February 22, 2019

How to Convert a Needle Knit Pattern to the Loom

We, loom knitters, have come a long way since the handful of simple hat patterns we started out with. We now have dozens of designers creating shawls, mittens, scarves, sweaters, baby clothes and blankets all for our looms. Ravelry has over 3,500 loom knitting patterns! But what about when you see a needle knit pattern that just speaks to you? I’m going to show you how to convert a needle knit pattern so you can work it on the loom.

Whenever I make a video for a needle knit project, one the first comments I receive is, “How can I make this on the loom?” That’s why I try to make a loom knit version as often as I can. Now I’m going to crack open the door and let you see first hand what I do when I convert a pattern.

How to convert a needle knit pattern to loom PIN image

What’s the first step?

Start by reading all those important pieces of information at the beginning of the pattern. This is the step many loom knitters skip. This is just as important as converting the row instructions because if you don’t use the correct gauge loom for the project it won’t look like the needle knit pattern.

  • Yarn – look at the weight. It will be listed as a name and/or number. I’m talking about worsted, bulky, sock, etc. For a complete list of yarn weights go to the Craft Yarn Council Yarn Weight System Chart.
  • Needle Size – The size knitting needles used in the pattern will help you decide what loom gauge to choose.
  • Gauge – This is the pattern gauge. It tells you how big the stitches are. You also use this to help you choose the correct loom.
  • Number of cast on stitches or largest number of stitches used in the pattern – This is essential because for each stitch you will need a peg to put it on. This tells you the minimum number of pegs you will need to have on your loom.

Once you have all that information it’s time to start putting together. If a pattern calls for worsted weight yarn what is the best gauge loom to choose?

I’ve got a resource page that explains all about loom gauge in great detail. You may want to bookmark the Loom Gauge Charts, Notes & Looms. This page also has charts of different looms so you can find one that has the correct gauge and number of pegs that you need.

What if I want to use a different yarn or loom?

Funny you should bring that up because that’s exactly what I just did. I converted the Winter Lace Afghan needle knit pattern to the loom. If you want to loom knit this one too you can get the Loom Knit Lace Afghan pattern on my blog.

The original pattern was knit using #6 Super Bulky weight yarn and has a cast on of 96 pegs. I already know that there aren’t any Extra Large (XLG) gauge looms with that many pegs so instead of giving up on the pattern I decided to look for an alternative loom that I could use with #4 worsted weight yarn.

Looking through the loom gauge charts I decided to test the pattern on a 5/8″ Large Gauge (LG) loom. It looked great! Plus that gave me the gauge swatch I needed to figure out how many stitches to cast on.

You can see on the video how I figured out the stitch multiples and used my Interactive Knitting Calculators to calculate the number of cast on stitches for me. Best.Tool.Ever!

Now you’re ready to learn how to convert a needle knit pattern row by row.

First, look and see if the pattern is knit flat or in the round. If it’s knit in the round you’re good to go and can knit the pattern exactly as it is written.

Needle patterns knit in the round can be followed without converting the instructions!

For pattern that are knit flat you have to do some work before you can start knitting. But I need to give a little needle knitting lesson first….

When you knit a flat panel on needles you are knitting on BOTH sides of your project. You knit one row on the front and then turn your project around and knit the next row on the back. And if you’ve ever seen a needle knit pattern you’ll see they refer to the right side (front) and the wrong (side).

The big difference between knitting on the loom and knitting on needles is loom knitters are always knitting on the front of the project. We don’t have a right side and a wrong side while we knit.

This is very important to understand because a knit stitch on the right side looks like a purl on the wrong side and vice versa.

So to convert a needle knit pattern to the loom…

All the wrong side rows need to be converted using the opposite stitch.

Wait, what? Opposite stitch? Yes. every stitch has an opposite. A knit and a purl are opposite. A k2tog (knit 2 together) is the opposite of a p2tog (purl 2 together). Don’t worry, I have a chart that shows you the most common stitches and their opposites to help you convert the row instructions very quickly. Get the stitch conversion chart on my resource page, Converting Knitting Patterns to the Loom.

Once the row instructions are converted then it’s time to grab your yarn and loom. You can cast on confident that the pattern will turn out great because you did you research!

Watch how to convert a needle knit pattern to the loom below:

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Kristen Mangus
About Kristen Mangus
Kristen is a multi-talented entrepreneur with a heart as big as Texas. She is the Owner, Host and Creative Director of GoodKnit Kisses. GoodKnit Kisses is a company positioned to inspire, encourage and empower people through education and design. She’s built a large and loyal on-line community of followers by sharing her personal passion for knitting and all things creative through YouTube video tutorials, Facebook live broadcasts, blogs and patterns. Her vision is to leave an inspired crafting world for future generations that continues to teach and reach others. She and her husband, John, have three amazing kids.
  1. Avatar

    I love Kristen and Good Knit Kisses! I have gotten so much useful info from Kristen on loom knitting. Now I am challenging myself to do brioche knitting on a double rake. There are lots of videos on how to do the straight brioche on the double rake but I am seeing so many beautiful brioche patterns and am trying to convert them from needles to the loom. I have actually knit up something pretty using a regular knitting pattern but want to try to convert an actual brioche pattern. Kristen, help! Do you have any plans to do a video on converting a fancy brioche pattern (like the ones in Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant) to the loom? Trying to apply the same principles you used in converting needle patterns to the loom but for the brioche, there are some stitches that appear different and haven’t had much success.

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    Kristen – I have a pattern for a channeled color brioche cowl that I’m trying to convert but struggling to understand the instructions and how to convert them to the loom – I’m close but can’t get that channeled color to look right. Can you help?

    Instructions for loop:
    With MC and circular needle, cast on 160 sts. Place marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist sts. Knit 6 rnds. Switch to CC. (got this part…..)
    Set up Rnd (CC): *sl1 wyif, YPO, p1; repeat from * to end of round, leave CC yard at front of work.
    Rnd 8 (MC): *k2tog wyo, sl1 wyif, YOK; repeat from * to end of round. Leave MC yarn at back of work.
    Rnd 9 (CC): *S1 wyif, YOP, p2tog wyo; repeat from * to end of round, leave CC yarn at front of work.
    Rnd 10 (MC): *k2tog, sl1 wyif, YOK; repeat from * to end of round, leave MC at back of work.
    Repeat rounds 9 and 10 until desired length.

    Their abbreviations: MC: Main color; CC: Contrasting Color
    k2tog wyo: knit next knit stitch together with its paired yarnover
    p2tog wyo: purl next purl stitch together with its paired yarnover
    sl1: slip one stitch purlwise
    wyif: with yarn in front
    wyo: with yarn over (from previous row/round)
    YOK: (with yarn at front and before a knit stitch) bring yarn over the top of the right needle to be back of work and continue
    YOP: (with yarn at front and before a purl stitch) bring yarn over right needle and back to front again and continue.

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    Would like to follow the new ideas

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    Absolutely love Kristen, I’ve been following her for years. She is the reason I picked up my needles and hook again. Now I loom and I’ve even started to attempt spinning (New video Kristen ? πŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒ)
    I had given up trying to knit and crochet when my mum passed away because I had no one to help me.
    Then I found Goodknitkisses on YouTube. That was me hooked! ( see what I did there? πŸ˜‰)
    I’m so grateful to her and her contagious love of fiber arts. She’s given so much more than she’ll ever know. Her videos are perfect, and easy to follow. I call her my wee yarn fairy, always magically helps me make everything beautiful 😊. Thank you, Kristen ❀

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