Go Do, Go! is one of my all-time favorite children’s books. What’s not to love? Big dogs, little dogs, black and white dogs, dogs at work and dogs at play, driving dogs, sleeping dogs, and big dog parties. Plus a little pink poodle who rocks her hat collection and keeps hoping that a certain beagle will notice.
Maybe that early influence has something to do with my penchant for knitting, or rather looming, hats. Looming is a similar concept to knitting in the round, but a lot faster and much less complicated. I got hooked (literally!) on it several years ago. Quick, impressive results – what’s not to love?
You don’t need much to start:
- First, a loom. There are long looms and round looms. The long ones are more versatile for flat panels, afghans, socks and the like, and there are little clips to adjust their size. I think the round ones are easier for hats. Knifty Knitter and Boye are brand names, but most craft stores carry generic loom sets in various sizes from baby through adult. You shouldn’t need to pay retail – buy them on sale or use a coupon.
- Second, a loom hook or pick. These come with the looms, but can be bought individually in case they are misplaced.
- Third, a large eye needle for finishing the project. A plastic one comes with looms, but tapestry needles work great as well.
- Fourth, yarn. Any color and just about any type that has a little stretch. Chenille is the only yarn I’ve found that absolutely won’t work on a loom. Plain yarn is best for beginners.
- Fifth, directions. Loom sets come with basic instructions and there are all kinds of YouTube videos. The Purling Sprite weblog has a series of great tutorials.
- Finally, a smidge of patience. It doesn’t take long to pick up the basics. Casting on, a basic stitch and casting off are all that are necessary for a basic hat. Later on stitch variations, multiple colors, and different yarn textures will exponentially expand hat potential.
Several years ago I went on a hand-crafted Christmas gift binge featuring all kinds of loomed hats.
Many of my nieces and nephews were of college age, so I made hats in their school colors. Four of them – New York University, Kansas State, Winona State (MN) and Truman (MO) – were purple and white. Black and gold for Mizzou, maroon for Arizona State. One of my nephews was still deciding between six colleges, so I decided to make him a hat featuring all of their school colors. I learned that Bennington University does not have athletic teams or school colors, so I opted to represent it with black. Ben’s is the multicolor hat second from the left. (He ended up at the University of Oregon, green and yellow.)
Most of the adult men in my life requested a Fair Isle hat (far left) in a color combo of their choosing. Some of the ladies favored that pattern too, with a soft roll instead of a structured brim. I had a lot of fun with hats for younger kids. I found instructions for a snowman hat, bumblebee hat, and long toboggan hat and worked out patterns for a floppy beret and ear warmer bands.
Here are a few of my faves:
Looming is a hobby that can be done almost anywhere, anytime. I recently made another bumblebee hat during a car trip to visit the newborn son of a friend. Variations in yarns, brims and patterns make every project different.
Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go figure out a pattern for one of these: