cannot be converted (sometimes called translated) to knit.  At all.  While there is a site that tells you how many rows of knit equal the height of crochet stitches, you cannot convert crochet to knit.  They are 2 completely different methods.

A person can always create a pattern replicating a crochet design, but it will look different due to the different and unique natures of each art.  With knitting, you have same number of live stitches as the project is wide.  So if a project is 30 stitches wide, you will have 30 live stitches or loops.  In traditional crochet, no matter how wide the project, you will only have 1 live stitch.  This changes how the projects in each are worked making them completely different.  Also the stitches are completely different as well.

Now that that FAQ is out of the way, let’s move on to needle knit patterns…

Can all needle patterns be converted to loom knit?

Theoretically all needles knit patterns can be worked on looms.  But some of the more complicated stitches are extremely difficult to work on looms due to the restriction caused by the distance between pegs.  In other words, when required to move stitches around when working larger cables for instance, the stitches just cannot reach that far.

Also loom size and gauges of looms may restrict us in what we can make from needle knit patterns.  Some looms may not have enough pegs, or the looms do not come in the proper gauge for certain patterns.

How do I convert needle knit patterns?

Other than the obvious (which is the tool used to knit), the main difference between needle knitting and loom knitting is the side of the work that is facing us when working a flat panel.

When knitting with needles, the person only works in one direction.  So a right handed person will usually work from right to left.  The work is then turned at the end of the row, and the next row is worked from right to left again.  So every other row has the wrong side facing the knitter.

With loom knitting, the right side of the work is always facing us.  The work is never turned like in needle knitting.  We work in both directions on flat panels and not just in one direction each time.

Patterns are written 2 ways: in the round (circular) and flat panels.  Hats are an example of circular knitting, and scarves are an example of flat panels.  First thing you need to do is determine which type of pattern it is.

Flat panel patterns

When converting a flat panel pattern or stitch pattern to loom knit, you will first need to know which rows are the wrong side.  Most times, it will be the even rows.  Most patterns will tell you which is the wrong side rows.  Those are the rows that will need to be changed.  You will leave the right side rows exactly like they are written.

You will then change the stitch to the opposite stitch on the wrong side rows.  So knits will become purls and purl will become knits.

You will also need to achieve gauge which I will talk about in a bit.

Circular or in the round patterns

One thing to look for to determine if a pattern is written in the round is the type of needles used.  If circular or double point needles are used, then it is most likely a circular pattern.  Next read the cast on row.  If it says to join the cast on without twisting the stitches, then it is definitely a circular pattern.

The wonderful thing about these patterns is that you do not need to convert them at all.  Since they are circular or in the round, they are worked just like we work items on the loom.  The right side is always facing us.  The work is never turned.   Therefore, the only thing you need to do is achieve gauge.  If gauge is achieved, then just work as written.  More on that later.

What is a stitch pattern?

A stitch pattern is just for the stitch itself.  Each pattern uses a certain stitch.  The stitch pattern is just the instructions for that stitch.  While there are a lot of stitch patterns that have been converted or translated for the loom, there are still lots more out there for us to convert from needles to loom.  Bethany Dailey has been sharing some wonderful stitch patterns with us in her Stitchology segments.  Be sure and check those out if you haven’t been reading her articles already.

Stitch patterns are written to cast on a certain number of stitches as a multiple of the stitch + an extra number.  For instance, double ribbing for a flat panel would listed as multiple of 4 + 2.  In other words, (knit 2, purl 2) is 4.  You would then multiple that by however many repeats you need to get the width desired.  Then add 2 for the 2 extra knits at the other end.

To convert a stitch pattern, just follow the same instruction for a flat panel.

If you want to use the stitch pattern in the round, you will leave off the added stitches after the +.  In the example of double ribbing, it will just be a multiple of 4.

Achieving Gauge

Make a swatch on the loom that has the number of pegs for the number of stitches and see if the gauge is the same that is required for the pattern.

If it matches, then just work it as you have converted for flat panels or as written for circular.

If not, then you will need to make adjustments for the number of stitches you will need to cast on.  You can refer to my previous article on gauge and how to calculate peg count, just click here.

You will need to keep in mind that if there are increases or decreases while working in the round, you will need a loom that will adjust to the stitch count you will need for that round, like the All-n-One loom.

Needle gauge equivalents to loom gauge

Here is a rough idea of what gauge knitting needles are equivalent to loom gauges.  So when a pattern calls for certain size or gauge needles, you will know what gauge loom to try.  This information was kindly provided to me by Isela Phelps a few years ago.  Please remember this is a rough equivalent.

Needle size (mm size)       Loom gauge (center to center peg spacing)

2 – 3 (2 3/4 – 3 1/4)                    extra fine (3/16″)

4 – 5  (3 1/2 – 3 3/4)                   fine (1/4”, 5/16”)

6 – 7  (4 – 4 1/2)                          small (3/8″)

8 – 9 (5 – 5 1/2)                           regular (7/16”, 1/2”, 9/16”)

10 – 11 (6 – 8 )                              large ( 5/8”, 11/16”, 3/4)

13 (9)                                            extra large (13/16″, 1″)

If you need instruction on measuring the center to center peg spacing on looms, please refer to my article on gauge by clicking here.

I hope this helps answer your questions on converting or translating needle knit patterns to loom knit.  Happy loom knitting!

5 thoughts on “Loom FAQs: How do I convert?

  1. Hi Sue & everyone,

    I hope I have the right blog to post this time. I’m trying again. Please clarify:

    # of stitches on Loom – I’m using AIO Loom to make Socks

    Foot Circus = 12.5 , gauge =7 , 12.5 x 7 = 87.5 87.5(0.85) = 74.3 I rounded off to 74 pegs

    Heel & Toe = 37 pegs. Are these # of pegs correct?


  2. Another great source of patterns would be machine knit patterns. Any stitch that can be done on a knitting machine can be done on a knitting loom. The basics between the two are really the same. There are thousands of knitting machine patterns available. ????

  3. Thanks so much for this handy helper. There are so many lovely needle-knit patterns ‘out there’ it’d be a shame to not be able to recreate at least some of them on a loom. I’m looking forward to trying a few.

    I appreciate your making the process of conversion easy.

    Thank you again!

  4. Im wondering if you could help. I’ve never made mitts before on a round loom but doesn’t look hard. I’ve watched a video and looks like I can do it. The problem is is that my fiancee wants “trigger finger” mitts and not sure how to do that on a loom. I have found a pattern for them that is for needles but don’t know how to convert it to a loom. I’m so lost even after reading your instructions. Can you help?
    Can you possibly email me?

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